The Trouble with Driving for a New Company
I have recently changed opportunities, and as I have only driven for three companies in the last 18 years, the joys and confusion of switching companies were made clear.
As an over the road professional driver, I strive to be able to trust my dispatch and office staff. When that trust goes away, it's not good. Unable to trust those who we have been providing service for, and unable to provide for ourselves without them, we are forced to jump from the bad situation to what is hopefully a better one. But that transition has the potential to destroy your business, and in many cases, what's at stake is everything you have invested in your present trucking company and your business is placed in extreme jeopardy.
The new company may have a very different way of doing things. Anything from dispatcher ideology, to new customers and new paperwork all add to the stress and confusion of a new job.
Don’t expect to be up to speed, either. As you wade through the process, it will take you longer to get from point A to point B. Stressing about it and overdriving will do nothing but cause potential errors that may cost you money — money you probably don’t have available. It’s stressful, but take your time; the new company understands this and should provide some leeway as you get up to pace. Taking short cuts to try and speed up your service to the new company will create an unsafe situation for you.
Remember, this company hired you because of the service you provided to your previous employer. They know what you are capable of, and they will not expect that level of service from day one. If, however, they start seeing errors and short cuts being taken, the trust level you are trying to rebuild will be slowed substantially.
Misrepresenting the situation you find yourself in won’t help. The new company will know — they have their long tenured drivers watching you. It’s far better to let them know you’re behind schedule, or that you don't understand their expectations. Adjustments can be made, and letting them know you are having issues goes a long way to build the trust you both need to make the move a positive one. The ability to work through issues, just as in any relationship, will lay the groundwork for the future when you call them about other problems.
There is no use getting aggravated if things aren’t transpiring as you think they should. As tough as it is, you must trust that they will do what is needed to help you succeed. That’s why they hired you and that’s why you applied there, so try not to carry the baggage of your previous situation to the new one.
"That’s the way I used to do it" is not going to bode well in the new job. You left your old job because it was no longer working for you. Every employer has things that are good and things that are less than desirable, and you will be given some of the less desirable routes or jobs — if for no other reason than "you’re the new guy." How you handle these tasks will show the new company how you cope with and deal with the stress. If you complain and whine about it, you will never succeed.
As you start a new opportunity, remember it’s exactly that: a completely new opportunity. You have the ability to make it whatever you want. If you want it to be positive, profitable, and fun, it will be. If you are always suspicious and confrontational, it will be a struggle, and you will become one of those who are perpetually changing jobs because "it’s their fault."
Take responsibility for your success and failures. Understanding what is expected of you, having a little faith, and being patient will help you and your new employer succeed and achieve the goals you both have for your future.
Dan Dickey is an owner-operator out of British Columbia. He runs bctrucker.com, an information exchange portal for truckers and others involved in British Columbia's trucking industry. Check it out for good information and good discussions or follow him on Twitter @bctrucker1.