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Travels of a Trucker References in the Trucking World

May 25, 2012

Today I was driving along and just thinking about the subject of references. It came about actually as I was thinking about whom I could use as a reference to get another driving job and it seemed to me that references in trucking industry for anyone who has been around long enough and knows the game are hard to get.

I mean just imagine you have left one employer to get a higher paying job. Do you think that employer is happy he now has no one in his truck burning the wheels and making him money? Or how about the company that won;t pay or refuses to pay for overtime and you quit or they fire you since they don;t want to pay overtime. Do you honestly think they will provide a decent reference? Or how about the dispatcher that pisses you off and you wind up quitting and then all of a sudden you can never get a good reference from them no matter how hard you worked previously no matter how many loads you delivered safely, no matter how many miles you drove for them, no matter how many driver’s trailers you rescued when they were caught at the scale and stuck there. I mean just imagine all these different companies and you have left them for a host of reasons the bottom line is the same…can I drive the truck…yes. Can I drive the truck safely without accidents…yes. Can I back up, parallel park, get it into the bay without hitting another trailer…yes. Can I drive through the mountains and in snow and on Black ice without going into the rhubarb…yes. But the bottom line is employers still ask for references. What should I say. I quit as they were not paying me overtime. I quit because they paid me $800 for 2 weeks worth of work. I quit because they wanted me to run Kelowna every night hauling a Super B with a 100km speed restriction and chalking over 16 hours on an e-log that they would adjust daily.

In all honesty there are just so many reasons, but can you honestly tell a prospective driving employer these problems?? No. Certainly wouldn’t have any employers banging down the door offering a job to you if they knew you were going to be watching their every move and your paycheque with frequency. So it all boils down to one thing….what does one do for a reference?

Well for one thing you cannot tell the prospective company you have no references. You can give them the number of someone you drove with. After all we are drivers and we should be helping one another. Secondly you can find someone in the office you got along with and ask them to be your reference. In this case I have someone else in the office as a reference. But truly in all honesty, I have to say that referencing in trucking really bites. Let’s face it, based on an abstract and based on a driving test one should know if I can drive or not. The logistics are quite simple. Truck goes forward, truck goes backwards,  truck stops. Everything else in between is second nature regardless of the truck being driven. If for example you ask me to back up to a door and it takes me half an hour without any obstacles, you could probably rest assured I have no experience. If you ask me to go on a road test and after the first block of shifting while getting used to the new gears of a different truck I am still grinding every gear you can be certain either one of two things. Your clutch sucks or my shifting is not synched and I have no experience that I said I have. If I go down the road and my trailer is off tracking or I am driving over the curb or I hit the lamp post at the curb you can probably surmise I ain’t telling the whole truth. I mean lets face it, judging another driver’s skills is not hard to do. We all know that in the first few minutes of a truck as we get used to it there will be some mistakes such as figuring out if it is a 13, 15, or 18 speed and checking the brakes as we get used to the braking of the truck. But that only takes less than a couple of minutes for any driver to figure out who has been around. Of course there are some trucks which absolutely hate me no matter how long I have driven. A big Mack is one of them. Damn if I can ever get that synch down to shift without a grind or two. Freightliners are the best with their sloppy tranny I can just throw it in from the bunk. I am sure you all know what I mean.

Anyhow thanks for reading.

Trucker.

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