Unemployed For Eons, Will This Be A Problem?

Topic 8525 | Page 1

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D B.'s Comment
member avatar

I've wanted to drive a big rig since I was 6 years old. My father was a mechanic and worked on them when he was able to do so. I would meet all kinds of drivers and they would let me look/play around in their trucks. This always appealed to me. I also have a few uncles and aunts that have been driving for 40+ years and they always tell me they love it. I have no wife, no kids and I can stand to be away from the few family members I do have.

I have been unemployed for almost 5 years. I collect no assistance as my mother is gracious enough to let me live under her roof. I have a lot of student debt that is very old and gaining interest. I do "work" occasionally at my local church which does pay me. However this is very occasional work with no tax forms and I'm only needed one or two days a month. The chorbishop in charge of the parish has offered me a letter of recommendation which I will try to use as proof of employment.

I have what some might call excuses for not being employed, but they are real unavoidable things that I had to do for my family. My father was bipolar and schizophrenic and it was a full time job providing him assistance cleaning his home, keeping him sober and sorting the 20+ pills he had to take everyday. Two years ago he passed away and I've been finding it impossible to find any substantial work in my area (Utica, NY). This is not meant to be a sob story as I feel no need to be justified in the actions I took.

My main question is: "can the letter can even serve as some proof of employment, and if not what can I do to get into this industry?". The other question is: "will me taking care of my father allow a fair assessment of what I've been doing for three of the past five years?".

I really appreciate all the articles and posts on this site as it gives people a very clear picture of what to expect.

Hammer St. James's Comment
member avatar

In my instance, I ended my 8 year employment in 2013. I spent '13 collecting unemployment while seeking suitable employment in my field. I gave up in '14 and spent the year caring for a disabled person for a nominal stipend; I considered it building my karma bank.

The DOT and trucking companies want the previous 10 years of employment history. Although in 2014 I was not formally employed it was still a gap. There is a company that is willing to accept my "volunteer" work helping the disabled to close the gap.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

D B., Welcome to the forum!

You've got some things working against you here, and I realize that you already know that.

Here's the deal. This is a post 9/11 requirement that went into place so that Homeland security could make an effort at keeping terrorist groups from doing something similar with a fuel tanker truck like they accomplished with the aircraft on that fateful day. Basically these companies are required to find out and verify what it is that you have been doing for the last several years so that they can be relatively certain you weren't over in Islamabad participating in a terrorist training camp of some sort learning devious ways to do considerable damage against our nations people and economy. They are not allowed to let you have gaps in your timeline with no explanation of what you were up to.

Also, when a company is going to give you the keys to about 175,000 dollars worth of equipment and allow you to take off across the country delivering millions of dollars worth of freight for them, they would like to know that you are a responsible hard working person who will not end up costing them rather than helping them. The most important thing you have going for you to assure them of that is your track record. When you have no track record, or a bad track record, that is a big red flag.

You are going to have to cover all your bases. Don't just "try" to use the letter from the bishop to cover you for employment, I do not see that working in your case. You are going to have to be very up front and tell them just what you told us. In addition to all of that you will need to get at least three people to write a letter stating in their own words that they know you and can vouch that what you have told them that you have been doing for the past five years is true. These letters can come from anyone who knows you, but not from family members. (The bishop or some other authority at the church you were helping out at would be a great one to have write one of these letters) Then you take these letters and have them notarized by a public notary. This is the only way that you can verify your lack of work history, and not everyone will accept it, but many trucking companies will accept it. I have seen this done successfully many times. I learned this little trick from the job placement personnel at the private trucking school that I attended, and have helped several people out with this before. The critical thing is that you lay out a time line of dates that you were helping with your father, and another timeline of after that time period where you were seeking gainful employment. It doesn't have to be perfectly accurate with exact dates, but make sure you leave no dates unaccounted for. It can read something like from August first 2012 to July 31st 2013 I was helping take care of my father until he passed away on July 31st. Then from August 1st 2013 until August 17th 2014 I was unsuccessfully seeking gainful employment in my hometown which has a depressed economy right now. On August 18th 2014 I began attending a truck driving school and completed the course of study on March 31st of 2015. From February 1st 2015 until now I have been seeking employment int the trucking industry.

Do you get the idea? Make it out so it is thorough and complete - leave no gaps and therefore no questions. As long as you have the supporting documents (the notarized letters with complete contact information so those folks that wrote the letters can be contacted for verification) this will work at many trucking companies, but not all of them. Be specific and thorough, and you will find that your efforts will pay off.

Good luck, and let us know how this all works out for you. Trust me you are not alone in your situation, and there will be many folks with a similar situation in their life who will read this and want to know if it worked for you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I want to thank you for your responses. I will try anything I can to break into the industry and these responses really help with me moving forward.

Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

OK so most companies need to make sure your not a terrorist which is why they want to know your employment... I was unemployed for several years only working a week here and there but never made over 3500 a year. Yeah sucks but that's the way it is around my area temp work that is... I'm at crst Now and all I had to do was explain the gaps with looking for work....

Eckoh's Comment
member avatar

I was taking care of family for several years before i started with swift. Your options are limited but there are options.

Blue Hotel's Comment
member avatar

I know I just dug up an old thread, and I apologize for that because I know it annoys a lot of people (at least on other forums). But I figured it'd be more polite than to create another thread about the same thing. So OTR companies are serious about verifying employment. OK. What about cement or construction companies that hire people to drive their Class B trucks, or straight truck companies? Are they usually as serious about verifying work history as OTR? Do they require copies of W2s and such? I'm asking in general, or based on experience, because I know they're all different.

I'm in CDL school so that I can be employable, and I don't care what type of truck (or bus) I end up driving, as long as I can support myself. I got rejected by CT a few weeks ago because of my poor work history. These past few years have really been hard for me.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I know I just dug up an old thread, and I apologize for that because I know it annoys a lot of people (at least on other forums). But I figured it'd be more polite than to create another thread about the same thing. So OTR companies are serious about verifying employment. OK. What about cement or construction companies that hire people to drive their Class B trucks, or straight truck companies? Are they usually as serious about verifying work history as OTR? Do they require copies of W2s and such? I'm asking in general, or based on experience, because I know they're all different.

I'm in CDL school so that I can be employable, and I don't care what type of truck (or bus) I end up driving, as long as I can support myself. I got rejected by CT a few weeks ago because of my poor work history. These past few years have really been hard for me.

Although there are exceptions, most of the smaller companies want previous Class A or B driving experience. Even with a B depending on the state you could be operating an 80,000 pound straight truck, a real handful if not experienced. Bus companies possibly another matter because many advertise "will train".

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I have a somewhat similar situation where I chose not to work to help take care of my mother. I talked to a recruiter with Schneider a week or so ago and mentioned this lapse and why it was there, and he was very careful in his response and acknowledged that it was something they do look at, but as long as I had a valid reason he did not see it as an overwhelming obstacle. That said, I would be prepared to elaborate on your reason, and backing it up with character references would help. The Schneider recruiter told me I would need to explain my lapse.

I find it puzzling that an industry that has close to a 100% turnover ratio has an iota of concern about uh, turnover.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
The DOT and trucking companies want the previous 10 years of employment history.

I have to clear this up as it goes on way too often. The regulations state that they want 10 years of driving work history not work history. People are misrepresenting this all the time. Now if your work history happens to have 10 years of driving then you have to put all of it down.

Here are some quotes direct from the FMCSA

(10)(i) A list of the names and addresses of the applicant's employers during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted,

(ii) The dates he or she was employed by that employer,

(iii) The reason for leaving the employ of that employer,

(11) For those drivers applying to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined by part 383 of this subchapter, a list of the names and addresses of the applicant's employers during the 7-year period preceding the 3 years contained in paragraph (b)(10) of this section for which the applicant was an operator of a commercial motor vehicle, together with the dates of employment and the reasons for leaving such employment;

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • 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

    DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    BMI:

    Body mass index (BMI)

    BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

    • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
    • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

    It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

    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.
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