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Getting nervous about orientation.

Topic 17646 | Page 1

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Mathiasinthe573's Comment
member avatar

Sorry if this a dead horse subject.

I've been accepted into the company CDL training program for TMC, Maverick, and Prime. Tomorrow I'll hear more from Roehl and Witte Bros on whether they'll be inviting me to orientation - I assume it's likely from the conversations I've had.

My struggle is this - as I'm been researching each of these companies further to prepare to make my final decision - the stories of people being sent home are a little unsettling. I have a job, granted I'm not quite making the bills right now, but it's better than being unemployed. So - my biggest fear is going to orientation - which some have likened to a two-three week job interview - and walking away with no job.

I'd like to think of myself as an intelligent, respectful, and teachable guy - physically - I'm 6'1", 180, and 8% body fat (down from 450lbs two year ago). My upper body strength could be better, but I'm not weak.

It seems like the ones that fail to make it through don't want to listen, don't understand what they're getting into, or just don't have the common sense to be trusted with an 80,000 pound vehicle.

But - as much as I tell myself this - my greatest fear is letting my wife and two kids down by coming home jobless from an orientation.

TMC is my first choice right now - Maverick has limited spots for regional Flatbed, so I'm waitlisted. I'm not particularly interested in Prime due to hometime. Witte Bros is local, pay is a little lower than the others, but the company seems really good to work for and has solid training and they are very close to home, but they do Reefer and I was leaning towards flatbed.

I'm rambling now - I guess I'm just curious on how many people in these orientations make it through to being solo drivers?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Mathiasinthe573's Comment
member avatar

To be fair and considerate - I want amend my previous statement to say 'Many of the folks that are sent home' is due to the reasons mentioned. But - there are other quite determined and respected members I've read posts from that have just had bad luck or frustrating circumstances.

Miss Rose's Comment
member avatar

Mathias,

First...down to 180 from 450! WOW!

I can't speak from the perspective of someone who has survived a potential trucking career orientation. So, I apologize for not being able to answer your question about people who make it through to solo driving.

But, I can tell you that we're all capable of more than we think. To avoid boring you and everyone else with "This is My Life" details, I'll just say that I had very good reason to never see myself at this age and weight and pushing myself through 40-hour Defensive Tactics course, baton, and OC spray training with the police department. The realization that I was able to perform alongside, and with some skills out-perform cadets half my age...was awesome. I had two toes broken and was sore as hell from head to toe for a week afterwards but, I did it!

Have you spoken to your wife about your concerns? Talk it through with her and decide on a Plan B if you can. And it doesn't really matter how many others moved on to solo. No need in judging yourself based on others. Judge yourself based on what you know you can do.

Think of of the time and dedication you were capable of in order to accomplish your substantial weight loss. I think if you go into orientation with a positive attitude about your capabilities, you'll do great.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Mathias observes:

It seems like the ones that fail to make it through don't want to listen, don't understand what they're getting into, or just don't have the common sense to be trusted with an 80,000 pound vehicle.

Simple as 1, 2, 3.

#1: If you are at orientation, you are filling out the hiring paperwork. It's up to you to make sure you don't lose the job! That's right, you have a job, don't screw up now! You listed the common things people do to lose a job at this point.

#2: People who get and keep that job rarely have time to get the good news posted. Trucking Truth members are the exception. The ones who lose out (see #1) have to whine, complain and blame their problems on someone else.

#3: If you come in with a mature, can-do and modest attitude, you'll listen and understand, stay realistic in your expectations, and have the common sense needed to do a great job for your company.

Miss Rose's Comment
member avatar

Simple as 1, 2, 3.

#1: If you are at orientation, you are filling out the hiring paperwork. It's up to you to make sure you don't lose the job! That's right, you have a job, don't screw up now! You listed the common things people do to lose a job at this point.

#2: People who get and keep that job rarely have time to get the good news posted. Trucking Truth members are the exception. The ones who lose out (see #1) have to whine, complain and blame their problems on someone else.

#3: If you come in with a mature, can-do and modest attitude, you'll listen and understand, stay realistic in your expectations, and have the common sense needed to do a great job for your company.

^^^^ This exactly

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

I had a big nervous fear about orientation too. I felt I had to do this right. My financial future was riding on it.

As Errol stated. If you show up to orientation you have a job. Only YOU can take that job away from yourself. It is true that it is 1 giant interview process. The things that you need to do:

A) DON'T LIE!! be honest and forth coming in your answers. Don't omit your past.

B) Pass the DOT physical. That means Drug free (except subscribed medicine from a doctor).

C) No Alcohol. Save it for home time ONLY!!! My company's policy is your are not allowed on their property (this includes their truck) for 24 hrs after your last drink. Obviously you can't go to the bar in the evening during orientation. Because 24hrs later means you are not there for the next day. Besides, with my company you are staying in their bunk house. Kinda hard to go get some sleep if you are not allowed on the property you are staying.

D) Do your very best. Listen to the instructors. Absorb what they tell you and do as you are instructed.

E) Right place, Right Time, Right Equipment. Be where you are supposed to be at the time you are supposed to be there with the right equipment to get the job done. Remember early is on time, on time is late!!!

F) Follow the rules. Even if the rules don't make sense. Example: TMCs rule of staying of the grass. They have sidewalks. The point of their rule is simple. If you are so undisciplined that you will take a shortcut across the grass, what else are you willing to take short cuts on? Load securement? Pre/Thru/Post Trip? Paperwork? Proper Route Planning? Think of their sidewalks as the interstate. The grass is all roads with no trucks allowed signs! You just simply can't go there.

Drive Safe and God Speed

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Farmerbob1's Comment
member avatar

You seem to have your head in the right place, and will probably do fine unless you have some serious skeletons in your past.

Two things that I'll mention, and explain why I am mentioning.

First, you have a family, will want some home time, AND will probably want it to be reasonably easy to schedule in a window of a couple days. With this in mind, try to get hired by a company with a yard or depot facility near your home that you can use to store your truck. This will mean that you can roll in either empty or loaded, and, if loaded, the company should be able to get another driver to finish a load for you. Stevens has no yard or depot near my house. Getting home on time has been an issue for me fairly regularly.

Second, remember that orientation and CDL schools are a stress test as well as a school. They will work you long hours and I swear that they intentionally do stupid things in order to see how you react to stupid things. You WILL see vast quantities of stupid on the road, and if you can't deal with it without flying off the handle, they don't want you driving. In some ways CDL schools and company orientation are a lot like military basic training. Better to break you in a classroom than have you snap when you are sitting in an 80,000 pound, quarter-million dollar truck with a half million dollar cargo.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Keep in mind the company wants you there. So say you bring the wrong paperwork...they will give you an opportunity to get it FedEx. If you have a medical condition they will allow you to call the doctor to fax 30 days worth over...or FedEx the records.

That type of thing. If it is something like you currently take a drug on their "bad list"... They might send you home so a doctor can change it and come back in 30 days once stable.

The point is that unless you have some dark spots on you background or DMV you won't be sent home without any recourse.

BTW....60% sent home from my class was due to the drug test. And they KNEW they were going g to take a urine test....so why bother if you know you are hot?

And the alcohol is a point. Two guys got sent home because they went drinking at Applebee's next door. If they are drinking at orientation what would they do on the road?

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Mathiasinthe573's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reassurance everyone - I appreciate it.

I'm ready for the challenge. As everyone has mentioned - I think the key will be to go in with a positive, can do attitudue, be willing to learn, and work hard. I've been honest with all the companies about any potential issues they may have and even brought up a couple things they didn't ask about, just to be sure about them.

Also - if it wasn't tough or they didn't take it seriously or have high standards - that wouldn't be the kind of company I'd want training me to be responsible for a 80,000 pound tractor. I chose my top companies for training and safety - so of course they'll be stricter.

Ready to get this journey started. I can do it. Thanks guys and gals.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Farmerbob1's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reassurance everyone - I appreciate it.

I'm ready for the challenge. As everyone has mentioned - I think the key will be to go in with a positive, can do attitudue, be willing to learn, and work hard. I've been honest with all the companies about any potential issues they may have and even brought up a couple things they didn't ask about, just to be sure about them.

Also - if it wasn't tough or they didn't take it seriously or have high standards - that wouldn't be the kind of company I'd want training me to be responsible for a 80,000 pound tractor. I chose my top companies for training and safety - so of course they'll be stricter.

Ready to get this journey started. I can do it. Thanks guys and gals.

My magic 8-ball says there are dancing bananas in your future!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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