28 July 2011

Where are the jobs?

I never expected to be facing the hardships the lagging economy has placed in my path. There's little coming in to do anything with, including keep a roof over my head. I know I'm not alone in this. There are many others nationwide who face the same issues I am facing.

Many years ago, I learned trucking jobs would get harder to get in the coming years, employers would become more selective about who they hired as far as 'experienced' drivers go ... I believed it then. Today, I live it!

I have a Class A license I've held for 16 years. It isn't much good to me except maybe in road construction trucking. In this circumstance, road construction trucking is sorely lacking as well. I blame the economy for that, too.

Any 'over the road experience' I had is well over ten years old and isn't acceptable for employers hiring 'over the road'. I am qualified, and I can do the job, if someone, some company would give me a shot. I'd even take less pay and ride with a 'trainer' (co-driver) for a month to prove myself.

Being away from my three kitty's and Traveler for three weeks to a month at a time?  This can not be an issue any longer. I can make arrangements for them. I need the work, I need to earn a living, I need to make money to feed them, too ... if I could just have a job.

When I came off the road in 1999, it was to care for an aging parent, something I think my generation feels a need to do for their parents. I found a decent job as a 'driver manager' for about a year and a half until the company moved it's terminal out of state. I couldn't justify the higher cost of living in a different state even for the additional increase in pay I would earn if I relocated. I chose to stay put. If there is any hindsight .... I made the right choice.

I climbed back into a big rig.... I did some five state regional running, some local P&D (pick up and delivery), learned my way around the metro area pretty well. When construction trucking presented an opportunity, I jumped at it. Moving dirt, aggregates and asphalt to/from/on road construction sites. I loved it! I could be home everyday.

The economy collapsed! The company struggled to bid jobs and keep drivers working, we worked less and less. They closed their doors... laid off 100 drivers, including myself, with little warning, yet not totally unexpected.

Unemployment in Arizona doesn't pay much. In fact, Arizona is ranked next to lowest in benefits with only Mississippi lower. These benefits ran out late last year. Job searching in a bad economy? I was blown away.... nothing for months upon months.

Then 2010 .... An unknown blood disorder ultimately resulting in major surgery to remove my spleen and weeks of recovery. Thankfully, I have friends who would come to my rescue. I moved in with a friend less than a week before the surgery. Today, I am healthy, fully recovered and I want to go back to work!

I've been doing a variety of things ... A Travelers Thoughts, baby-sitting caring for an elderly gentleman who has been more ill than I the last year ... I persevere. The ongoing search for a job continues and is a major priority. I try to stay busy every day.