I first began working in the commercial driver screening and employment industry in the mid-1980s and have been through a few business cycles. The recession we are in feels different than previous cycles. For one thing, some are doing better than ever, and some haven’t had this bad of a time in decades.
In late 2008, when things headed south, the Department of Transportation had one employee earning more than $170,000 per year. Eighteen months later there were 1690 making over $170,000. And not to pick on the Department of Transportation, during the same period when over seven million Americans lost their jobs, the number of federal employees earning $100,000 or more went up from 14% to 19%–that is before overtime pay and bonuses are counted. So, about one of every 5 federal employees is making better than $100,000 per year. During a recession.
Did you smash the screen or are you still with me? It’s not just that public employees are doing well and private employees are doing badly. In my business, I talk with many drivers who are doing very well and some who have shot their driving career in the foot. I hear a lot of advice about what drivers should not do or what behaviors to avoid. In talking and working with drivers who are doing well, they all seem to do some common things that are keeping them recession-proof.
Own your career
They don’t have a current job, they have a career. Their current job may not be the one they want, but they understand future employment depends on their track record. They are choosy in picking companies. If the company does not have a strong safety effort, they understand with CSA that they will be affected.
Face the opposition
If they get a ticket, they challenge it. Tickets are a little like concrete—you can often work with it before it sets—but once set, it’s really hard to work with. If you get a ticket, don’t wait until it is set.
Always be prepared
If they’re not happy with their current employer, they do not do anything rash or half-cocked, but prepare. Sometimes opportunity knocks and if you’re not prepared, someone else answers the door first. The drivers I talk with making some bucks have a file with their employment history listed and a copy of their MVR from the past year. They know what’s on their DAC Report and PSP report and have disputed and corrected any information before it had the chance to bite them. Some of the drivers use DOTJobHistory.com, some of them have printed the information and put it in a file—but they can get to it when they need it.
Whether it is a recession or the height of economical bliss, these three factors always apply. They have a plan and their plan may be to stay with the company they’re at but move into a preferred route, pay scale, or other position. Some of the drivers I talk with have been with a company for 5 or more years, and when they have that kind of longevity with a single company, they have many employment choices with other companies. These drivers have decided to work within the company rather than leave for the unknown.
If you are one of those who is not doing so great in this recession, it’s time to prepare. There are some good jobs out there.
Tags: Personal Documents