The Big Brown Career

    Another Day in Paradise OK, so you’ve decided to take that job with “Big Brown”. Better yet you took the job 2 years ago, and now you’re sitting there wondering, “oh hell, what have I done!” Most drivers know about the two year blues. It usually takes a driver about two years to suddenly come to the realization that they are running harder, giving more of their lives, and getting less than the drivers around them. They suddenly start to ask questions, and appear more rebellious to management. They suddenly are in the office, and are quick to express their dissatisfaction with their treatment. They also become more aware of their union, and begin to ask what the union can do about their situation. These are the formative years at UPS. I liken it to becoming a hormonal monster of a teenager. Questioning everything, and placing unreasonable demands on the parent, (the company, aka: abusive daddy), and realizing that being rebellious is a better way of life than just rolling over, and taking it.
     Many drivers make their long term career choice around that time. It’s not uncommon for some drivers to just say, “screw it”. “I’m not putting up with that crap for the rest of my life. Of course when they go home to the new wife, and the new baby, they usually get a scolding about, “where in the hell do you think you are going to get a job with benefits, and make that kind of money, and steady work, and few layoffs, and on, and on, and on”. At that point most drivers have been welcomed into the world of the “golden handcuffs”. The company has them now. They will bleed brown for the next 30 years, and like it, (or not).
    At the same time that most drivers come to these conclusions, they will also begin to look around at the routes available to them. They will begin to search for the kind of route that suits them, such as a long drive extended route, or a high rise downtown route with all of the good looking receptionists to sign for stuff. (Sorry to be so sexist, but I know many a driver where that type of thing is important). Most will settle onto some nice residential route, with less boxes, and a little more driving. It used to be that they could stay out of sight of the company until the advent of Telematics.
    The realities of a career begin to set in. The good things begin to become obvious. With the potential of reaching full seniority, the money begins to look good. They begin to get real used to having healthcare, and it sure is nice to own their own house. They start to enjoy a hobby or two, (of course they never seem to have time to enjoy those hobbies), and with a little push at work, life seems to be falling into place. The route is tolerable, and they get in good enough shape, and learn the ropes to where the job “ain’t so bad”.
     If the driver does not fall into the, “I’m not going to be a truck driver all my life”, mode and make the fatal mistake of going into management, they are on track for a long career at Big Brown. If they look to the Teamsters to help them find the path away from destruction of life, and body, they can have a long career with Big Brown.
     The one place many drivers fail is in their home life. The divorce rate is very high within the company. A driver needs to balance the demands of the home, with the demands of the company. Monday through Friday can be a tough time for a driver. Getting to the kids special times during the week can be tough. Keeping your mates hopes and dreams outside the company satisfied can also be tough. It’s at those times that a driver suddenly becomes aware of the nine-five grievance, and how much work the drivers around them are doing, and what time they are getting off, etc.
     Any drivers that have been around awhile will be chuckling at this point, because we all go through it. It’s a way of life with a “Big Brown Career”. We all go through it in one form or another.
     I can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you take care of business in the meantime, there is that pension waiting for you at the end. Hopefully if the ex-wives have not decimated you financially, and the company has not stolen your body, you will be able to retire in decent shape, at a decent age.
                  You can then be the driver to look back and remember all of the stages of a-
                                                             “Big Brown Career”