Reverse Thinking!

Sometimes it’s possible to break away from traditional forms of job search, based on criteria that you yourself develop. Once applied, you have a clearer sense of what’s important to you as an employee. Below, a primer on how to implement the technique.

As a driver trainer, I frequently get asked what company is the best to work for. There’s many companies out there doing many different types of hauling: Dry van, reefer, flatbed, heavy haul, liquid, cross border, etc. So, it all depends on what you want to do. But that’s just the first part of the question.

Starting out in any career requires you to really think about a number of things. In trucking, where you live doesn’t really matter. Companies will base you out of their nearest terminal. However, where you want to go, does. There is cross border or Canadian driving. How long you are out at one time is a consideration as well. This can have huge implications on your home time and family life.

Typically, when people are looking for a trucking job, they go online and see what’s available for work, or they hear from a friend about a current job. They also go to pages like the APTA or direct to the employer. 

One might think that this is the only way to look for work. There is actually another way that is more current, clear, and will give you better results. A way that will end up helping you achieve your goals in a more loving, sustainable way, for you and your family.

It’s called “reverse thinking”. Reverse the job search paradigm, starting with yourself. Before you even start looking, write down what you want first. Make a plan. Discuss this plan with your family. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. How long do you want to be gone? This is an important one that affects you and your family life. Discuss this with your partner.
  2. Where do you want to go? Do you want cross border or Canadian work? This affects the duration of your trips.
  3. What type of work do you want to do? P&D, local, long distance, etc. Do you want to haul flatbed, van, reefer, liquid, livestock, or cars, etc.
  4. Is the company safety conscious? What kind of safety program do they have?
  5. Do I want/need a health care plan for myself and my family? What about fair wages, fuel and safety bonuses, milestone bonuses? A good company culture (fun place to work, leadership)? 
  6. Will I have advancement opportunities within the company?
  7. What are the parameters and expectations of the job you will do?
  8. Is the company a family oriented company (do they have family activities, and events that are all inclusive throughout the year)?
  9. Does the company have a good fleet maintenance program (looking after their equipment)?
  10. What is the driver turnover rate? How long do drivers typically stay with the company?

These are just some questions that will help you on your employment journey.

Once you have done that, then it’s time to go look for potential companies to work for, based on this criteria. This is where reverse thinking comes in. 

Pick the top 10 companies you feel fit this list, call them, then interview them, not the other way around. Ask them these questions. Also, talk to other drivers who already work for them and see what they think about the company. Once you feel satisfied with the answers, you can then remove the ones off that list that don’t apply. Then you are left with a few potential candidates. Choose the best one for you.

The reason I advise to look for work this way, is if you have no criteria for what you want, how will you ever get what you want? How will you know what you want if you don’t write it down and track it? If you don’t know, no one else will. This is called setting values, standards, and clarity for yourself. If this isn’t done, there is a huge potential for stress, burnout, unhappiness, and job jumping, which can affect your health, career, and family life. 

Don’t let this happen to you. Get clear on your objectives beforehand. Have a plan, and work towards your goals. Remember, it’s not what you say “yes” too, it’s what you say “no” to as well. This means that once you have a plan in place to meet your goals, anything else from that point, that comes along in your journey has a “yes” or “no” answer. Does it put me closer or farther away from my goals? If it’s closer, then “yes” would be the answer, if it’s farther away, then the answer is “no”. This helps with finding clarity on what you spend your time doing day-to-day in your life.

Having a clean driver’s abstract, a clear criminal report, and experience will also help when approaching potential employers for work. 

We all know it has been a difficult time during the pandemic for everyone. People are relying on trucking to get their goods delivered more than ever. It is up to all the dedicated professional drivers out there to work together, to get the job done. The Mindful Trucker would like to thank all of you that work in the trucking industry, for doing what you do every day. 

If you’re looking for work in the trucking industry and would like some help with preparing a plan for your career, to find the right work that really puts you in flow, contact us at info@themindfultrucker.com 

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