SciGi readers, hello!
My name is Charlotte MOULONGUET, I have been an Operational Unit Manager at the SNCF technical center in Trappes for the past year. The technicenter is made up of 200 agents who are divided into teams according to their profession (electrician, repairman, brake operator, train movement agent, etc.). We carry out the maintenance of Transilien and TER trains in the parisian suburbs.
My role is based on 3 main missions:
Supervision of the technicenter team leaders : annual interviews, monitoring of their results, support in difficult situations, group animation;
Monitoring the unit’s results (safety, availability, reliability, cost, etc.) and implementing action plans to improve;
Research and implementation of solutions to improve the quality of life at work of the agents.
Like many young people in high school, I didn’t know exactly what career I wanted to pursue after my studies. Since I liked science, I chose to go into engineering. I entered the Ecole Polytechnique after 2 years of preparatory classes. At the end of my studies, I did an internship at SNCF (French National Railway Company) in the Transilien Operations Center near Paris, which manages the entire transportation plan for lines N and U. I was then hired as an operational manager at the Montrouge technical center. After one year, I was offered to move to this current position.
So I came to the SNCF without knowing the railway sector. I learned everything in the field and today my youth is an asset because I arrive with a fresh perspective on practices and processes. I can therefore rely on very experienced colleagues for all the technical issues and bring something new to the management side! To manage teams, I believe that high standards and benevolence are indispensable. To arrive in an unknown sector, you need a lot of curiosity and humility. It is also precious to have a good analytical mind to take a step back from situations and find solutions to progress.
Speaking of progress, we are challenged on a daily basis to run a sufficient number of trains to cover the transport plan. We recently had to put back into service a train that had derailed 2 years ago and had been put aside because of major damage. We had to mobilize all the teams around this great challenge: to make a train run that had been so damaged. Thanks to everyone’s work and the support of the engineering department, the train set was able to leave our site after a few months to another technicenter, which will complete the repairs!
On a more personal level, when I took up my first position, it was a great challenge to understand in a few weeks how the company works and its culture, the organization of train maintenance and the general functioning of a train, while taking my place at the Montrouge site. This gave me several headaches at the end of the day. Then, little by little, the elements fell into place and I was able to fully hold my position !
Today I am really fulfilled in this job which meets my aspirations : a field job, in daily contact with the women and men who make the production. I also have real autonomy and leverage to move my unit forward in a state-owned company whose product has a real positive impact on the environment !
Indeed, working for the SNCF means serving the railway, which is the most ecological way to travel over medium and long distances ! In addition to this, the technical center is concerned about its environmental impact: a lot of work is done on energy consumption and waste sorting, for example. I have also set up an environmental referent for each team who acts as a relay within his or her team on these subjects, so that awareness is spread to all.
I realize that we are not aware of the great diversity of jobs in this sector! We often think of drivers but much less of all the other jobs : maintenance, work management, traffic management, engineering, customer relations, management, links with the regions or the state, innovation. These are jobs that are both highly technical and deeply human !
So if you too are in a situation where you don’t know which sector to turn to or reorient yourself, I advise you to go and interview people in activity and if possible, see them on site to understand their daily life. Also listen to what echoes in you. Don’t let yourself be influenced by the classic career paths and really think about what you want deep down !
Outside of work, I enjoy outdoor sports: hiking, running, skiing. My husband and I are also involved with the youth in our Catholic parish.
To conclude, I would like to share with you this sentence that helps me not to be discouraged in the face of certain challenges :
“Let the dream devour your life so that life does not devour your dream” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Written by Monika T.
Credits photos : ©SNCFcommunicationLignesNU