Qualifications: Relevant experience, Positive attitude, Reliable transportation
I’m job-hunting, and as I scan the postings, I keep coming across these words:
Must have clean driving record, reliable transportation, and proof of insurance.
When I see the words “reliable transportation”—as when I see the words “exotic bird experience,” “passion for plumbing,” “ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound”—I usually move onto the next posting without much thought.
But the other day I got to thinking about this “reliable transportation” qualification, and I’ll be honest: I got a little worked up about it.
Is it fair to require job applicants to own a car?
Owning a car requires owning quite a bit of money.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. consumers spent an average of $8,220 each on their vehicles in 2007.
What if employers listed $8,220 in cash as a job qualification?
The ACLU would certainly raise a ruckus then, wouldn’t they?
The BLS estimates that car ownership costs in the U.S.—making up 17 percent of our annual household spending—are the second largest household expense, ahead of food, healthcare, and education.
I don’t think I should be expected to devote 17 percent of my annual expenditures to a possession I don’t want to possess.
I understand that some jobs involve going to several different sites during the course of the work day, but not everyone can afford a car, and not everyone wants a car. If my employer requires me to go some place other than the designated work space, shouldn’t they provide the means to get there?
You want a clean driving record? I haven’t been in an accident in 14 years, and I’ve never been cited for a single traffic violation. I even wear my glasses when I drive, even though, according to my last DMV eye exam, I’m not required to.
Give me a company car or a bus pass, and I’ll go wherever needed to get the job done.
I’ve also got a whole lot of other skills, experiences, and qualities that make me well-suited to the position.
Sometimes, I’m tempted to apply to the jobs anyway, and when they ask about “reliable transportation,” to respond, “My bike has never broken down on me once.”
Think I’d get the job?