This year’s Waste Management National Career Day on May 4 is shaping up to be a huge hiring event across North America. Among the many new and diverse recruits the company is prepared to welcome, a spotlight is being placed on female technicians and drivers.
National Career Day promises to highlight opportunities for female candidates who may have overlooked Waste Management careers in the past. Ads featuring women in front-line roles have been placed online. Female voices are being used to record radio spots. And Waste Management has partnered with Women in Trucking, a third-party organization, to craft a campaign message that will be sent to its membership of female drivers.
Yet even ahead of the big event, female drivers at Waste Management are doing stellar work.
Devin Tyler is a prime example of someone who is thriving at her job and inspiring her coworkers in Lewisville, Texas.
Deciding early on that she wanted the freedom of a job that would allow her to be mobile and spend time outdoors, Devin joined The American Red Cross as a driver and phlebotomist. She then moved on to FedEx, where she was a part-time driver seeking full-time employment.
After hearing of opportunities with Waste Management and doing some initial research, she felt the company might have a place for her, though she did feel some initial hesitation. She thought of the driver position as it has traditionally been seen ꟷ more of a man’s job ꟷ but any concerns were assuaged during her interview. The hiring manager reassured her that anyone can be successful in the role, and that growth opportunities within the company are plentiful. Deciding that the job, the benefits and the company were right for her, Devin signed on.
Now, nearly two years into her Waste Management career, Devin has already enjoyed her first promotion. After her first year as a residential driver, Devin became a commercial driver, a position that allows her even greater independence and the chance to strengthen her professional driver skills. Still, her Waste Management journey seems to be just beginning.
“There’s no limit to what you can do within the company. I have the mindset that there are no barriers that I can’t cross, ” Devin said.
The favorite part of Devin’s job ꟷ aside from the happy kids who greet her with smiles ꟷ is the satisfaction that comes from knowing she’s making a difference.
“What we do is so underrated and it’s unfortunate that people don’t realize how valuable of a service we’re providing, ” she said. “I take pride in my work and will continue to do my job with diligence.”
Fresh challenges and the people she meets on the job are what keep Devin engaged. Still, for all the great on-the-job experiences she’s had, she believes that many people would still be surprised to know about some of the opportunities at Waste Management, especially driving careers for women.
Karen Anderson, meanwhile, is a veteran driver who only needed the right company to come along. After waitressing and other odd jobs, Karen obtained her commercial driver’s license and began long-distance truck driving ten years ago. When she found that the job’s schedule wasn’t conducive to raising five children as a single mom, Karen began to explore other options in Phoenix, Arizona. Doing some temp work at the Waste Management Phoenix Open provided the answer she was seeking. Karen jumped at the opportunity to join the company full-time seven years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
“Driving a front-load truck is considered a man’s world, ” Karen said. “You don’t see women doing it.”
The work is both physically and mentally challenging. When servicing businesses, she spends twelve hours a day solo in her truck, frequently pulling out wheeled dumpsters weighing hundreds of pounds before using the arms of the truck to grasp and lift them.
With one of her children being hearing impaired, and having spent time in a Phoenix shelter before coming to Waste Management, Karen can certainly be proud of the hard work that has led to her being recognized as a great driver.
She has earned the respect of her colleagues and customers alike, but like Devin, Karen says some of those customers still react with surprise at seeing a woman step out from behind the wheel of the big truck.
Currently, women account for two percent of Waste Management’s driver and technician populations. With outstanding examples like Devin and Karen leading the way, and National Career Day poised to get the recruiting word out, we can all look forward to seeing the number grow and the field of drivers and techs become increasingly diverse.