Heading To Dallas For Orientation

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Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Howdy y'all (practicing my 'Texas speak' ) 😜

So; it's finally here. I head out at 0 dark 30 for the airport to fly to Dallas for indoctination...no...brainwashing...no..... Orientation with Stevens.

Anybody interested in a blow by blow account or a summary of my experiences ? Any potential Stevens newbies lurking in the background, that might wanna know what goes on?

Either way, let me know? 😜

But, as those of you that have suffered through my recent posts are already aware; I tend to ramble on a bit and possibly even get a bit semi-philosophical at times!

That's possibly the understatement of the year! it's the English coming out in me...its what we do - national characteristic and all that; don't you know?🇬🇧

So consider yourself warned.

Truth is; I'll probably do it anyway.... it's what I do!

Now then, back to business... must finish packing....only need to find my 'big girl panties'....errm 'big boy pants' .... yeah, that's it!

Time to sally forth, summon some 'intestinal fortitude' and 'git 'er done!!'

I'm excited; can ya tell? 😀

So, ta-ta for now (as we say over there).

With apologies to the Royal Air Force and NASA...

Per ardua ad astra!🚀

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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At the gate and ready to fly!

let's get this show on the road 👍

Nervous, excited, anxious....emotions all over the place.....but ready to get on with it!

TTFN

Simon

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Well....

First day over..

Interesting, monotonous, frustrating, pleasing, well organised and chaotic simultaneously!

Frenetically paced at times; glacially slow at others.

This is about all I have time for at the moment.... 03:30 is coming quickly around the corner 😜

Forgive me but; I will reserve judgement upon the rest of the experience until I have a little time to ponder the overall scheme of things a little more and can therefore be more objective.

To those that may be thinking of attending at a future date - much more detail to come - when I am a little less tired. I promise! 👍

Just a quick comment on the one consistent thing that I have noted...

The camaraderie that I saw at school appears to have carried over... Once again, a disparate group of folks, most of whom were total strangers yesterday, appears to be coalescing into a collective of friendliness and encouragement for each other. Most pleasing.

So; with apologies to The Bard:

"To sleep.....To sleep perchance to dream...."

For tomorrow it is;

"Once more unto the breach dear friends...once more!"

Nighty night 😜🇬🇧

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
RealDiehl's Comment
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I hope you're enjoying yourself and adjusting well to the new routine. Your posts are very entertaining and informative. I'm looking forward to reading more. I like your style...

That's possibly the understatement of the year! it's the English coming out in me...its what we do - national characteristic and all that; don't you know?

Just remember to drive on the right side of the road...Sorry for that tired old joke. I couldn't come up with anything more witty than that. It's the American in me, it's what we do - no imagination and all that

smile.gif

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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thank-you.gifrofl-2.gif

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Well...what to say?

I have the company hat...the ID badge....my Driver ID number and payroll details....my fuel card......access to my online portal.... a nice certificate.....been repaid for my airline travel and hazmat background check costs.... In short, i did it! So; with the exception of a few minor details, I'm done......

The minor details being: about eleventy-million pages of 'homework' to study...approximately 3 million training videos to watch; each with it's own written test to be taken ......passing grade needed for each test - 100%!! All to be completed whilst accumulating 240 hours of actual logged driving with a trainer ....said 240 hours have 4 major geographic areas that must be covered and some mountain passes that must be negotiated and signed off Lol

( 'Poetic licence' and a little hyperbole may be in evidence here.....but I kid you not; I may have reached the top of the foothills, but there is still a virtual mountain to climb!)

Once that is completed and once my Trainer Driver can be convinced to sign over the rights to his first born child to say that I am fit to go solo; then I will be done.......

Well....... Almost! lol

At that time; I have to return for 'Grad class'.....3 more days here at the Dallas headquarters....more classes.... some more yard driving exercises...a few more training videos and the final road tests....

Then; and only then; will I actually be done! At that point, I should receive the keys to a nice shiny black tractor and be let off the leash!

If I had to select one word to describe the training here, it would have to be, "thorough".

Obviously; it is impossible for any organisation, no matter how large, to cover every permutation and combination of events that may be encountered 'on the road'. But goodness gracious me; I believe they are trying their very best to do so! lol

Given my, admittedly limited, background and knowledge of the industry here; my belief is that this is actually a good thing. At the risk of sounding a bit presumptuous and possibly pompous; my opinion is that the single best thing about the large volume of material and the associated workload from having to study and test on it, whilst simultaneously operating in the real world, is that it has vastly dampened the level of overconfidence exhibited by many of the people attending training this week. The level 'bravado and swagger' on display Sunday was notably diminished by the end of the process! Please note that I include myself in this assessment. Whilst I may not be the type to openly strut about with my chest sticking out, I was 'quietly confident' of ultimately success, And; to be completely honest, I still am. BUT, and it's a big BUT....I have a renewed and refreshed level of awareness of the challenges to come! As I mentioned; I truly believe this to be a good thing!!

So now then; back to the subject at hand (finally lol).

For those of you contemplating this industry and especially those that are contemplating Stevens: What was 'Orientation' like? What did it consist of? Was it fun? Would I recommend it?

Allow me a few minutes to grab a coffee and I'll do my best to answer these questions. Also; if anybody reads this in the time that I'm making said coffee and would like an answer to a specific question; let me know. I'll do my best to answer those too.

Back in a bit.

Cheers,

Simon

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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Waiting....

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Waiting....

Well guys....first of all apologies. That coffee break turned out a bit longer than planned! Partly this was because I realised that I wanted a little more time to consider my overall impressions and how best to state them. But the truth is that when I returned to start writing again, I assumed my position laying on the bed in the hotel, with my tablet in front of me (as I'm doing now) and I fell asleep!! lol

And yes, my coffee was cold when I awoke about 3 hours later!

So; to the business at hand. To answer the 4 basic questions that I posed above:-

Q. What was orientation like?........ Ans. Busy

Q. What did it consist of?........ 4 days of unpaid orientation prior to being actually 'hired' and placed on the payroll. This was comprised of:

Lots of classroom time with numerous presenters/trainers and a multitude of videos. (36 hours total). Plus; Approximately 15 hours of yard time doing various maneuvers and a short road test.

Q. Was it fun?......... In a weird way; yes.

Q. Would I recommend it?......... In short; yes.

G'night all,

Simon

P.S. Y'all don't seriously think that this 'short' post is it do ya? Surely you know me better than that by now?

LOL

More to come in a little bit...... and not a couple of days this time; promise!

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Hi guys.

Well that will teach me to make promises!! 😜

Based on the number of people waiting for a trainer, I figured it would be several days before I was assigned to one and, therefore I would have plenty of time to post....wrong!!

The phone rang shortly after posting the above and I was told to pack my stuff up as I was flying out the next day to meet my trainer in Houston 🤤

So; I have now been on the road for the last few days, travelling this wonderful country.

As I am one of those annoying people that believes the only stupid question is the one you don't ask, I have spent every spare moment grilling my trainer and hence have had little free time to do anything else but sleep, shower and grab a bite to eat.

But; I will do my best to write as promised and also to describe my experiences, good and bad, as I try to operate out here in the real world. 👍

Just a brief note to say that, so far, I'm loving it!😊

My trainer, Paul, is a pretty cool dude and we seem to get along just fine. By yesterday afternoon, he had relaxed sufficiently to grab a few hours snooze time in the bunk as I rolled along I-40 👍. He has also relaxed a bit now that I have backed the vehicle into a few locations successfully. His actual comment; "Well, i guess you weren't lying when you said that you could back up fairly well". I'll take that as a sort of back-handed compliment! lol

Anyway, I'm lying in the top bunk after another pretty good day.... we're here in Liberal, KS.... in the 'meat patch ' as they call it. Our load is supposed to be ready by 02:00 but my 10 hour break doesn't finish til 05:30, so we're gonna roll in there about 6:30ish after I have done my PTI..... Paul is a stickler for a proper Pre-trip and allows me plenty of time to be thorough. He also occasionally hides things around the vehicle without telling me. If I find the item, it's mine to keep! Today's was a rolled up $20 bill.....sweet!! lol

So; bed time now. 👍We'll be rolling eastbound to Harmony, PA soon enough!

Nighty night all. I'll check back in soon. Until then; keep the shiny side up and be safe! 💤💤💤

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Reyn R.'s Comment
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Very cool to read your story Simon. Also very happy that you’ve lucked out with such a motivational trainer like Paul. The hiding things bit is genius. Continued success on your journey. Safe travels!

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