Employer Diligence Lesson: Users are Liars

Short important lesson on starting your own recycling company.

We have 36 employees.  We started with one truck driver / CEO / Accountant (me).  At the beginning, 0% of our workforce was on drugs. Then, along the way, we rode through a period when the Vermont unemployment rate was below 4%, and we were still growing and not a high-paying company.

A certain number of unemployed people are toxic.  Sorry, that's not heartless.  It's just a given. Drug users tend to get fired and come looking for work elsewhere.  If you are soft and "close one eye", they will wind up destroying your company and taking the other eight or ten jobs with them.

We are now at the point where we have "grown ups" in every department, people who don't have a monkey on their backs and who care about riff-raff getting into the place.  Recycling and scrap businesses are still seen as a low barrier to entry, and we have to be wary.

But it all boils down to this:  Not all liars are users, but virtually all users are liars.  The more you become good at lying, the more pathological you become at it.  I tried to stay friends with the drug crowd who were my friends after high school.  But the temperature of the lying was rising.

I'm not saying that all drug users are sociopaths.  But if we have a no drugs policy, and you are on drugs, you should not be applying here.  You'd either be wasting both our times or you'd be lying.

And lying is really no good to any teamwork.   We are very able to see good in people, to see people for what they can do and not just for what they cannot do.  But pounding square pegs into round holes is a waste of time and resources.  Everyone may have once owned e-waste, and for that reason everyone is a little bit qualified from the start to work at my company.  Our first "negative sort" for employees is drugs.

I was just at a Workforce Development meeting at the local high school, and my message was that they cannot cure all character problems, only some of them.  That if they set their goal at "finding a place for everyone" for zero unemployment, if you will, then they will become a source of toxics, and the students who deserve a chance will be tainted.

I cannot cure drug addiction in Addison County, Vermont.  I can only make my place of business less attractive, and more of a pain in the ass than the next one down the road.  Recycling companies tend to be more attractive than other companies for Users to apply to, for a number of reasons... and we have to compensate for that.   I want a reputation as a boss who will call the cops, who will search your car, who will be paranoid and edgy about drug use.  I can only be the guy you are less likely to work for.   New recycling companies, get your antibodies on.

Everyone who works for the company must be willing to get a CDL and drive truck.  You may not have a CDL license, but you must indicate your willingness to get one to be hired.  And CDL drivers have mandatory federal piss tests.  Whaddya know.

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