Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Truck Buddy has real job opportunities

After doing this for about half a decade, I've come to the realization that prospective employees' expectations are not accurate. Actually, not just inaccurate, but flat-out backward. Think about it: here's what the job requires:

  • Driving big, heavy trucks in a busy city (for Crew Leader positions)
  • Gently handling customers' personal belongings
  • Deftly handling unexpected (often unimaginable) challenges or crises with grace and competence
  • Tactfully taking care of customers whose stress level often begins as "elevated" 
  • Accurately handling money and doing on-the-spot calculations
  • Filing accurate reports

Does any of this sound like an "unskilled labor job?" We're are in permanent hiring mode, and we see all kinds of guys come through. However, there's one type of guy that always makes an appearance in every hiring spree: the one who thinks he can skate through an interview and, if hired, a few months on the job because all he thinks he has to do is "lift things up and put them down." In other words, they're looking to do the absolute least with their lives for as long as they can.

Short disclaimer: By no means am I saying that all candidates are that way--many have been knocked out of their professional orbit through no fault of their own. Some, like me, were just terribly unsuited for the claustrophobic insanity of the corporate world. But the reality is that there are a lot of guys out there who will work their butts off to avoid "effort."

No! No, no, NO!

I realized years ago that there's an actual skill set involved in the craft of moving. I've described it to new recruits as needing to be a "burly ballerina" -- strong and graceful. As for the rest of the job, to be successful, to maintain the standards and reputation we've set and earned, you also have to be a politician, a saint, an accountant, and MacGyver.

Imagine MacGyver in a tutu or a habit, and you've got the idea.

So, the slow dawn on me has finally broken into light: we have a hard time because we're always looking for the right people in all the wrong places. So where do we go? The usual places, I guess: Monster.com, CareerBuilder, etc. According to a recent Forbes article, the pool of eligible candidates must be HUGE. Some of them aren't looking anymore, which presents a problem, so please, if you know anyone of reasonable physical ability and common sense, let us know.

In the past, I've posted ads on Craigslist with dire warnings to jackwagons who think they can bluff their way through an interview and waste my time. (The number of guys who apply for a Crew Leader position, a.k.a. a driving position, without a driver's license, is astounding). That's been fairly effective, if horribly inefficient, but I realize I've struck the wrong tone. Instead of focusing on all the things we don't want, I should focus on what we're looking FOR.

So here's the deal: there's a real opportunity here. It may not be the ideal job situation you envisioned as you made your way through college, but it's real. This company has grown -- often doubling growth -- in a recession. Assuming the economy doesn't completely flatline in the next few years, we are poised to grow outside the little boundaries of the Washington, DC area. In much shorter time than I expect, we'll likely be branching out to nearby cities. We're already giving serious thought to setting up offices around the suburbs of the Beltway.

What do we need? We'll need marketing professionals, branch managers, creative types, website designers, social media content providers, and probably a lot more people than I can even imagine right now.

However, until we get there, we'll need more of the backbone of MTB: Crew Leaders and movers. Right now I pay for a three-member "non-producing" management team. By "non-producing" I mean I pay these guys to handle the voluminous administrative duties around here. They're by no means unimportant -- quite the opposite. But they're not out in the field generating income for the increasingly ravenous beast that is a legitimate, licensed and insured moving company.

Until we get to that magical place where we have...what's it called..."disposable income," most of the jobs will be in the labor area. However, it's from that pool of guys that we'll draw our future leaders, a.k.a. managers and professionals.

So, if you're interested in paying your dues, learning the business from the ground up, and moving up fairly quickly, we should talk. This is real. This isn't like some gigantic corporations that claim every employee "is an owner." With a little effort, you can be lifting boxes one day, running a crew the next, and managing a suburban branch soon after. After that, who knows? Branch manager in another city? It's wide open.

Even if you don't see yourself working in the moving industry for the rest of your life, and instead you're interested in doing something noble for a season (and I'm not kidding--there's nobility in the kind of work that tests your physical AND mental abilities, not to mention your character and integrity), we'll welcome you for that, too.

Don't sit at home waiting for things to get better. I guarantee it won't if your action plan is "Step 1. Do nothing; Step 2. Profit." Come work with us. Be part of an awesome team doing mighty deeds.

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