Just one truck? And only one paycheck?By Eric Anders • Mar 15th, 2012 • Category: COMMENTARY
The following is a fictional account based on a true story. Some of the names and details have been changed to protect the innocent. It's up to each reader to decide what's real and what's not!
They told us when we got out of the military that gettin' a job might be sorta hard – what with the still lousy economy and all.
Man, I just never dreamed it would be this difficult … or confusing!
When I finally got to sit down down with Joe, the moving company's driver recruiter, he asked me if I wanted a coffee. Unfortunately, he delivered it with a huge, HUGE stack of forms.
Told me they were company job applications, state and federal motor carrier “qualification packets”, and credit check authorizations required by some of the carriers I would be working for.
“More required 'red tape'!”, he said.
As I worked on the first set of papers, Joe explained that as a returning vet I was a “perfect” candidate for a job in the household goods movin' industry.
"Bet your wife's gonna be surprised when she finds out she's married to a bedbugger", he kidded. I grunted out a tense laugh but really didn't understand the humor. Apparently he never spent any time in the field.
The recruiter confided that soldiers and sailors returning to civilian life are a hot commodity in the transportation industry right now – particularly E-3's like me who know how to drive a truck. The company, Joe beamed, was really, REALLY proud to hire me!
Why? Seems movers really appreciate the fact that military service members are used to always takin' orders from a different bunch of officers or civilian bosses regardless of how confounding or conflicting they usually are!
Most of us with 92A experience have already demonstrated we'll gladly work for peanuts! And we're never overly surprised by what the brass expect us to sacrifice. Sometimes it's BOTH impractical AND illogical. Most of 'em just tell ya to “give it your all – but keep it legal”!
When I was done, Joe snatched my now cold coffee, handed me a cold pop … and another packet. This one, he explained, was for the interstate van line his particular agency had been affiliated with for over forty years. I swear! Dollar signs started floatin' in the air above my head before I ever finished completing the first page.
He continued by explaining that after experiencing multiple deployments to often hostile environments, “you guys and gals that have been over there a few times are used to bein' away from home and not havin' any contact with the folks or family”. He actually saluted me and said he admired the way most warriors just walk into an unfamiliar and often tense environment everyday.
Joe patted me on the back again, took the completed paperwork from the desk … and then handed me another packet. This one, he told me was for the 'sister' van line of the company he worked for.
Apparently the government requires it. Just like the DOD, Uncle Sam is always trying his damnedest to make things more difficult and confusing than they need to be. Shaking my head, I laughed and started filling it out too. This time I got it.
Joe interrupted and told me I just needed to "sign it". What's funny is that I swear he winked when he said it!
Soon as I finished scribbling my name, he handed me another packet. Grinnin' from ear to ear, he told me he was “gonna help make me a rich man”. This one, he said, was for the mobile portable container moving franchise the moving company recently became affiliated with.
Dropping his voice, Joe confided that, like movers, today's military service members have been trained to use the latest, most expensive technology money can buy,. The carriers and customers I would be working with often expected drivers to stretch themselves and their crews as thin as possible just to accomplish the “mission”!
As always, the goal is to “maximize” internal and external productivity and “facilitate” seamless communication between all parties involved in movin' their personal property.
So, of course, having been a PLL/TAMMS clerk and knowing how to pick up and deliver storage pallets and portable containers would help the company improve their profitability and put a whole lot more money in my pocket. My wallet was feelin' fatter already.
With all this work and all these carriers, I thought, maybe I'd be smart to hire a co-driver right from the gitgo. Or perhaps get one of my buddies to become a partner! After all, I didn't know anything about how to do business with a bunch of different moving compan …. no, that's wrong. I think Joe called them … transportation service providers.
Yeah, that's it. TSPs!
The position of the sun behind the blinds told me it was almost noon. Time for chow. Good thing, too! My hand was tired and my head hurt from tryin' to keep up with all the stuff the recruiter was telling me.
“Just one more!”, joshed Joe. “Then you can take me to lunch, This one's for a military carrier that we recently started doin' some 409 business with. They filed some ridiculous rates this summer.” “Should keep you REAL busy”, he boasted. "Don't be surprised to find the DOD's still payin' 'bout 80% of your check.”, he said.
My stomach growled just as I finished. Hunger? Or indigestion?
Joe took the packet when I was done and, turning me around, pointed out the window at a beat-up old cabover tractor that looked like it too had served on the front lines in Iraq.
"Doesn't look like much but that baby's gonna make you a wealthy man!"
Handing me a set of truck keys, he shook my hand , patted me on the back one last time, and told me “welcome to the movin' industry”.
“Nice meetin' ya, Joe” I said, shaking his hand. Appreciate your time!
I took one more look at the bucket of bolts outside, shook my head in disbelief, and threw the folder of just completed paperwork he'd given me in the trash. Then I dropped the key on the recruiter's desk as I walked out the door.
I still don't get it! How does the moving industry's brass expect drivers to work for so many different TSPs with just one truck?
Maybe I'll just haul freight.
Related Articles and Resources:
Update: Outsourcing DOD’s personal property program – RELO Roundtable
Business Case Analysis Forum Topic – RELO Roundtable General Discussion Forum
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