Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

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Victor C. II's Comment
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I thank you in advance for that warning that way I don't become a terminal rat! Thanks so much! Keep em' coming!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Kat H.'s Comment
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Thanks for the info! as always I am aware that sometimes- or rather make that most times you have to wade past the rats to get to your goal. I expect to "muck" through!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Sorry I'm so late responding to these....

Thanks G-Town, Gladhand, and 6 String!

In a performance based career, if a driver focuses on THEIR success, and does their best to succeed for themselves, they will do well, and the company will in turn, do well.

∆_Danielsahn_∆, I don't know how it could be put any more clearly than that. It's a concept most people coming into trucking don't seem to understand somehow. I think part of it stems from most of us working hourly jobs most of our lives where the boss is always trying to get more out of you for the same amount of money and workers often feel like they're being asked to do too much for that wage level. But in trucking, the harder you work the more you make and the more your company makes. Everyone wins when those wheels keep turning and the deliveries get made.

So I think a lot of people are used to being on the defensive against their employer to some degree. They're worried about being taken advantage of. But if you're being paid by the mile there's no one being taken advantage of. You're going to make exactly what you've earned. There's no need for the skepticism.

I might be going on a ride along with him, soon, so I will get to experience the company that I once bashed. Time to eat some humble pie.

Hey, that's what learning is all about, right? It's humbling. I'm just now getting started in the film/photography thing and I'm constantly making all kinds of rookie blunders. Some of them are in fact pretty embarrassing. But you push through it, you keep an open mind and a great attitude, and you keep learning. Eventually it will all come together.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Victor C. II's Comment
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I think you've oversimplified things. You tie success to performance, but I'm sure there are plenty of skilled truckers that, at one point, worked hard, that are now complaining at the terminals. You imply that the complainers can't possibly be productive workers, which also isn't true. I'm a huge complainer everywhere I've worked, but I've always become the most productive worker. That doesn't stop me from quitting when I can't tolerate it anymore, but being a "yes" man just enables exploitation...

and big business WILL exploit you. So yeah, you'll definitely be more likely to be successful as a sycophant, but that makes you a pathetic dog.

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What's the point in complaining other than making you sound like a spoiled 2 year old. There are constant complainers where iWork now and while they may be good solid hands I try ti,put them,in **** jobs just because they complain. I'm not a yes man, but I also don't complain either.

My question though is, when,i get to school if I see a student getting sucked into the terminal rat mode of thinking can he or she be pulled back from the dark side before its too late?

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A shared consensus of something being wrong, combined with acting on it in some pragmatic manner, is a means of positive change. Further, it helps to get it off your chest. People that just put up with anything and don't open their mouths enable the greatest evils in this world. They might be better off because of it, but they're a part of the problem.

I would be more understanding, if it was a dispatcher or load planner complaining all the time every time they call you or message you, and then you complain about them; but if your always complaining about your job to them, you put them in a bad mood which in turn they will give you the crappier loads because your always complaining. That is what I have run into here at my hourly job, they are just a bunch of complainers when things don't go THEIR way. Irritates the life out of me.

2nd, if you are not opened minded to their ideas and wishes how do YOU expect to be blessed with good loads and money when you are not willing to put the time and EFFORT in to it.

Thus it would make you the driver the problem not the company, not the dispatch, not the load planners. Just you.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Ok, so Ryan:

You tie success to performance

The entire industry does. It's a performance-based industry in every way. If you don't perform, you won't succeed. Not as a company, not as a driver.

I'm sure there are plenty of skilled truckers that, at one point, worked hard, that are now complaining at the terminals

So is that a good thing? I'm not sure what you're saying. I don't understand the point of that to be honest.

You imply that the complainers can't possibly be productive workers

Actually I don't think I implied that at all. I certainly didn't mean to. I've never even had that thought. But the people I'm referring to in this podcast are not normally productive workers. That's why they're always sitting around truck stops and terminals. Even if they wanted to work hard, which most of them certainly don't, they don't perform at a top tier level so they're not going to get the miles that the top tier drivers get anyhow.

and big business WILL exploit you

...and some will invest in you. They'll pony up the cash, equipment, and personnel it takes to get you trained and get your new career underway. Then they'll hire you once you've completed their training. All you have to do is work hard, have a great attitude, and not screw it up for yourself. It never ceases to amaze me what a small percentage of people seem to be able to manage it, though.

If you go into it thinking the company is trying to exploit you then you're almost certainly doomed to fail for all the reasons I explained in the podcast. So you can choose to be cynical toward your new company or you can choose to be ambitious toward your new career. There are plenty of people on either side of that fence and the results they get are strikingly different.

being a "yes" man just enables exploitation...

So what does being a "no" man enable then? And that's not a smart*ss question. I really would like to know where you think you're going to get by being hardheaded and difficult and cynical.

So yeah, you'll definitely be more likely to be successful as a sycophant (a kiss *ss), but that makes you a pathetic dog

But being a hardheaded failure instead would make you what, an admirable nobleman? And again, that's not a smartass question. But you keep making these one sided statements about how horrible it is to be this or that, but you never explain what someone should be instead or where they'll get by being that way. You're complaining and criticizing, but you're not offering alternative solutions of any sort. People need a strategy they can execute on, not just a list of complaints or a list of things you shouldn't be.

Now interestingly enough, someone apparently signed in under your name or you took some strong meds and posted this:

A shared consensus of something being wrong, combined with acting on it in some pragmatic manner, is a means of positive change.

Who said that? That certainly wasn't the same person who posted all that previous stuff, unless our friend Bolt had an influence on you:

What's the point in complaining other than making you sound like a spoiled 2 year old?

See, it's one thing to complain and criticize. Any knucklehead can do that, and they do it quite frequently. It's quite another to raise a valid concern and then start a professional conversation with the right people by offering some better alternatives.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I always tell new drivers to listen to the person who is putting money in your pocket before someone who isnt. And then find out what works for them and work with the company before going off the handle.

My company and I work together through continuous communication so that we get the job done. Some things I won't do and some places I won't go and we've all sat down and found a solution that benefits everyone.

Ask questions, voice your concerns and work with you dispatch.

Fire Marshal Bill, that was stellar. Again, the idea that workers and management are on the same team seems foreign to a lot of people, probably because of working hourly jobs for employers that are constantly trying to squeeze more work out of you for the same wage. So there's this constant tug of war going on between management and the workforce. But being paid by the mile means everyone truly is on the same team and everyone succeeds or fails together.

I have ba**s when it comes to refuting BS,...imagine that? If you are so inclined and have experience contrary to the dribble they are spreading, call these types on their malarkey, they typically retreat and you are left with at least one or two drivers (many times newbies) with more of an open mind and an improved BS detector.

G-Town, that's very interesting because it speaks to the idea that most people really do want to learn how to make their way in this industry when they're new, but they're being misled by people who are finding little success at it. But when you're new and an experienced driver gives you advice you would expect it to be helpful. With terminal rats the advice and opinions often do far more harm than good.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dan N.'s Comment
member avatar

This is really good stuff Brett. Proven Rat Repellent,..."THE TRUTH".

I've picked-off many conversations going off the rails at my DC's driver lounge. I interject every time with; "Where did you hear that?" Like a sputtering prop-plane running out of fuel,...the "cheerleader" for the topic is quickly disarmed.

I have ba**s when it comes to refuting BS,...imagine that? If you are so inclined and have experience contrary to the dribble they are spreading, call these types on their malarkey, they typically retreat and you are left with at least one or two drivers (many times newbies) with more of an open mind and an improved BS detector.

A lot of truck drivers like to gossip and complain. It's got nothing to do with how successful they are or will become. It's just human nature. They complain about customers, dispatch, load planners, equipment, the weather, their wives,.... and everything else under the sun. There are guys at my company who have been there over 30 years - Top-tier, cream of the crop, decorated and highly paid drivers.... and if you encounter them in the lounge, guess what? They're moaning and groaning about something, most likely. Big deal! If your desire to succeed is so fragile that you can't handle being around some guys b.s.'ing, blowin' off some steam, or whatever, then you don't belong in this industry.

And. btw, gtown, if you walked in the lounge where I now work, (or any other place i've worked) and started that kind of confrontational, tough-guy stuff, you would be a driver with few if any friends among the drivers there.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
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I have ba**s when it comes to refuting BS,...imagine that? If you are so inclined and have experience contrary to the dribble they are spreading, call these types on their malarkey, they typically retreat and you are left with at least one or two drivers (many times newbies) with more of an open mind and an improved BS detector.

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Brett addresses the above comment

G-Town, that's very interesting because it speaks to the idea that most people really do want to learn how to make their way in this industry when they're new, but they're being misled by people who are finding little success at it. But when you're new and an experienced driver gives you advice you would expect it to be helpful. With terminal rats the advice and opinions often do far more harm than good.

Doesn't it though...

I pick my spots...can usually tell when someone is preying on the wide-eyed nature of a newbie. I do know of two cases where I think my intervention helped a couple of confused drivers. The one topic had to do with the need for pre-trip inspections, the other about the necessity of weighing the truck. I tend to get rather passionate about both of those subjects, with a ton of evidence supporting the need. Funny thing, many times the so called experienced drivers are only ahead of the newbies by a few months.

Thanks for investing the time to produce the podcasts. I think they are making a positive impact. Nice piano intro...I know it's you playing, which makes it that much cooler.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

A lot of truck drivers like to gossip and complain. It's got nothing to do with how successful they are or will become. It's just human nature. They complain about customers, dispatch, load planners, equipment, the weather, their wives,.... and everything else under the sun. There are guys at my company who have been there over 30 years - Top-tier, cream of the crop, decorated and highly paid drivers.... and if you encounter them in the lounge, guess what? They're moaning and groaning about something, most likely. Big deal! If your desire to succeed is so fragile that you can't handle being around some guys b.s.'ing, blowin' off some steam, or whatever, then you don't belong in this industry.

Well you completely missed the entire point. Did you even listen to the podcast?

First of all, I never once said that a person couldn't be successful if they complain. What I said was that a rookie is going to be misled if they listen to these terminal rats complaining constantly about their company and the industry. They're going to think they're working for the wrong company or they've made the wrong career choice.

As a rookie coming into this industry you're going to face an endless barrage of difficult challenges including erratic sleep patterns, highly stressful life or death circumstances, separation from your home and family, an overwhelming amount of laws and procedures to learn, and of course the nightmare of learning how to drive a big rig in bad weather, heavy city traffic, and very tight backing situations, all with a very tight schedule and very long days.

A new recruit, if they want the very best chance at surviving their first year in this business and going on to be a happy and successful driver, needs to be highly motivated, optimistic, and committed to their new career. They need to believe in themselves, believe in the path they've chosen, believe in the company they work for, and dedicate themselves to learning their trade.

So when they come across experienced drivers, who they look to for guidance and encouragement, and these drivers do nothing but cry and complain continuously about everything under the sun it completely rattles their cage and shakes their entire foundation. Now they're seriously doubting themselves and everything about their already perilous position in a big way. They no longer think they're with the right company. They no longer believe their hard work will be rewarded. They no longer believe that trucking was the right choice in the first place. They no longer believe that the staff at their company is really part of the same team.

Instead the new driver goes on high alert and they become cynical. They think they're being misled or taken advantage of. They think the company is going to use them and toss them aside. They think anything that happens which they don't fully understand must have some sort of an evil motivation behind it.

Now, instead of enthusiastically pursuing their new career they're ready to throw it all in the trash and head home to look for a better career. Instead of developing great relationships with dispatch and the rest of the office staff they now view them as the enemy and no longer care about getting along with people. Instead of showing the commitment to their company and a willingness to prove that they deserve the best miles and the best treatment they instead stop putting in those great efforts and they no longer do it with a great attitude because they feel it's not going to lead to anything good.

Now what situation is this new driver in? Now he's underperforming, he's not getting along with the staff, he's showing a terrible attitude, and he's miserable and stressed out all the time. He's no longer interested in working for the company or pursuing this career, and his company no longer believes that he's going to turn out to be a hard working, safe, reliable professional and the entire situation unravels. Before you know it this once optimistic, motivated, and dedicated new driver with a great attitude is now sitting at home without a new job, without a new career, and completely disillusioned with trucking in general. Many times these people will simply become convinced that trucking is a lousy career and toss it aside permanently.

If your desire to succeed is so fragile that you can't handle being around some guys b.s.'ing, blowin' off some steam, or whatever, then you don't belong in this industry.

So as you can (hopefully) now see, this issue has nothing to do with being able to handle being around a complainer. This has to do with a rookie driver trying to find the proper guidance and the encouragement he or she needs from those with more experience so they can be successful in this incredibly difficult and stressful new career. If they get nothing but misguided horror stories, conspiracy theories, and cry babying it's going to seriously derail their chances of success.

So the message I'm trying to get across to new drivers is that there are a ton of people in this industry that do nothing but cry and complain constantly. Ignore them. Instead, pursue the guidance and encouragement of experienced drivers who love what they do and have figured out how to be happy and successful out there.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Is there a full moon today?

Dan wrote:

And. btw, gtown, if you walked in the lounge where I now work, (or any other place i've worked) and started that kind of confrontational, tough-guy stuff, you would be a driver with few if any friends among the drivers there.

Tough-Guy stuff? LOL. You mean like your above confrontational response? You missed the point...totally missed the point.

An btw there "Dan", you know absolutely nothing about me. You joined one hour ago and made this your 1st or 2nd post... I've helped more people than you'll ever know.

Let's get something straight, I never said or implied I was "confrontational" or acted like a "tough-guy" in these situations...I know better. You lead by example, not by intimidation. If I see something wrong with how a driver is incorrectly advising a new driver, especially if it compromises safety, I am not shy and will interject what I know to be the truth...take it or leave it. Never has any of these infrequent encounters escalated into a heated argument (like this probably will). As an experienced hand (I think you are, are you?), you mean to say you would just allow someone to tell a rookie it's "okay" if you leave the DC without scaling if you are pressed for time? Or that it's a waste of time? Or the weigh on the BOL is accurate? Any of that's okay with you? Read the entire thread before you cyber-blast someone...

If walking up to a conversation like that and offering reasons why said approach is ill-advised or the information is false makes me a tough-guy, guilty as charged. If it limits my capacity to make friends at the terminal , don't really care. Hasn't happened yet, and I don't expect it to.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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