Going With My Gut
Let me throw a number at you. Over one million two hundred thousand trucking companies operate in the United States. So when I began searching for my first over-the-road trucking company, I pared down the list significantly. Okay, I butchered it. The basic requirements and key “deal breakers” helped whittle down the list to a manageable size. First, geography: if I truly wanted to embrace the opportunity for its full potential to be a long-distance experience, my future employer must carry me to all forty-eight states with bonus points for Canada. Two, rider policy: I want to be sure any of my family or friends who have an adventurous streak get a chance to join my expedition in person. Three, tuition reimbursement: to quote a favorite movie, “Now I ain’t cheap, but I can be had.”
From there, a myriad of options weighed in with varying degrees of significance. How long until I may invest in a company 401k plan? May my dog travel with me? How long will I train with another driver before heading out on my own? How modern is the fleet of vehicles? Does the company prepay tolls and fuel? May I take my home time elsewhere, or more specifically, not at home? The one question, and in my opinion the greatest unknown variable, earnings, never weighed into my decision when considering a company. And with these variables in hand, I successful narrowed my applications from over a million to six, with three rising to the top.
And Then There Was One
Company Red, my front runner, received ticks in the “Pros” column for factors no other company possessed: technology and social media savvy. With an active Twitter account and its own Pandora station, my gut pointed me towards its door, yet its package of benefits included two gaping holes. Company Blue, the first out of the gate with an employment offer, failed to stir any enthusiasm. Tried and true, the company adequately matched every must-have quality, yet when I considered other options, it always felt like the fallback plan, like a second string quarter back with the stellar college stats and no NFL experience. Lastly, Company Orange, a late comer, seemed the most polished. From first contact to the interview, professionalism, politeness, and possibility led the charge, but carried a deal-breaker of its own.
Three bachelors, one rose. Or is this an episode of House Hunters, where each unit has a plus and a minus, or a lot of little pluses and a bad roof? Each choice fits with a different aspect of my truck driving writer persona. As a blogger, tweeter, and online author, technology matters. My practical, rational brain recognizes the importance of the qualities that will, in the long term, offer me the best foundation for success. When entering an entirely new career, I value the professionalism in an otherwise great unknown. At the end of the day, I am indebted to the friends who listen to my verbal weighing of options, and I thank all of them for not offering an opinion, but instead lending an open ear. Today marks the next major step towards my new career and somewhere a recruiter will be taking my call. Now, what color will I be painting my future?