Mentor Problems

Topic 19420 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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I guess I'll have to hang up my boots then

So... are you saying you're done?

That's the final straw?

You've barely even got your boots broke in yet!

C'mon, surely you can get yourself through a few weeks of temporary frustrating issues and reach your goal of being a solo driver. That is what you want isn't it - to be on your own, responsible for your own results?

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Well, I guess I'll have to hang up my boots then. I am one of those people who can't go back to sleep when awoken

Trucking takes an incredible amount of flexibility and tolerance and patience. It's rare that someone with rigid views or stringent requirements can tolerate the OTR lifestyle. It kind of sounds like this whole thing might be more than you had bargained for. If you're looking for a lifestyle of consistency, trucking will be a nightmare. You can't really make trucking conform to your preferences. It just isn't that type of job or lifestyle. You have to learn to work within the system, work with the schedules you're given, deal with the traffic and weather and breakdowns, and get the job done day in and day out no matter what it takes.

That's why the failure rate for new drivers is so high. Only a small percentage of people who make an attempt at this industry make it more than a few months. In fact, at company-sponsored programs fewer than half of the people they bring in even manage to get their CDL , and that's the easiest part of the whole journey.

And by the way, you can adapt to these things. Like the whole "I can't go back to sleep once I wake up". Well then you're not tired enough if that's the case! It's something you learn to do. Anyone can do it.

I always tell people that I "sleep like a trucker" because I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere and wake up anytime, anywhere and be at full speed in a matter of minutes. That's one of the things you really have to learn to do if you're going to perform at a high level out there. You have to be an opportunist. You make the most of every opportunity, whether that means grabbing a quick nap in the middle of the afternoon, throwing in a load of laundry in the middle of the night, or grabbing a quick sandwich while you're getting repairs done. You do what you have to do.

Hang in there and give it more time. Remember, this is the toughest time in your trucking career. Once you get to the one year mark you'll have ironed out most of the problems and you'll have adapted to the lifestyle. In the beginning it's really tough for most people. You don't want to quit during the hard part. At least wait until you've been out there long enough to get decent at the job before you decide if it's for you or not.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Patrick C.'s Comment
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Just remember, sleep is a crutch that is leaned on by the weak. Just kidding, sort of.

wtf-2.gifshocked.pngsmile.gif

Rainy D.'s Comment
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I understand not sleeping during training. I seriously don't know how I was awake most of the trainers drive shift then drove 550 miles per day. An occasional "hey check this out" as Brett is describing is one thing...but my trainer had me deal with all the customers, open the doors, pull the tandem pin, and do all the macros for her stops as well. All of our showers, laundry, eating was done during my sleep shift. So I totally understand it's gets to a safety point.

However, now I have a much more flexible schedule but Brett is exactly right. You might fall asleep for a couple hours getting loaded but have such a tight run you can't stop until delivered that night. Other days like yesterday I was so tired I stopped and slept for three hours then felt good so drove another 100 miles. When I shut down I fell asleep fairly quickly. Other times I can't.

Once solo you will be able to sleep much better. Every trucker runs his truck differently. When you get your truck you can do what you want as long as you get to the customer early and don't hit anything.

Hang in there.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Pianoman's Comment
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I don't know about the "don't wake me during sleeper berth time" thing. You're in training. If your trainer comes upon a situation that you need to be a part of, like dealing with a customer or getting repairs done or something, you have to be present and ready to learn. There's no such thing as a "do not disturb" sign in trucking.

What are the boundaries then? At what point is his trainer waking him up too much?

It's generally hard enough for new drivers to get used to driving long, irregular shifts, without the added difficulty of being woken up every so often by their trainer. I understand if the trainer has to be disturbed sometimes while in the sleeper--it's a right you give up to some extent when you decide to train someone--but a good trainer should be able to teach what needs to be taught without having to wake their student up while off duty/sleeper berth.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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What are the boundaries then? At what point is his trainer waking him up too much?

I don't know. Maybe you should ask a fireman, or a mom with a newborn, or a police officer, or anyone in the military, or anyone in the medical profession, or any business owners, or anyone with higher level managerial duties, or any of the members of a very large group of people all over the world who simply can not hang a "do not disturb" sign on their life anytime they feel like it and expect the world to shut up and leave them alone.

There are jobs for average people who can only tolerate average circumstances, and there are jobs for extraordinary people who are both willing and capable of being at their best even under extraordinary circumstances. You have to find a job that suits you, one you're capable of handling, one you can excel at.

If a person never wants to be woken up when they're asleep then in my opinion they're simply too fragile for this line of work. They either have to figure out how to step up their game and do what it takes to thrive in this industry or find a job that asks far less of them. That's the approach I take. I don't pretend just anyone can come along and do this, and I don't let anyone kid themselves either.

Pianoman's Comment
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If a person never wants to be woken up when they're asleep then in my opinion they're simply too fragile for this line of work.

I agree with what you're saying here. I've worked off duty and on the sleeper berth line as much as the next guy, and especially running reefer pretty much required interrupting my sleep time constantly.

My issue is that I don't think it's really necessary for trainers to be waking up their students on a regular basis while on their ten hour break. Sure, occasionally it may be necessary, but the overwhelming majority of the time, what needs to be taught can be taught while the student is on duty. My trainers almost never woke me up and I still got plenty of training.

There's already enough stuff we have to wake up for out here. Why make it even more difficult than it has to be by adding trainers to the list?

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh I agree. There's no reason to do it all the time, but I don't think it's reasonable for a trainee to expect that it will never happen, either. It's not really something you can put on a list of things you won't tolerate. There are preferences, and then there are lines you simply don't cross. Getting a nice, long uninterrupted night of sleep is almost anyone's preference, but it's not going to happen all the time, that's for sure.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Paul, one of the biggest things a trainer is looking for is how his trainee responds or reacts to the problematic things that will be happening to them once they're solo. Most Newbies don't have the slightest clue what it is they just got themselves into, and it's best for them to learn some hard realities while they are with someone who can help them adjust to this crazy lifestyle.

A trainer's reputation is on the line when they tell the suits in the office whether they think their trainee will be one of the chosen few who can survive their first year or not. It's best for the trainer to try that person a good bit while they're with them - it gives them a much better perspective on that person's potential for success.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Jm's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

What are the boundaries then? At what point is his trainer waking him up too much?

double-quotes-end.png

I don't know. Maybe you should ask a fireman, or a mom with a newborn, or a police officer, or anyone in the military, or anyone in the medical profession, or any business owners, or anyone with higher level managerial duties, or any of the members of a very large group of people all over the world who simply can not hang a "do not disturb" sign on their life anytime they feel like it and expect the world to shut up and leave them alone.

There are jobs for average people who can only tolerate average circumstances, and there are jobs for extraordinary people who are both willing and capable of being at their best even under extraordinary circumstances. You have to find a job that suits you, one you're capable of handling, one you can excel at.

If a person never wants to be woken up when they're asleep then in my opinion they're simply too fragile for this line of work. They either have to figure out how to step up their game and do what it takes to thrive in this industry or find a job that asks far less of them. That's the approach I take. I don't pretend just anyone can come along and do this, and I don't let anyone kid themselves either.

I see what you are saying. I use to be an Emergency Medical Technician doing nights back when I was younger. I have seen some really horrific things from mangled people and missing faces. I loved that job, but I couldn't deal with lifting 350+ lb people anymore because it was literally backbreaking. I saw newbies leave the profession after witnessing their first death. That was a really tough job and we were on call. I just need my 6 hours of undisturbed sleep. It is basically the only reason I did not go into medical school. I was upfront with myself about how I am just one of those people who can't fully functional without sleep. I have tried to change/work with my sleep patterns, but I suppose it is in my genes. I did speak with my driver leader and he said I shouldn't have a problem with having time to sleep as long as I manage my time wisely. He did mention there will be days, and I am cool with that. However, I am not cool with day-after-day sleep deprivation.

I did go back and read a prior reply. I meant to say "No, I am definitely NOT anti-social..."

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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