Thursday, December 26, 2013

Job Hunting

If your anything like me, you hate looking for a new job.

In today's truck driving industry it has become a bit simpler to search for work, as you don't have to travel around and log a bunch miles on your personal vehicle to put in apps. Now-a-days, you can just hop onto the internet and within a few hours have a hundred or more truck lines to check out.

With my experience, I also got about ten to fifteen phone calls from recruiters, but that might not be the norm, I don't know.

At any rate, thought I would write about one of the pitfalls I have been able to spot as I have been going through this process.

As I wrote in "So, You Want To Be A Truck Driver" our industry is filled with dishonesty and that is especially true when searching for work. Remember a recruiters job is to fill driver seats, the bigger the company the more likely they are to waste your time since you are just a number to them. If you are experienced with three or more years of driving and have a clean MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) and a 0.0 CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score the recruiters will work harder at trying to sign you up for orientation.

One way I have tried to cut through all the nonsense has been to seek driver comments on any company that I am interested in. I have been able to find driver reviews at several web locations; Rip-off reports  just to name a few. But, there are problems with relying on these reviews, especially if you only read the first one you come to. Often the first review you see is written by an angry disgruntled ex-employee who is not above lying about the company he/she just left, so read several, if they are all saying the similar things then stay away from that company.

You also should be aware that some company recruiters will check out these driver reviews and post good reviews that appear to be coming from a driver. So read as many reports as you can and watch for similarities in both kinds of reports, good and bad, only the most experienced writers can hide their style.

Shouldn't need to be said, but, you can pretty much discount any report written by someone who doesn't know how to write, or tell the whole story. If you are not an experienced driver the whole story will be much harder to spot, but if the writer doesn't confess to some wrong doing on his or her part then they "ain't" telling all since we are all human and there is always blame enough to go around when there is a problem. Here is a good example of what I mean: Boyd Bros.Review

One more thing you might want to check out is the companys safety rating which you can get for free here. They use our safety ratings to determine if they want to hire us so let's turn the tables on them and use their safety data to determine if we want to work for them.

One last thing, you should know what you want in a job. How much home time do you want, is insurance important and how much are you willing to pay for it, and of course how much do you want to get paid as well as how many miles do you want to run weekly? These are important questions to answer before checking out any company, but don't buy their answer until you check them out or until they are willing to put it in writing.

Well, I am scheduled to start orientation with a company on Jan 6th 2014, but still have my ear to the ground.

Keep the rubber side down.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Your Fired!

Words no one wants to hear..."You're Fired!"

Well on Dec 10 2013 I got to hear those words for the first time in 10 years or so, and like then it wasn't unexpected.

Like ten years ago, my firing was due to an accident. Unlike, back then, someone did get hurt and man do I feel bad.

When you drive truck for a living accidents are something you do your best to avoid but lets face facts they do happen. All it takes is a split second of inattention, a wrong assumption, a misunderstanding, someone else's mistake, truth is when your a big boy or girl playing with big toys, at high speeds it is inevitable at some point in time you will have an accident. Mine was a misunderstanding between the loader and myself, he got hurt, he could have been killed, in which case I would have been jailed for manslaughter, so I thank my God that a few broken ribs and a broken collar bone was all that happened.

But that is not what I really want to write about today, it's the aftermath of being fired and trying to find a new job, that I want to focus on.

Our industry has become super sensitive to safety issues and being fired for an accident has some very serious consequences. Let's start with the CSA score.

Having a high personal CSA score (get yours here) will cause you some very serious problems because that is one of the first things prospective employers are going to look at. I have found out that being fired will in fact cut your prospective employers by at least one third. Many of the big carriers have told me that I would have to work for someone else from 6 months to 3 years before they would even consider me, even some of the not so big carriers have this policy. Oh, yeah, just being fired will do this, it doesn't have to be for a safety related issue.

If you have ever been fired then I don't need to tell you what it feels like. In short it feels like you have let your family down, like the word worthless is tattooed all over your body for everyone to see. It shakes your confidence in who you are and what you do right down to the foundation of your soul. So, what are you going to do, sit in the mire of self pity or get off your butt and find work.

Honesty, is going to be of great help in finding work, don't think for one second you can get away with a lie or omission with a prospective employer, remember CSA and DAC and don't forget your previous employers MUST be contacted before you can even be considered. Be courteous to the employers, it does cost them time and money to do this research so let them know up front if there are any problems and let them decide if they are willing to spend that time and money.

Finding a job is just like sales, most times it's a numbers game. Getting leads and tons of them is critically important. I have found the internet extremely valuable in this regard and it has gotten much better in just this past year for finding leads. My first application was placed on this resulted in about 80 e-mails and 20 phone calls from prospective employers. My second app was placed on CAD and my app was sent to 28 employers and resulted in 5 phone calls with about 30 e-mails. My wife also helped by finding other employers to apply to while I was filling out online applications and taking calls.

The result of these massive numbers is that I am scheduled to begin orientation, January 6 and I still have many more people to talk to before then who may offer me a better deal. Believe me, my self esteem has recovered.

Bottom line don't let those words get you down. Just get it in gear, and plow forward.

PS. I could really use the money right now so please if you haven't checked out the book I wrote go and buy it NOW, please. Buy a dozen to pass out to those curious young people that think trucking is so cool. You can find it here