Newbies - Starting as a Company Driver
Leaving Your Carrier
How you leave an employer is as important to the success of your career as the next job you are about to start. The way you handle the resignation process can affect future opportunities in the industry and it needs to be done in a professional manner. With the amount of turnover associated with trucking, it is not out of the question that you may want to return to the employer you are currently leaving. In other words, "Don't burn any bridges you may want to cross again."
The first thing you should do when you are about to leave an employer is to make certain you have another job lined up. Although driving jobs are a dime a dozen, it still takes time to find and start that next job. Make sure you already have the job. Furthermore, it is important to know why you are leaving your current employer. For the most part, trucking companies are not all that different from each other and actually are quite similar. In other words, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Be sure that you truly do want to leave.
For example, if you are leaving due to slow freight and low miles, chances are the other carriers are going through the same thing. If it's for pay, look at the entire package to determine what is best for you. You may be leaving because of a personality conflicts. These can often be easily resolved with communication. Remember, when you leave a carrier and start a new job, there will probably be a two to three week lag in between where you are driving very little and are making very little money (you may even have to wait a week or two to catch up to your new carrier's pay cycle).
If you are set on leaving your carrier, it's important to handle it professionally. One of the most important things you can do when you are leaving a job is to give ample notice. Two weeks is ideal notice, but try not to give less than one week's notice of resignation. By giving notice you are showing your professionalism, making it easier for that company to fill your position and giving yourself a good chance of being rehired. Furthermore, with ample notice your current employer will have an easier time getting you in to return the truck and getting you home in time to start your new job (and yes, most carriers will pay your way home if you return their equipment).
Once you give your notice of resignation, preferably in writing, there are still a few details you should try to attend to. First, it is a good idea to see if you can get a letter of recommendation from the company you are leaving. This not only will give their endorsement of you, but it can also serve as verification of employment if that company were to go out of business. Next, try to get copies of documentation that may be in your employment or safety file. Perhaps you had an accident, however minor, or perhaps you have received accommodations. Documentation of this sort may prove to be quite helpful in the future. Finally, return your truck and trailer, and any supplies provided by the company to an appropriate and approved location. Never, I repeat NEVER, abandon your truck! No matter what the situation, return the equipment in good condition to a company approved location.
Leaving on a positive note is truly a good strategic move for the future of your career. Regardless of where you go next, it is almost guaranteed that the new company will contact the employer you just left for a reference. With that in mind, why would you leave any way other than in a profession manner? In addition, by maintaining accurate records and by acquiring copies of file documentation, you are protecting yourself and making employment verification that much easier in the future.
Do not overlook the importance of the resignation process for your career.