BUS DRIVER My name is Anna Partyka. I’m 31. I’ve been working in the Municipal Bus Company in Warsaw for almost 5 years. I’ve chosen this profession because of my hobby. Several years ago when I was commuting to the secondary school I was watching bus drivers at work. My way to the secondary school took me about an hour. I was always standing next to the driver’s cabin and I was observing how he’s doing. Then I started studying journalism at the University of Warsaw. I started writing articles for a local press about public transport connections with Wesoła district in Warsaw. These connections were quite difficult. People had to wait there even one hour for a bus. So I was involved in some kind of investigative journalism. I was calling the company, I was calling the spokesmen… I was taking photos at the depots. My passion was growing and finally I’ve written my master thesis about investments in public transport in Warsaw. I remember that everybody was joking then that one day I’ll become a bus driver. I’ve become a bus driver after the journalism market had changed. It was not possible to have a permanent job as a journalist. Then I started to work half-time in the Municipal Bus Company in Warsaw. Now I’m employed on a 3/4 time basis. My hobby became a permanent job. If you want to work as a bus driver you must have a secondary education. Last times they say that you must also speak English. And actually English is useful in this work. For sure you must have a very good imagination to know what’s happening beside and around the bus. I suppose that most of people don’t even imagine that to make a simple turn by bus you must be able to command it with your imagination. For sure you have to by mentally strong. This is essential here. If you’re mentally weak, after some months or after 3 months of a trial period you’ll give up. Not everybody knows that a bus driver’s work begins often in a first shift at 3:30 a.m. First buses depart from a depot at this time. There is a three shifts system. Most drivers work in two shifts: the first and the second one. The third one is a night shift i.e. night buses. This shift is only for these drivers who really want to work at night. The others work in the first or the second shift. The last day buses end their tours at he depot even at 1 a.m. So the day buses run from 3:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. That’s how it is in Warsaw. This work is really stressful. Not everybody knows that it’s a work with people. Of course, we’re closed in a cabin but it’s not like a truck driver’s job who is alone with his CB radio and stays in touch only with a telephone exchange or with other drivers. We have several dozen of people beside us and sometimes even several hundred in long articulated buses. Sometimes everyone has his own problem or wants to ask you something. People often make rows. Sometimes we have to talk to the passengers, for example to ask somebody who smells or somebody who is disturbing to leave. So we have to talk, we even have to be good psychologists. During some trainings we attend classes with a psychologist. We have to simply like people. Of course after many years of work some drivers may not like people anymore. They are very stressed. I try to start every day with a “white card”. I try not to remember what happened yesterday. I’m not stressed about what happened before or what somebody told me. After work I can relax with my kid, I go for a walk, I run and I calm down. I grow up my daughter alone. She’s 2 and a half. We achieved perfection: She stays at a day nursery from 6:30 a.m. I start my work at 7 a.m. My employer agreed that I started at 7 a.m. It’s quite late. I work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as in the office. My daughter stays even 9 hours and a half in a day nursery but luckily she likes it very much. She’s a very communicative kid. She likes going to the day nursery. After work, when we come back, I don’t go to sleep like many drivers use to do after a shift. I take care of my daughter, I prepare a dinner. So it’s like a full-time job. I like my job because I’m not able to work at a desk. That’s what was boring me in journalism. I was sitting at a desk from this to that hour. Here the environment is changing. Everyday there are new people. Everyday there are new situations. Different stress every day. It all motivates me to keep on working. What is positive about this job is that you can observe people. People think that we can’t see them. But we perfectly see what they’re doing, sometimes even what kind of music they’re listening, what they talk to us… This is an advantage. For me the main advantage is driving a big bus. If you feel like having such skills or a talent, because I call it a talent, to drive big vehicles, I highly recommend testing yourself in a bus. If someone would like to drive a truck, he should make a driving license, category D at first and see how it looks like in an everyday life. Of course, you can also become a long-distance or international bus driver, not necessarily a municipal bus driver. But in all these professions imagination and passion are essential. Without them you can’t be a bus driver.