Revenge doesn't pay

| May 31, 2007

Leaving a job on bad terms hurts you and your fellow drivers.

Tales abound of vengeful company drivers who blame employers and “get even” by quitting abruptly, then abandoning, damaging, stealing or otherwise vandalizing equipment and freight.

“I’ve heard of concrete truck drivers who drive their boss’s trucks out in the woods, slit the tires and leave the concrete there to harden,” says owner-operator John Chapman of River Rouge, Mich.

Another driver drove his boss’s truck to a hospital, parked, broke off the ignition key, left the truck idling, locked the doors and checked himself into the hospital’s psychiatric unit.

In the midst of the anger some drivers feel toward employers, quitting a job and vandalizing, stealing or abandoning company equipment seems justified, and the perpetrating drivers seem like folk heroes.

But vandalism and theft aren’t heroic, and blame for bad experiences usually misses its rightful target.

“What’s the point? What good does that do?” Chapman asks. “Follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” he says. “That’s a golden rule among drivers.

You don’t mess with somebody else’s equipment.”

“Because you’re angry with a company, you’re going to destroy something?” asks Tom Birdseye, Duluth, Minn.-based company driver for Sue Vinje Trucking. “That’s stupid.”

“Stupid” is too polite. Angry drivers who plan to damage company equipment to “get even” or “teach a lesson” to the employer should cool down first, then consider:

  • Vandalism, theft and abandoned trucks won’t force the desired changes.

  • It could end the guilty driver’s career and even land him in prison.
  • Other drivers will likely have to clean up the mess.
  • It makes all truckers look bad.

Maybe it feels good for a little while. But after that, it’s all trouble.

“That will follow you around your whole life,” says Birdseye, who has more than 25 years of experience.

Drivers who cause problems while quitting will soon complete job applications that require past employers’ names and phone numbers.

“Other carriers might request a letter of reference from the past employer,” says Sebastian Cook, manager of Allied Systems’ Jupiter, Fla., terminal.

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