There is nothing more elusive than an obvious fact!
June 6, 2014
There is only today, tomorrow is uncertain and the past cannot be changed, how cliché right? Yes but lately I have been spending more of my time trying to get this into my head and believe me this head can be thick when it wants to be. I had a major change in my life just a few years ago when I stepped back from being the go to guy for a major carrier to playing a drastically reduced role and freeing my time up significantly. This has been a major change for me that while rewarding it has challenging at the same time.
The rewarding part has been being able to set my own agenda the challenging part has been trying to stay focused on what I have taken on as new challenges. You see my new free time has created many new distractions that I truly enjoy but at the same time divert me from what I still want to achieve in my business career. During my old routine I felt accountable to many people so I would write a to do list everyday and recap each evening what I had accomplished and I would try to be disciplined enough to touch or accomplish all those items that were the most difficult for me.
I did this by marking them AOF (Action Overcomes Fear) the rational was obvious, usually those things that we are the most uncomfortable confronting are made more difficult than they really are because as humans we tend to avoid them. AOF was my mental reminder that in fact confronting those difficult issues early usually reveals that they are not as difficult as we thought they would be. It’s the procrastination that we get bogged down in and the avoidance of a difficult situation that we dwell on that makes the situation bigger than it really is. Some of you might be in the same type situation especially when it comes to dealing with issues with your current carrier. Remember that old song “Take This Job And Shove It” sounds great but the cost of changing jobs as a driver or changing contracts as an Owner Operator are expensive and need to be thought threw thoroughly before leaving the situation your in with your current carrier.
As a company driver you will be giving up your earned benefits possible your safety bonus that has been earned to this time of the year. You’ll need to consider your seniority, which may or may not mean that much to you but does grant you additional vacation time or the opportunity for better runs. You may have a waiting period for health benefits at a new carrier, the inevitable cash flow interruption etc.
As an Owner Operator considering changing jobs you’re probably costing yourselves thousands of dollars. If it takes you 2-3 weeks to switch carriers as it probably will by the time you de-identify your truck take out your satellite surrender other company equipment go through the new companies orientation, get a safety etc. While all this is going on of course you will be hit with your fixed cost, which keep coming no matter what, including your, truck payment, roadside insurance and your personal fixed cost such as home mortgage, car payments and your insurance payments.
The burden of this industry’s high turnover is usually placed at the doorstep of the company. After all they are the employer of you drivers or the one dictating the contract content when Owner Operators are utilized, and to a large degree this is true. But I sometimes wonder if the transportability of your services isn’t also a major contributor to high turnover. In other words it might be far to easy for you to simply look for a new job rather that confront what your significant issue is and work on a solution. I know many of you who have flipped carriers in the past few years are now on the defensive and feel that in fact you did deal with whatever issue you had and you got no resolution so you cut bait and went on to your new carrier. It’s not my intention to second-guess you but I will tell you that there is a major difference in outcome depending on how you choose to deal with your issues. What do I mean by this? Its easier to give you an example, when people had issues that they thought were worthy of my attention they would come to me in one of two fashions.
The wrong approach would usually not help their situation because they would do this by living under the delusion that I was some kind of dumping ground for their problem. They simply handed me their issue by stating their case and then when done they would look at me with the so what are you going to do about this look. My usual reaction to this approach was to ask questions of the individual that would lead them to the right conclusion. After you do this enough the smarter ones get the message the not so smarts will wear you out. At the root of most issues is the feeling that generally there is nothing more elusive than an obvious fact, as a driver you get to sit in your truck all day and dwell on issues that you might think are obvious to everyone around you and likely there not!
The approach that I enjoyed much more was the one that was well thought out, where the individual would explain the issue and seek my opinion on if there was actually an issue and then they would ask for my opinion on a single or a variety of solutions, Much less tiring and a more intelligent way to seek lasting solutions.
So a word to the wise before you decide to cut bait take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you have truly been professional in how you have dealt with your issues with that carrier. Then put pen to paper and do the math on your new opportunity and if you have done both of these to the best of your ability you can now make a quality decision.