One day I went to a tank wash and they said they couldn't wash me out until they got some money from the company. Seems we were a bit behind. So I called the owner and told him what was going on and he took care of it. That was a bit odd to me because I had only worked for large companies until that point and they have so much money behind them that you just don't run into that. But no biggie I guess and on I went.
Well, turned out every time I had to get work done or a wash done I had to go through this aggravating process of paying them on the spot and at times waiting for dispatch to track down the owner or whatever. Also the owner never wanted to pay out a nickel for anything if he could help it so anytime I needed something done it was like pulling teeth! When you're out on the road driving your ass off day and night coast the coast the last thing you feel like dealing with is arguing with your own company over the necessity of getting something done. Trust me on this one.
Well, as time went on and the financial situation got worse the owner pushed harder and harder. He wanted us to run as hard as he could possibly push us. I can't blame him. He was hurting for money and struggling to keep the company alive. But there is only so much a driver can do before he's had enough, and finally the day had come that I had had enough.
I had run for six straight weeks and finally got the chance to go home. I expected to stay home at least five or six days and surely deserved to do so. I ran very, very hard and did an awesome job. Well, after two days at home the owner calls and tells me he scheduled a pickup for me the next day. I told him there was no way I was leaving after just two days at home and he said either I go pickup that load or he's gonna fly someone out to get my truck and pick up the load and I would be fired. The next day my truck had been picked up and I was on to my next adventure.
In later years I discovered that after a year of awesome service that owner had tried to blackball me. He put into the computer system that trucking companies use to look up your past records that I had abandoned his truck, which is a really, really bad thing to do. You never want to quit a job and leave the truck somewhere for a company to have to retrieve.
That's a big strike against a driver. Well, his company went bankrupt soon after I was fired so I didn't know of any way to get in touch with that owner to get my record cleared. Thanks a lot buddy.
I learned a few good lessons at this company. First of all I really liked pulling a food-grade tanker. I never have worked for another tanker company after that but that's because I had plenty of other good opportunities. But given the right circumstances I'd certainly do it again.
Secondly I learned I don't like working for small companies. Now there's a lot of drivers that love small companies, but I prefer the variety of freight, different divisions, convenient accounts, and a whole host of other advantages that the big companies have.
Lastly, it was the first time (but certainly not the last time) I had been stabbed in the back by my own company. Now I'm a straight forward type of guy. If I do something that deserves punishment, banishment, or imprisonment (all of which I have deserved at several points in my life) I'll readily admit it. But the work I did for this company was outstanding and I certainly didn't deserve to be fired or blackballed.
The trucking industry is full of triumphs and tragedies and although I can't predict any specifics regarding the future, I can tell you that you will experience both at some point in your career, so expect it.
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