Looking for a new driving job? Keep the old one until you’re hired at a new one.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. Steve Martin used to have a comedy routine that started out something like this: “You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes. First—you get a million dollars in cash. Okay now…”
And so you may not always have the luxury of searching for a new driving job while still employed (or figuring out how not to pay taxes on one million in cash). I talk with drivers who make two common mistakes when looking for a new driving job.
1. With your current driving job, there is a dispute or you’re not getting the hours, routes, or respect you deserve. Your natural inclination is to channel Johnny Paycheck and live out the words from “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.” Good song, good singer, but poor paycheck advice from Paycheck.
There’s a couple of reasons to line up a new job prior to quitting your old job. For one, rightly or wrongly, many employers will prefer a currently employed applicant, because they assume that if the driver is still employed, he or she is doing an average to good job—or they would be unemployed.
The other issue is that if you leave without giving notice or on bad terms, the reference you receive from the company in the future may be poor.
Be professional, give notice, and, needless to say, never abandon your truck or load.
2. Another mistake commonly made is applying for many jobs and allowing potential employers to contact your current employer. This can have a negative effect if your employer is getting a lot of calls and wonders if you are going to leave them high and dry for a new driving job.
Most potential employers and screening firms will respect your request not to contact your current employer until the process is close to a done deal from both sides. In fact, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners Accreditation program has a clause requiring them to “ have procedures in place to contact consumer’s current employer directly only when authorized by client and/or consumer.”
It should also be noted that if you are currently employed, the present employer will not be on your DAC report until after you terminate employment. Let’s say you have been working for an employer for two years and are still there. If a potential employer orders a DAC report on you, your two years of experience with that company will not show up. So you’re safe there.
To summarize, if you want a new driving job, look while you’re still employed, give written notice when you leave, and keep a copy of your notice. While you are looking when still employed, wait until mutual, serious interest is established before authorizing a potential employer to check with your current employer.