1st Year Employment In Trucking

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David G.'s Comment
member avatar

Why is it so important to stick with your first choice of trucking company for 1 year regardless of how well you like it or how well it is going? I mean, I guess that is really like any other job, but with all the options out there what is your thinking. I believe you wrote a blog about staying no matter how bad ... make that one year mark.

What are your thoughts? I've been with my choice about 2 months wondering if I made the right decision. Thanks.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

David, part of the reason it is so important to "stick it out" that first year is because for most rookies they don't even realize that those feelings or doubts about whether they made the right choice or not do not have their source in "the company", but rather they are just common feelings that come from the whole process of breaking into the industry. Almost everybody who tries this has those doubts and misgivings. Many people just falsely assume that if they switch companies then things will be going better and they won't be experiencing these same problems. What happens is that they find the problems that made them want to switch employers are common to all trucking companies because the problems that they thought would go away are common to rookies who are still trying to get themselves established in trucking.

We try to warn people all the time how brutal it can be to get this career started. There are so many things to learn, especially for a new person who is just in the first few months of their career. You don't yet have yourself established as a trustworthy driver with your dispatcher , you don't know the best ways to manage your time for success, you are still learning a great deal of things and it's hard for new drivers to understand why they just aren't handed out tons of miles on a silver platter just because they showed up ready and willing to bust their tail for success. It takes a proven track record and a well established working relationship with your dispatcher before the load planners will get to know your truck number and realize that they can count on you. This is true no matter where you go, but if you never give this aspect of your success a chance to develop (and it will never develop if you jump ship every few months) then it will not matter one whit where you go, your miles will still be unpredictable and your paychecks disturbingly disappointing.

There is a huge learning curve going on during that first year, it is something that you will interfere with if you keep switching around to new employers. My opinion is that it is best for you to hang tight where you are and give yourself a chance to develop as a driver. I started my career at a company that had terrible internet reviews (Western Express) I had great success there while they were still amassing more and more incredibly ridiculous accusations of how bad they were on the trucking forums which allow such tripe to be spewed out. You may think that you are being treated unfairly or not getting the kind of loads you should be getting, and if you are having problems like that then try to have a professional conversation with your dispatcher about it. Don't make accusations, just let him know that you want to turn some more miles and get some better loads, and you'd like them to give you some better chances to prove yourself to them. Let the conversation be about how you want to do better at your job,, not how you are expecting them to shape up or you are leaving them. That is the typical approach that drivers who don't "get it" take, and those are the same guys who are putting doubts into new drivers minds by posting their silly notions on-line where rookies are gathering around and getting falsely educated in how to go about getting what you want out of this career.

You have got to prove yourself to be successful in this business. Making it through school and training means nothing to your dispatcher or your company, having a CDL means nothing to them either - they have had thousands of new drivers just like you come through their doors who gave it a try for a few months and then moved on. You will be just another one of the folks who constantly frustrate them by leaving before you ever got the chance to develop into somebody who was worth having around. Focus on your performance and not on theirs, do everything you can to improve your track record while hanging in there for one year. It will make all the difference in the world for your future success at this stuff. It will open so many doors for you that will never be available to the many job hoppers out there. I've always said that it doesn't matter whose name is on the doors of the truck you are driving - what matters is how you conduct yourself - you will determine your success, and it just takes time to develop yourself into a professional. Hang in there and see if you can make it work where you are. If after that first year you are still hankering for a change then do what you want, you will be glad at that point that you did. There are some who will disagree with this approach, but as far as I'm concerned it is good solid advice that anyone who follows will benefit from.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

My God it's impossible to follow Old School when he answers anything! That advice was just pure gold.

I agree wholeheartedly with Old School. You're rarely going to help yourself by jumping ship in the first 6-12 months of your career. All you'll wind up doing is trading one set of problems for another and starting over again at the bottom.

Here's the thing....every trucking company has to use their trucks efficiently or they're not going to be around for long. Now does that mean every truck in the fleet is going to turn great miles? Of course not. There are lousy drivers, lousy dispatchers, breakdowns, bad luck, swings in the business cycles, changes in dispatching infrastructure, and a million other factors that will affect how much freight you get. But ultimately that freight will be available to you. Maybe not as much as you would like in the beginning, but it will come.

Ultimately what will affect the amount of freight you get more than anything else is your performance, your ability to get along with people, and the trust you've earned from your company. Naturally that trust takes time - normally 3-6 months before anyone even recognizes your name or truck number. So for a while you're just an unproven rookie who's going to have to ride it out for a while before you'll earn your way into that higher category. Once you make it there a lot more freight will open up to you. Not just better miles, but better runs to more desirable parts of the country.

Also, early in your career you don't know what you really want out of trucking. You haven't experienced very much of it yet and you've barely had a chance to talk around with other drivers to see what's out there. So it's easy to think you'd rather have a different type of job or drive a different type of truck until you actually go through with it and find out you didn't really understand the big picture as well as you thought you did. That's very common.

What is it exactly that's giving you doubts about your current company?

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
David G.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Overall it's O.K. You make a good point. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to get out of this new crazy career called trucking. I'm new to trucking period. I feel a little like the Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) in field of dreams when he is explaining his life story in the beginning and says until then he never did anything crazy in his life. Well I feel a little bit that way, I never did anything crazy in my life, until I became a truck driver.

I'm sure I get the crappy loads and runs to start, then I get a good load and run while they were fixing my truck and meet up with several other drivers (like 6 or 7 other drivers) who tell me they do the load and run twice a day and they are done. Wow. That's it. All they do is drop and hook to the same place twice a day in a nice clean new complex, nice highways, etc. Like and 8am to 5pm job. (I know they have been with the company for years so I get it)

I on the other hand I'm definitely earning my stripes. Going into the Chicago ghetto at 1am in the morning to drop and hook (areas I wouldn't go into during the day mind you), although there was an unmarked K-9 patrol unit parked in the street near the drop location. They tell me the load has to be at a certain location by 8:30am and then I get there and find out I only have to drop it in the yard and they will get to it when they are ready.

Just stuff like that.

I joined OOIDA to learn more about the business overall, because my wife is more of the path of if you like driving maybe you should do it for yourself. But I'm not so sure. I'm sure there are many perils along they way.

I speak with the guy who hired me every couple of weeks. He always asks if I feel like quitting yet. I tell him there are some days I feel like that. He does say if you can make it a year with our company you will probably retire with us. He also said that at the recruiting meeting he had at the CDL school. That was one of the reasons I chose this trucking company.

I'll keep you posted with more as things go along.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

So what if you went through 3 jobs in one year? How do you know each situation on which why they switched jobs, did they get laid off or have to switch for personal reasons, etc.. You can't simply look at the numbers and say, Yup! This doesn't look good.

Actually, employers do this all the time to sort through applications. It all depends on how many applications they receive for a given position. If they receive way more applications than they need, they use things like this to eliminate some people so they can get to the better ones.

Whether you agree with it or not, for the people who sort applications, job hopping is a big red flag, since it costs money - lots of it - to recruit and onboard new employees. If a prospect's resume shows three jobs in one year, they're definitely more likely to leave their next job with you (if you hire them) than someone with a more stable work history. The person culling out applications won't even bother wondering why they left this or that employer, it just goes into the "no" pile.

I'm simply encouraging him to weigh out his options and don't make any hastily decisions before fully understanding what are his potential options are just incase he does wanna move forward onto another company. At the end of the day we can only give advice and its up for the individual to decide what is best for him/her and their family.

Absolutely agree, and part of that advice is to consider how future employers will look at work history. It's one of the factors that goes into making that decision.

If an employer ask about your employment history, just say. "I'll be happy to talk about it!" and when you do finally talk about it be honest about the situation and most people will understand.

Again, for the more competitive jobs with better pay / days off / routes / shifts / whatever, there will be a higher likelihood of getting an interview with a stable work history. To maximize your odds of getting a chance to explain why they should hire you, you want to not even have to explain negative things like short tenure in recent jobs.

And unfortunately you are incorrect when you say "most people will understand." It's just a red flag that lingers in their minds. Sure, you may get an interview and you may get the job, but not because they understand, but rather because something else about you as a candidate made you more attractive as a prospective employee than someone else. Short tenure in past jobs never makes you more attractive to employers.

For the better jobs, you won't have a chance to explain anything...your application will be filed or shredded with the rest of the "no" pile.

It might be the right decision to leave a trucking job in your first year, but one downside will always be that short tenure of the job you left, at least until you can show stability in the one you take to replace it. It's a risk, and wishful thinking won't minimize that risk.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

David, part of the reason it is so important to "stick it out" that first year is because for most rookies they don't even realize that those feelings or doubts about whether they made the right choice or not do not have their source in "the company", but rather they are just common feelings that come from the whole process of breaking into the industry. Almost everybody who tries this has those doubts and misgivings. Many people just falsely assume that if they switch companies then things will be going better and they won't be experiencing these same problems. What happens is that they find the problems that made them want to switch employers are common to all trucking companies because the problems that they thought would go away are common to rookies who are still trying to get themselves established in trucking.

We try to warn people all the time how brutal it can be to get this career started. There are so many things to learn, especially for a new person who is just in the first few months of their career. You don't yet have yourself established as a trustworthy driver with your dispatcher , you don't know the best ways to manage your time for success, you are still learning a great deal of things and it's hard for new drivers to understand why they just aren't handed out tons of miles on a silver platter just because they showed up ready and willing to bust their tail for success. It takes a proven track record and a well established working relationship with your dispatcher before the load planners will get to know your truck number and realize that they can count on you. This is true no matter where you go, but if you never give this aspect of your success a chance to develop (and it will never develop if you jump ship every few months) then it will not matter one whit where you go, your miles will still be unpredictable and your paychecks disturbingly disappointing.

There is a huge learning curve going on during that first year, it is something that you will interfere with if you keep switching around to new employers. My opinion is that it is best for you to hang tight where you are and give yourself a chance to develop as a driver. I started my career at a company that had terrible internet reviews (Western Express) I had great success there while they were still amassing more and more incredibly ridiculous accusations of how bad they were on the trucking forums which allow such tripe to be spewed out. You may think that you are being treated unfairly or not getting the kind of loads you should be getting, and if you are having problems like that then try to have a professional conversation with your dispatcher about it. Don't make accusations, just let him know that you want to turn some more miles and get some better loads, and you'd like them to give you some better chances to prove yourself to them. Let the conversation be about how you want to do better at your job,, not how you are expecting them to shape up or you are leaving them. That is the typical approach that drivers who don't "get it" take, and those are the same guys who are putting doubts into new drivers minds by posting their silly notions on-line where rookies are gathering around and getting falsely educated in how to go about getting what you want out of this career.

You have got to prove yourself to be successful in this business. Making it through school and training means nothing to your dispatcher or your company, having a CDL means nothing to them either - they have had thousands of new drivers just like you come through their doors who gave it a try for a few months and then moved on. You will be just another one of the folks who constantly frustrate them by leaving before you ever got the chance to develop into somebody who was worth having around. Focus on your performance and not on theirs, do everything you can to improve your track record while hanging in there for one year. It will make all the difference in the world for your future success at this stuff. It will open so many doors for you that will never be available to the many job hoppers out there. I've always said that it doesn't matter whose name is on the doors of the truck you are driving - what matters is how you conduct yourself - you will determine your success, and it just takes time to develop yourself into a professional. Hang in there and see if you can make it work where you are. If after that first year you are still hankering for a change then do what you want, you will be glad at that point that you did. There are some who will disagree with this approach, but as far as I'm concerned it is good solid advice that anyone who follows will benefit from.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

My God it's impossible to follow Old School when he answers anything! That advice was just pure gold.

I agree wholeheartedly with Old School. You're rarely going to help yourself by jumping ship in the first 6-12 months of your career. All you'll wind up doing is trading one set of problems for another and starting over again at the bottom.

Here's the thing....every trucking company has to use their trucks efficiently or they're not going to be around for long. Now does that mean every truck in the fleet is going to turn great miles? Of course not. There are lousy drivers, lousy dispatchers, breakdowns, bad luck, swings in the business cycles, changes in dispatching infrastructure, and a million other factors that will affect how much freight you get. But ultimately that freight will be available to you. Maybe not as much as you would like in the beginning, but it will come.

Ultimately what will affect the amount of freight you get more than anything else is your performance, your ability to get along with people, and the trust you've earned from your company. Naturally that trust takes time - normally 3-6 months before anyone even recognizes your name or truck number. So for a while you're just an unproven rookie who's going to have to ride it out for a while before you'll earn your way into that higher category. Once you make it there a lot more freight will open up to you. Not just better miles, but better runs to more desirable parts of the country.

Also, early in your career you don't know what you really want out of trucking. You haven't experienced very much of it yet and you've barely had a chance to talk around with other drivers to see what's out there. So it's easy to think you'd rather have a different type of job or drive a different type of truck until you actually go through with it and find out you didn't really understand the big picture as well as you thought you did. That's very common.

What is it exactly that's giving you doubts about your current company?

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Woody's Comment
member avatar

What is it exactly that's giving you doubts about your current company?

That is exactly what I was going to ask, and is the million dollar question.

I have stated on here before that I left my first company at 4 months. But I also say I believe in the 1 yr mark way of thinking and my circumstances were different then just jumping ship in hopes of finding better waters. I was very happy with my first company and my DM. There were a few issues but nothing that was going to make me leave. When I started trucking I knew exactly what I wanted and who I wanted to work for but that company always required 1 if not 2 years experience. Because of driver shortages the company changed it's policy so I was able to make the switch sooner than expected. The pay and benefits were such that I could not turn it down and the sooner I got in the sooner I started building seniority. If that had not been the case there is no way I would have left my first job.

BTW I totally agree that it's hard to follow Old School. I got to the point that if I saw he posted in a thread I almost didn't open it because the questions had already been answered. But I had to continue to read so I could pluck some of the nuggets from his posts!

Woody

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
David G.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Overall it's O.K. You make a good point. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to get out of this new crazy career called trucking. I'm new to trucking period. I feel a little like the Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) in field of dreams when he is explaining his life story in the beginning and says until then he never did anything crazy in his life. Well I feel a little bit that way, I never did anything crazy in my life, until I became a truck driver.

I'm sure I get the crappy loads and runs to start, then I get a good load and run while they were fixing my truck and meet up with several other drivers (like 6 or 7 other drivers) who tell me they do the load and run twice a day and they are done. Wow. That's it. All they do is drop and hook to the same place twice a day in a nice clean new complex, nice highways, etc. Like and 8am to 5pm job. (I know they have been with the company for years so I get it)

I on the other hand I'm definitely earning my stripes. Going into the Chicago ghetto at 1am in the morning to drop and hook (areas I wouldn't go into during the day mind you), although there was an unmarked K-9 patrol unit parked in the street near the drop location. They tell me the load has to be at a certain location by 8:30am and then I get there and find out I only have to drop it in the yard and they will get to it when they are ready.

Just stuff like that.

I joined OOIDA to learn more about the business overall, because my wife is more of the path of if you like driving maybe you should do it for yourself. But I'm not so sure. I'm sure there are many perils along they way.

I speak with the guy who hired me every couple of weeks. He always asks if I feel like quitting yet. I tell him there are some days I feel like that. He does say if you can make it a year with our company you will probably retire with us. He also said that at the recruiting meeting he had at the CDL school. That was one of the reasons I chose this trucking company.

I'll keep you posted with more as things go along.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
HAMMERTIME's Comment
member avatar

Everyones situation is different and only you know weather its a good idea for you to stick it out with a company for 1 year or not. Just because it worked out for previous people that just might not be the case for you. You should weigh out your options before even thinking about quitting because once you tell yourself you're quitting, you'll find any reason to quit. So if you're unhappy with your current company look around and talk to other companies, tell them you just want some information on what they offer and what to expect. Be honest with them and tell them you aren't looking for an immediate change and see if they are still willing to work with you.

Had I stuck it out 1 year with my first employer I probably wouldn't be trucking anymore, they made me Fight Dragons just to get Hometime! For example I had hometime request several months in advance to be home for the birth of my child and due to our current Financial Hardship I was going right back out after 2 days. Well I got home alright but man did I have to push hard to convince them I was really having a Baby and my Girlfriend needed me to be there for support. They grilled me, asked me all sorts of questions to see if I was lying and then the baby came around 11am and I get a call around Noon and it was my dispatcher. Guess what he said!? "Are you ready to go out yet?" We got a load ready for you in the yard but you need to leave tonight. Lol! For Real? You want me to stick it out with this company for a year? Sorry but I'm against what everyone is saying above me, you can't simply just say stick it out for 1 year without knowing the entire situation. It's just not that simply to put a number up and say, stay employed with them for this amount of time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Everyones situation is different and only you know weather its a good idea for you to stick it out with a company for 1 year or not. Just because it worked out for previous people that just might not be the case for you. You should weigh out your options before even thinking about quitting because once you tell yourself you're quitting, you'll find any reason to quit. So if you're unhappy with your current company look around and talk to other companies, tell them you just want some information on what they offer and what to expect. Be honest with them and tell them you aren't looking for an immediate change and see if they are still willing to work with you.

Had I stuck it out 1 year with my first employer I probably wouldn't be trucking anymore, they made me Fight Dragons just to get Hometime! For example I had hometime request several months in advance to be home for the birth of my child and due to our current Financial Hardship I was going right back out after 2 days. Well I got home alright but man did I have to push hard to convince them I was really having a Baby and my Girlfriend needed me to be there for support. They grilled me, asked me all sorts of questions to see if I was lying and then the baby came around 11am and I get a call around Noon and it was my dispatcher. Guess what he said!? "Are you ready to go out yet?" We got a load ready for you in the yard but you need to leave tonight. Lol! For Real? You want me to stick it out with this company for a year? Sorry but I'm against what everyone is saying above me, you can't simply just say stick it out for 1 year without knowing the entire situation. It's just not that simply to put a number up and say, stay employed with them for this amount of time.

Let's look at it from an employer perspective. What looks better? 3 companies in 1 year or 1? It's all about showing your future employer that you don't always quit as soon as the going gets tough. This applies to every job out there, not just trucking.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

HAMMERTIME's Comment
member avatar

Here we go again, I'm not advising him to switch jobs 3 times in one year. So what if you went through 3 jobs in one year? How do you know each situation on which why they switched jobs, did they get laid off or have to switch for personal reasons, etc.. You can't simply look at the numbers and say, Yup! This doesn't look good. You also can't simply say I'm going to be employed with this company for a minimum of one year, what if things change for you and its no longer the best company best suited for you or what if what they told you is not as accurate. Still stick it out for 1 year?

I'm simply encouraging him to weigh out his options and don't make any hastily decisions before fully understanding what are his potential options are just incase he does wanna move forward onto another company. At the end of the day we can only give advice and its up for the individual to decide what is best for him/her and their family. To me it's silly to say "I'm going to work here for so and so amount of time." I'm gonna work where I work until it no longer suits me and if the current company meets my needs for the rest of my life, than so be it. I'll be employed with them for the rest of my life.

If an employer ask about your employment history, just say. "I'll be happy to talk about it!" and when you do finally talk about it be honest about the situation and most people will understand.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Great Answer!

So what if you went through 3 jobs in one year? How do you know each situation on which why they switched jobs, did they get laid off or have to switch for personal reasons, etc.. You can't simply look at the numbers and say, Yup! This doesn't look good.

Actually, employers do this all the time to sort through applications. It all depends on how many applications they receive for a given position. If they receive way more applications than they need, they use things like this to eliminate some people so they can get to the better ones.

Whether you agree with it or not, for the people who sort applications, job hopping is a big red flag, since it costs money - lots of it - to recruit and onboard new employees. If a prospect's resume shows three jobs in one year, they're definitely more likely to leave their next job with you (if you hire them) than someone with a more stable work history. The person culling out applications won't even bother wondering why they left this or that employer, it just goes into the "no" pile.

I'm simply encouraging him to weigh out his options and don't make any hastily decisions before fully understanding what are his potential options are just incase he does wanna move forward onto another company. At the end of the day we can only give advice and its up for the individual to decide what is best for him/her and their family.

Absolutely agree, and part of that advice is to consider how future employers will look at work history. It's one of the factors that goes into making that decision.

If an employer ask about your employment history, just say. "I'll be happy to talk about it!" and when you do finally talk about it be honest about the situation and most people will understand.

Again, for the more competitive jobs with better pay / days off / routes / shifts / whatever, there will be a higher likelihood of getting an interview with a stable work history. To maximize your odds of getting a chance to explain why they should hire you, you want to not even have to explain negative things like short tenure in recent jobs.

And unfortunately you are incorrect when you say "most people will understand." It's just a red flag that lingers in their minds. Sure, you may get an interview and you may get the job, but not because they understand, but rather because something else about you as a candidate made you more attractive as a prospective employee than someone else. Short tenure in past jobs never makes you more attractive to employers.

For the better jobs, you won't have a chance to explain anything...your application will be filed or shredded with the rest of the "no" pile.

It might be the right decision to leave a trucking job in your first year, but one downside will always be that short tenure of the job you left, at least until you can show stability in the one you take to replace it. It's a risk, and wishful thinking won't minimize that risk.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Why is it so important to stick with your first choice of trucking company for 1 year regardless of how well you like it or how well it is going? I mean, I guess that is really like any other job, but with all the options out there what is your thinking. I believe you wrote a blog about staying no matter how bad ... make that one year mark.

What are your thoughts? I've been with my choice about 2 months wondering if I made the right decision. Thanks.

Think of it as your potential future employers shopping like you shop for a job or a career. You want to make yourself as attractive as possible and part of that is showing stable work history. It's a big deal to any employer because it is expensive to get new employees.

Suppose they can figure out how to hire only great drivers who will never have any accidents, will deliver every load on time, and will stay with their company for the rest of their working life.

Now they only have to hire and train enough employees to replace the ones that retire or die. They can use their trainers to continuously improve the skills of the drivers they have and can eliminatee the costs involved with recruiting hundreds of drivers every year. Heck, they can sell the hotel they put them up in and have their existing drivers stay at the Marriott with all the money their saving. Greyhound stock might even decline from all the lost bus trips.

When they do hire a new driver because one of their 45-year employees retired, do you really think they're going to overlook the fact that a candidate has worked for 3 different employers in the last year? Nope.

Although there is a shortage of drivers now that is projected to continue for the foreseeable future, some trucking companies have no trouble at all getting the better drivers who will stay a long time. They have stable freight, they have contained their costs, they're making more money per employee than other companies, so they're able to offer the pay and whatever else it is that the better drivers want.

You may think it's unfair or worse that you won't be considered for one of these plum jobs just because your first company had some really bad issues, but your potential employers owe you nothing beyond what's in the law...and trust me, they know the law. The law says it's perfectly fine for them to consider your employment history when making hiring decisions.

Suppose you are shopping for a trucking company to work for, and one of your criteria is their FMCSA score. You've narrowed it down to two companies, and then d u discover that one has a pretty good score, and the other's is very low. Would you really care if the one with the low score had a problem with their safety director not doing his job, and they've hired a new one with a proven record, and they're investing lots of money to fix it? Or would you say to yourself, let's give it a year to see how they do with all that...meanwhile, I'm going to work for the other company?

And what if in a year or two you decide to get out of trucking (happens every day for a lot of people) and you want to go back to your old line of work or even try something else...and those industries are a lot pickier about employment history...and have 1000 applications for every opening....

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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