When you talk about having the right “attitude” at work, what does that mean to you?
To me, it’s about being a team player and being willing to work with the rest of the team while having a positive, contributing attitude.
What are some of the signs that you or another operator may not have the right attitude while at work?
Every shop seems to have that one employee that is sitting in the corner drinking his coffee or looking at his phone in the morning with a scowl on his face with a grumpy attitude to back it up. Basically, a team member who is always in a bad mood and doesn’t want to talk with anyone most of the time. They put in just enough effort not to get fired, but nothing more than that. If your thinking your shop doesn't have one of these operators...either you work in a great place or maybe you’re this person and don’t realize it?
What are some of the ways you have found work to help keep you in a good attitude at work?
I think it starts before work and may need to be re-set throughout the day occasionally. As towers, we don't typically have a set schedule to start each day. We wake up to a call or text, maybe a few people still have a pager, with directions for our first call And of course we need to be there ASAP. The first 10 minutes of your day can easily set the pattern for the rest of the day. Take the extra minute you don't think you have to hit the Keurig button or say good morning to your family. Don't let the day run you. Throughout the day you may need a re-set. Find 10 minutes and instead of looking at what others are doing on social media get out of the truck and walk around a park or a scrap yard or whatever your town has to offer that you enjoy. Maybe if you like a specific drink or snack from your favorite store, add it to your route somehow. Dont be wasting fuel and your bosses time, but if you can take 10 minutes to clear your head, do it.
Is there anything a towing company can do for its employees to help improve moral?
Most operators just want to feel like they are respected and needed. Offering them to take a random 15 or 30 minute break at 2 in the afternoon is a nice gesture. Maybe even calling them in late one morning a month or letting them leave early. Time off is almost as good if not better than financial compensation in some cases. It helps the employee re-set and hopefully have a little better outlook on their job.
Is there a breaking point where an operator may realize towing isn’t for them?
This is a demanding job. When you start to think you are getting burned out you are most likely already burned out. It’s no longer safe for you to be doing your job on the side of a highway or in traffic if you are on edge or irritable or just dont care as much any more. Maybe it's just time for a break? Maybe a vacation or a job switch with in the company for a while. Lets face it, life's too short to work a job that you are burned out on. You are no longer doing yourself, your coworkers or employer any good. Find what makes you happy or challenges you and stay focused. Maybe you leave the industry for a bit but it seems with most tow operators they can say “just when I thought I was out, they sucked me back in.”
There’s a story about a guy that won the lottery. He promptly quit his job of 18 years as many people would. Shortly after he went to his local landscape supplier and ordered 20,000 tons of manure to be dropped off at his home. He had it all lined up to be dumped at the same time very early one morning. When they started dumping all the lights came on in the house and a man came running out yelling to stop. Turns out the house was actually his old bosses of 18 years. He was simply giving him back all the crap he had given him. Don’t be this guy. You may never win the lottery… and you will just be miserable for 18 years instead.
Do what you love, Love what you do- C’ya in the ditch