Work & Life: Running on Fumes in North Dakota - Life as a Female Trucker


Life as a female trucker…

Jonnie Cassens, a 38-year-old truck driver who is the subject of this Op-Doc video, offers a different perspective. Unable to find decent work on the West Coast, she moved to North Dakota carrying unpaid hospital bills, student loans and a commercial driver’s license. It was easy for her to get a job in the oil industry, as a contract “hotshot” truck driver — basically a round-the-clock special-delivery driver. When a rig or a pump jack breaks down, a hotshot is called to rush a new part out to a site, often in very remote areas. Jonnie calls it “U.P.S. on steroids.”

North Dakota Oil Boom…

Since around 2006, North Dakota’s oil boom has been a beacon for recession-ravaged Americans. The oil towns in the western part of the state are a land of possibility and opportunity, a “Kuwait on the prairie,” where the American Dream is alive and well in the rural heartland. Or at least that’s the sales pitch that has lured thousands of job seekers.

The Work is Steady bu Agonizing…

The work is steady, but her life has been agonizing. The pay can be lower than expected (her employer says she earned $34,000 last year) and the cost of living remarkably high (a tight housing market has, in some cases,inflated rents to Manhattan levels). Her loneliness is magnified by a desolate landscape that’s dominated by men.

Archive Reprint: The Healthcare Argument will not end today!

In March of 2010 I wrote an opinion piece regarding the differences between the politics of business and the politics of healthcare. With the recent Supreme Court Hearings coming to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to re-post this to see how true it still may be. Enjoy!


Doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what economic status you fall under; the Health care argument is a topic that none of us can ignore. Today, a historic vote is about to take place. Will it end with this vote? Does any piece of legislation ever end with one vote, of course not!

political cartoon slow it down on health care reform in the united states picture Archive Reprint: The Healthcare Argument will not end today!

No one is an expert. Guess what, if you are a person, politician…a republican, democrat, independent or even Regina M. Benjamin… you are not an expert on Health care. You may have more practice and information than others but you are not an expert. I say this because the basics of health care in this country, the business of it, and the policies that are amended change. This machine continues to evolve. Your opinion and fact, while true at the moment, could be obsolete within 6 months.

The Problem with Health Care & Politics:

Obama+Health+Plan Archive Reprint: The Healthcare Argument will not end today!
One Argument Against

The fundamental problem with politics is that people are behind it. We as humans have differences in philosophy, understanding and information. Those factors are then framed within a silo of our own opinions. We then use those opinions to argue, push or influence what we believe to be right.

“The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself
is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world”

The thing about an opinion is that everyone has one, which is why politicians in the house, the senate, congress and the executive branch will not be able to come up with one plan, one approach, one bill that will solve everything. Should that stop us from gaining progress to fix the system?

The Problem with Business & Politics:

The fundamentals of business do not at all coincide with the thoughts and approaches of “Health Care (caring for a person) & Politics.” The politics of business is to make the business money. Yes we hope that a business will have what we all believe are morals. We hope that the business will do what is in the best interest of the customers, employees, clients and patients. However we must not ignore that if the business behind the machine that is providing Health care does not make money then they can no longer provide care.

Cost versus Consequences: The estimated cost to either fix or overhaul the system is close to 1 trillion dollars. I am not an expert but I believe that if any decision is to be made, then you first have to know the facts that are presented (most recent versions I found):

Health care Bill (Summary) and Health care Bill (Full Version)

While the cost to take care of things now may be large, how much will it be if we don’t? In August of last year CBS News had a report of How Much Health Care Reform will cost. Here is one Doctor’s opinion of why Health care Reform Needs to Pass Now. Whether you agree with it or not, don’t just have an opinion (they are a nickel a dozen) have an opinion based off valid information (yeah, that’s easy huh).

Synopsis – Take a stance:

I have referenced to many aspects of the argument. The thing that matters to me the most is that we, our representatives (whether you agree that they represent you or not) and business take a stance. No more waiting, no more political maneuvering. Any politician that is fearful of losing their job based on a vote, probably should have never had the job in the first place. Regardless, do what you feel is best. Not for politics, not for your employer, but what you feel deep down in your gut should be done.

What are your heartfelt opinions? Have you even given any thought to it?

Stay informed - more thoughts on the topic:

Healthcare – US Bureau of Labor Statistics

HR Bloggers Silence on Health Care Reform” by Krista Ogburn Francis

Death, Health care, and the employer albatross” by Mark Stelzner

The Vote on Healthcare and the Future of Work” by Sharlyn Lauby

Lessons from Health Care: The Semantics of Power” by Jason Seiden

Healthcare Reform Blog” by Alan Katz

The Healthcare Blog

Putting Taxes and Compensation in Perspective

In honor of Valentines Day, let’s talk about money!!! Because I know you are spending some ;o)

In 1913 the United States Constitution put into place the very first nationwide income tax. This was the year of the first 1040. It was implemented to those who made at least $3000 a year. Given the fact that the average salary of the American worker was $800,  equal to $18,176.89 today, compensation and taxes have changed over the years with layers being added.

The following short video is an interesting perspective into the history of where we were and where we are in terms of occupations, taxes and salary.

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video

The case for eliminating the Penny

Have any of you often found a number of pennies in your pocket and nothing to do or spend it on. I have as well. While a penny had a lot of use back in the 1960′s and previous, they do not have a as strong of a benefical monitary value today.

As I wrote in my Thanksgiving rant on Black Friday, Hourly Wage and the Decline of Thanksgiving, I am all for inreasing the margin between opportunity costs and huge waste on our time and productivity in life and work.

Now I know you may have seen this already. Dan Pink beat me to the punch when he posted his thoughts in December of 2011. But I dare to bring you it again, an interesting argument for removing the penny from our daily lives. Except not me… I could use all the pennies you can spare!


    Enter your e-mail. Get latest from ReThinkHR directly to your inbox:

    Delivered by FeedBurner
  • Benjamin on Twitter

  • Copyright © 2009-2013 ReThinkHR.org - All rights reserved
    iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress
    AWSOM Powered