Thursday, March 3, 2016

News! Explanations! Changes!!


For the past couple of months, I have been extremely quiet here on the blog and over on the Book of Faces as well. Things here at Chateau Lesperance have been jumbled, chaotic and stressful. It all began at a yearly company safety meeting in 2014 with the company Jimmy was working for. Taylor Express is right here in Hope Mills, practically right across the street from where we live. Jimmy was happy in the job with the one caveat that he did not like being away from home and family. But we all know and understand the life of a truck driver, so he buckled down and worked ... for 4 years at a job he really didn't want to do.

In November of 2014, during the mandatory attendance annual company safety meeting, all the employees of Taylor Express were told the company had been sold. BUT!! Nothing was going to change least for a year. And that is true, even though Taylor was bought out by a HUGE company with thousands of employees, nothing changed. Especially not the things the loyal Taylor employees wanted ... better insurance at a reasonable price instead of paying almost $1,100 each month for employee and spouse for coverage that wasn't worth a damn. And don't even ask about coverage for employee and family! They also wanted a retirement plan. Yes, Taylor did offer a retirement plan, a savings plan with NO matching contributions from the company. It was all on the employee. Anything else cut into the projected profit margin. And there was no way in hell the company was going to give up any of that $50,000,000.00 profit each year.

Sometime about mid-summer, last year, Jimmy was on a layover in one of the truck stops and he struck up a conversation with a driver for another company. Seems he'd heard some good things about this company and he wanted to hear more from someone who actually drove the trucks, turned the miles and then collected the paycheck at the end of the week. I can't remember how long the conversation was, in the end when they parted company, they exchanged business cards and went their separate ways. When Jimmy came home the next trip, he handed me the card and asked me to tell him what I saw. I didn't have to look very closely, it gave the driver's name AND listed him as "Employee Owner". This new company is 100% EMPLOYEE OWNED!! And thanks to the driver Jimmy had met, the recruiter for this company sent Jimmy an email listing all their benefits, why he should come to work for them and even sent a tentative job offer.

We spent months talking about making a change, going to a new company, seeing what was out there, and what type of benefits any of them offered to the employees. We kept coming back to this one ... but still were hesitant to take the first step and call to see what they were all about.

You know how it gets when you are so dissatisfied with something you are doing? Your job sucks, you can't find any peace, you hate everything in your world??? Yeah, Jimmy was there. And getting more and more and more frustrated as the days and weeks went by. Finally the end of January, he had an epiphany ... along with quitting smoking, he picked up the phone, made the call and then went online and filled out an application for employment. And we again hemmed and hawed and wondered if it was the right decision, would things be any better? Yes, it's another driving job and he's still going to be away from home, at least, a week at a time. BUT!! The positives outweighed the negatives and we made the leap, with both feet, into the deep end!!!

Two-week notice is given, some monkey shines ensued and games are being played. It's time to go.

Goodbye, Taylor Express.

Hello, Big G Express!

Off we go to Shelbyville, TN for a two-day orientation. Nope, we are not required to move to TN, Jimmy will be bringing his big ass truck home with him when he has time off. This company has everything a driver could possibly want as an employee. Insurance, retirement, stock options, vacations, bonuses for mileage, safety, and fuel. They even have a policy that allows me to ride along with Jimmy anytime I decide I want to go! The insurance is one of the biggest selling points for Jimmy. We are now covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennesee and they have coverage for things I'd never even imagined up to this point. Did you know if you take the coverage for cancer, and are diagnosed with an internal cancer, you will be given a check upon that diagnosis for $4,000 to help cover your living costs? And then the daily coverage for cancer treatments is just beyond my wildest dreams.

Then there is the IRA and stock options and bonuses. Bonuses for being a safe driver! Bonuses for maintaining an average fuel mileage above 7.0 MPG. Bonuses for the number of miles driven per month. BONUSES!! Bonuses that Taylor Express would not even consider paying because they were afraid it would eat into that end of the year payout for the owners.

So, yeah, it's a driving job that still keeps Jimmy away from home. It's not ideal, it's not even close to being so. But it's a good job (so far) and we have very high hopes for this one. And the insurance! Jimmy told someone the other day he's going to have to drive 8,000 miles a week in order to pay for the insurance and still have a paycheck. He's joking ...I think. During orientation (I wasn't permitted to be there, just the employees in orientation) he took everything offered, we can drop things off as we figure them out, but wouldn't be able to add on any coverage until open enrollment in September. So, once he comes home and we both have the time and energy to go through the paperwork, we can together decide what we need or don't need.

Did we make a good choice? We think so. Is it the right choice? For us, it is the only choice. No, it's still not the ideal situation, yes, Jimmy is still working away from home. We'll cope, and make the best of every single minute he has at home with me and the Witchling and Tanya ... and hopefully, we'll be able to have more time to travel to see Mylia & Chey and Justin, Tiffany and the girls, and even up to Vermont to see his parents. I've also got a trip to Canada I'm working on making a reality.

Time, miles, and patience ...