Revenge doesn't pay
“A lot of the newer OOs are so negative,” says former 20-year driver Russell Fullingim of Truckers Financial Services in Corning, Calif. “They hate drivers; they hate trucking.”
Every job has its nightmares. There are some rogue employers who talk safety by day, then turn a blind eye while dispatchers, shippers and receivers run drivers all day and night, or leave them sitting in strange towns for days, or fail to produce promised new trucks. These issues are serious, but one misdeed doesn’t justify another.
“The companies have their problems, but you have to be a professional,” Cook says. “A lot of times it’s corporate directives that determine what happens in the field. A lot of guys don’t take to that too well, and they leave on bad terms.”
“If you’re treating them good and they’re treating you dirty, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Chapman says. “If the issue won’t go away, then you have to move on.”
Earn self-respect by taking the very worst the job can throw at you with understanding, restraint and dignity. It pays off.
“You earn peace of mind when you quit on good terms,” Chapman says. “You know you did your best.”
Quitting With Class
Most carriers won’t begrudge a driver for moving on.
“A lot of times the employer doesn’t mind if the driver has a good opportunity somewhere else,” says Sebastian Cook, Allied Systems’ terminal manager in Jupiter, Fla. “They part as friends. Ideally, that’s what you want.”
Even if you’re unhappy, have the self-respect to show courtesy.
“If the employee has stated his issues about why he wants to leave, and they still can’t come to an agreement, then he has to move on,” Cook says. “In that case, it’s good to have an exit interview with the boss about how things might be done differently.”
After that, quitting is more about what not to do. Make it short and sweet.
“It’s pretty much real simple,” Cook says. “Generally you want to give two weeks’ notice. In that time, return anything that belongs to the company.”
Then just move on.
“You say, ‘hey, it just didn’t work out for me’,” Cook says. “‘I’ll use my energy to rebuild someplace else.’”
Some drivers say asking them to respect employers when quitting such high-stress, demanding jobs is asking too much, but the seasoned pros well know that respect is part of the professional trucker’s job description, even when it seems impossible. Most drivers have detailed files about self-control struggles.
“When somebody starts pulling my strings, I’m not a good guy to be around,” says owner-operator John Chapman, who isn’t shy about speaking up. “I have a short fuse. I try my best to keep my temper down because when it blows, it’s gone, and I have to re-evaluate my employment situation.”