Ok so now you've made it through your schooling, you have your CDL, you found the company you want to work for, and you've gotten hired. Congratulations! Your first job in your new career. You're going to be excited as hell at this point, and you should be. You worked hard at school, you spent the money, passed the tests, and here you are.... you've certainly earned it!
Now let's cover what you can expect from your training period. Mine, I'm happy to say, went very well. So here we go.
Once you get hired you will be paired up with an experienced driver and you will travel together as a team in the same truck for an average of about four to six weeks. If the trainer feels you are ready to handle your own truck he will return with you to the main terminal where you will be issued your own truck and you will be on your own from then on.
The personality and attitude of your trainer will mean everything! I mentioned earlier that you will sometimes come across these cocky, hardcore, authoritarian idiots that take themselves WAY too seriously.
If you see you have one of these types you can often times request a different trainer. But give him/her a week or so. He/she may have just been having a bad day when you two first met.
When you get hired on at a company, try to request a trainer that has a reputation for being tolerant, pleasant, and patient. Learning to drive is quite stressful, not to mention the other factors like time away from home and learning all of the rules from state to state. A patient, pleasant trainer will make your experience a thousand times more beneficial and enjoyable for you.
My trainer was absolutely awesome! He was a laid-back, intelligent, pleasant guy who clearly enjoyed life on the road and the chance to teach new drivers the ropes. We laughed a lot and talked all the time about everything from driving to our philosophies of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. It really went well.
He told me right away he only had two rules... one, if he tells me to do something while I'm driving please do it right away even if it doesn't make sense to me at the time. He explained that with his experience he may be able to spot something that I'm yet unaware of so just do what he asks right away and then we can talk about it all day afterwards. Made perfect sense to me.
The second rule... if you are driving while I am in the back sleeping and you drive off a cliff, DON'T scream and wake me up.... I don't want to know what's coming! I really got a kick out of that one. He had a great sense of humor and we had a great time.
I remember walking up to the truck, getting in the passenger side and introducing myself. I couldn't BELIEVE I had made it to this point and was actually getting ready to head out on the highway! We were in Atlanta, GA and I threw my duffel bag in the sleeper and asked him if he knew where we were going first. He said, “yap, we're starting with a short trip to Maryland.” A SHORT TRIP TO MARYLAND????
To me a short trip was to a gas station... in GEORGIA! Atlanta, even! But to a veteran driver a 500 or 600 mile trip is nothing more than a simple everyday thing. But to me it was the start of a whole new life....and what a life it has turned out to be!
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