Profile For Christopher W.

Christopher W.'s Info

  • Location:
    Bedford, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 11 months ago

Christopher W.'s Bio

20 year old high school graduate from Georgia living in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Currently working for $9.00/hr part time at a warehouse that ships skin cream. A bit of a "nerd", a quiet but friendly loner, and a huge Volkswagen fan. Novice driver, looking to get a CDL in the near future.

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Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Hey guys! Sorry for almost a week with no replies, to make a long story short a lot of IRL drama happened and I'm about to take a massive leap of faith.

The long version of this is, I've been spending all week arguing with my roommate and scurrying around trying to prepare for Thursday, when I interview for a data entry job. To do this, I'm going to have to take a sick day from the warehouse, and it might end up getting me fired. On the flipside of this, it's fairly likely that my days at the warehouse are numbered anyways, considering they just cut the temps' hours and according to HR I'm just a "smelly liability"... Really kind of them to say that. Either way, the forecast calls for firings and/or lay-offs and I'd probably be among the first to go.

Worst case scenario, I get fired from the warehouse, don't get the data entry job, and I end up having to move back in with my grandpa for a year... Best case, I get the data entry job, pay off all my debts, get a car and give myself a little more time to think and do research on trucking. I still think I'd really like it, I'm just not sure I'd like OTR as much as I originally thought I would. Again, not my final answer, just my current views.

Also sorry for not responding directly to anyone's previous posts, it's nearly bedtime and I still need to set my lunch out for tomorrow. I'll keep you guys updated, thanks for being patient with me!

- Chris

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Well, it's not so much a thing about "I can't" or "I won't" as it is about "I don't really want to". The truth of it is, I like myself at this size, and there just aren't enough benefits to being thin to make me want it. I mean...

Costs - I have to eat like a rabbit and do jumping jacks every morning for the next fourty years. Benefits - I might live a few extra years.

I actively strive to have the most enjoyable life I possibly can, even if it is short, and exercising constantly and denying myself... Well.. Food that tastes good, just doesn't seem that enjoyable in the long term.

On the other hand with trucking...

Costs - I won't be home that often and I have to stay awake for a long time. I'll have to live out of what essentially is a glorified closet, and I'll probably have to deal with some rude people. Driving conditions will sometimes, be difficult, and I'll have to be constantly aware of my surroundings while driving. Benefits - I'll own my own home and car before 40, I'll get to see the country and get paid to do it, I'll meet tons of interesting people, I won't have a boss that constantly peers over my shoulder to make sure I'm doing things HIS way, I'll earn driving experience that will probably make me a better driver even when I'm not in a truck and I won't have to spend four years in college with the following twenty years in debt to do it all.

Yeah it's not gonna' be the easiest thing ever, no full-time job will be, but it seems like once you get past your fears, once you get that bit of experience, once the BS becomes the norm and it doesn't really bug you anymore, it becomes an enjoyable, rewarding lifestyle that I'd say is more than worth the trouble.

I'm not disregarding what you've said, I do get the point, it's something you have to be driven (please excuse the pun) to do, and if I can't do something as simple as shedding a few pounds then how will I manage to stick it out in an industry that demands everything of you? I'm just saying it's kind of a conscious choice I've made and not just a negative consequence of a discipline-free lifestyle, and that it shouldn't be indicative of my failure or success in the trucking industry. I do really appreciate that you've taken an active interest in my success however, and I have to say that I will not disappoint. I might have to go through a company school for now, money is tight around here, but I will get through this all in one piece.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Oof, sorry for the quoting error with that last post! That'll teach me not to use preview before I post I guess...

Solid advice as always from Brett.

I had done my research and knew how hard it would be, and still found it MUCH more difficult than I expected. Most people have no clue what it takes to be a driver. They take a vacation in their car and drive a few hours and think it is a taste of driving a truck. It's not even close. I am not saying your one of these people, just pointing out how some people think.

Ehh, the closest experiences I've had to that degree were a 2012 trip from Georgia to California VIA Greyhound (Which sucked half the time because they kept putting me on the buses from the 1980s with no wifi and bathrooms that hadn't been cleaned since the early 2000s) and my most recent trip from GA to TX through Amtrak. I recognize it's not the same thing however, being a driver and being a passenger are very different situations.

The over weight thing would actually be one of the easier hurdles to get over. And it currently is not a deal breaker although it is getting tougher and tougher in the industry. I myself am over weight and have great blood pressure. Drives my wife nuts. She is a nurse, knows how I live and eat, and every time I go to the doctor and they tell her my pressure she just looks at me and shakes her head.

The only time I have ever had high blood pressure was when I went for my physical at my first company. I had myself so worked up about the upcoming mini workout I knew the company did I was stressed and tested high. After setting for just a few minutes I was back in my normal range.

Woody

Yeah, I've spoken to a friend or two and they told me it's not that hard to be a big guy and still be healthy as long as you know what to do... Any tips? I'd assume keeping relaxed is top priority here. :P

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Phew! Sorry guys, been home about an hour but I had to finish an assessment for a data entry job... I don't think I did too well, but we'll see I suppose. Anyhoo, time to finish my responses. :P

If you haven't gone through our Truck Driver's Career Guide or my book about life in the trucking industry (free online version!) then you certainly should. It will help you understand just how difficult this industry can be and make sure you're prepared for it.

Actually, that's what I did on my break today! I didn't get much reading done since I had to read it on my phone's tiny screen, but I'm working on it. What I find the funniest is that so far, my life is almost like a remake of yours in a way. You left NY for GA without a promise of stability, I did the same but left GA for TX... We both worked (Or, currently work in my case!) in warehouses, and we both seem to have been pretty starstruck over the idea of earning $35k-ish a year... But I'll address that later on in this post. :P

We're all about supporting each other here at TruckingTruth. We do all we can to encourage each other to endure the challenges and survive that first year on the road. I have no doubt you're capable of doing this and we'll be behind you all the way. But most people that run home with their tail between their legs after getting chewed up and spit out by the trucking industry were more than capable of making it happen. Unfortunately they underestimate (by a mile in fact) just how gruelling that first year in the industry will be.

So to me it's all about having the right expectations and preparing yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. That's why I'm saying all of this. We know how to help you get your career off to a great start and the first thing we have to do is warn you about how difficult this will be. The people who tend to thrive in trucking are Type A personalities who are fiercely independent and love a challenge and an adventure. If you're up for it the trucking industry would be happy to have you and we'll be happy to help you make that happen. But don't kid yourself into thinking this is some sort of relaxing job where you just cruise around enjoying the scenery without a boss looking over your shoulder. Oh sure that's part of it. But that's not the part that kicks people's *sses. The stress, the erratic sleep patterns, the very long days, weather, traffic, solitude, and thankless nature of the job - it can beat you down and wear you out.

But the lifestyle also gives you unparalleled opportunities to travel this country making good money living an amazing lifestyle. My years on the road were priceless and I wouldn't trade em for the world. But almost nothing about it was easy, even with many years of experience under my belt. Trucking is just hard - that's all there is to it. That's one of the main reasons I loved it.

Yeah... It's scary, but something tells me this is the way for me to go, y'know? It's also pretty exciting. Again I realize it's not gonna' be the easiest thing in the world, but like you said, I'm capable... I just need to keep myself determined and educated.

I know some of this wasn't fun to read but I'm not going to help you be successful at this by sugar coat anything. I'm totally on your side and I'm pullin for ya all the way but I want you to do some serious thinking before committing to this.

Fair enough, sometimes the truth sucks, but a lie is only a convenient fantasy... I mean, it would kind of suck if you guys told me the whole time that it would be the easiest thing in the world, then I went to take my test and failed because I went in expecting one thing and getting another.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Well there you go - now you have another awesome goal for the next year - get in shape! Obviously being overweight is not a life sentence, it's a choice. If you want to get your life moving forward by getting your license and eventually getting your CDL then add getting in shape to the list and make it happen!

Ehh, not sure I'd call it "awesome" but it is a goal. I'm not gonna' let anything get between me and my end goal, I've been stagnating in this weird phase between teenager and adult for way too long. :P

You're super young still but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know when I say to this point you've been a poster child for today's youth. You're broke, you live with relatives, you're a gamer, you're overweight, and you don't have a driver's license. On top of that you've also failed your regular driving test twice because of nerves. None of that says anything negative about the quality of human being you are. But it says everything about your work ethic, discipline, motivation, and ability to handle pressure - all of which you'll need if you're going to thrive in trucking.

Ehh, kinda', except I don't live with family anymore or this would be a little easier to pull off since I could quit my job at the warehouse and dedicate myself to preparing for the CDL test. I'm fully aware, sadly, that I fit the mold for "millenials"...

Trucking is incredibly demanding. It's stressful, the days are super long, the job is thankless, and it completely overwhelms a lot of people. Just learning the basics of driving well enough to get your CDL is quite a huge ordeal for most people and nobody will tell you it's easy.

Yeah, but to be fair it seems like nearly any job I can get at this point will be stressful, and with long hours too if I want to make rent. The thankless bit doesn't bother me really, it's always been a weird thing with me where I don't really like being congratulated for doing my job. I'm not saying it's gonna' be easy, but rather that, it seems, nothing that's worth the trouble comes easy. It's a sad fact of life that if you want something, you're going to have to struggle for it, it seems, at least if you're in a situation like mine.

Then surviving a month or two on the road with a trainer is even more difficult because now you're stuck in a truck with someone you don't even know and you're thrust into situations where you'll constantly feel like you're in way over your head. Then it again gets even more difficult when it's time to go solo and you realize the only thing worse than being stuck in a truck with another driver is being stuck by yourself trying to figure everything out. Getting started in trucking is a long, difficult process - a trial by fire if you will - and a lot of people never even make it to the point that they're running solo. It's a daunting task.

Being with the trainer, admittedly, will probably be very stressful for me because to make a long story short, I'm not a fan of having other people so close to me for extended periods of time. On the other hand, I understand that it's a vital part of... well... training, and that without it, I'd be just as helpless as I am now. Going solo, again, will probably be scary at first, but I get the feeling that I'll like it once I get used to it.

If this is something you want to do then I want you to understand just how difficult this is going to be so you can start preparing yourself for it. You have an entire year before you can really get started and that's probably a huge blessing. That's plenty of time to get in shape, study the training materials, research the industry, and prepare yourself mentally for the dramatic ups and downs you'll face once you get started with training.

It's strange, I know, I hadn't really considered becoming a truck driver until about a month ago but I'd say this is the most determined to do a specific thing I've been in a long time... And yes, a year SHOULD hopefully be plenty of time for me to prepare. :)

Sorry, gotta' cut this short 'cause I have work... Time to go bust my you-know-what in a warehouse for around 8 hours, bleh... Ah well, I'll respond to the rest later! Thanks again!

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Okay, looks like a new roadblock... Now I'm being told that even once I've had my Class D for a year, there's a physical exam and I'm highly unlikely to meet it because I'm overweight and therefore, will most likely have high blood pressure. Is this true? Should I just give up here? Is this a career killer?

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

I've got some friends I was going to move in with after the lease here ran out, they might be willing to help me out with an address. They might even let me crash on their couch from time to time if I need it.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Hey, one thing I forgot to mention. I wish I had started this when I was 21.

You can live in your truck, with no rent and utilities, car payment and insurance, and those types of expenses to worry about, and just make and save money. As a company driver, fuel, maintenance, and expenses like that won't be a concern. If you control your spending on food and stuff, you can find yourself well on the way to a debt free lifestyle, money saved, ready to move on to whatever you want later in life. Buy a house. A car. When the time is right.

If you can focus and put forth the effort, your whole life situation can change for the better. In one sense, you've got a 20-year head-start on me for a better life situation when you're my age.

Oh wow... Even when you're not on assignment? I suppose I could get a P.O. box for mail and if I end up getting my own car before the year is up, I can either leave it with some friends or drain it and rent a storage unit... And then two to four years down the road when I know what I want to do long-term (Right now I'm thinking either move to shorter distance trucking like UPS where I can be home on the weekends or get an associate's degree in the IT field on the road, then go two more years for a bachelors on campus) I can get a nice little two bedroom house and sort of "retire" into a more sedentary lifestyle. I know I wouldn't be rich, but in this economy owning your own house before 30 seems like an accomplishment in and of itself, and not having to pay $700 in rent every month would be nice too. :P

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

As far as employment options in the meantime go, sometimes we have to deal with jobs we don't like until we find something better. I have experience in wireless, and if you're good at sales it isn't bad for something temporary. How are your typing skills? Maybe there's a data entry position available nearby. Sometimes you can do it from home. If you are fast and accurate enough it's easy money.

Yeah, sadly... My typing skills are actually very good, I've been looking for data entry since I started looking for jobs. They always seem to have plenty of them in Dallas, but that's a 30 minute drive away. I've considered getting a bike and commuting to Dallas VIA bike -> train -> bike just until I can afford my car.

Hey, you know what, get your license and think about delivering pizzas. I did that for a while in high school, and I always had cash in my pocket, did a lot of driving, and gained experience finding customers and delivering undamaged goods in a safe and time-sensitive manner.

The funny thing is, there's actually a pizza place right down the street within walking distance and my roommate told me I should see about getting hired on as the phone guy. Might be worth a shot, I've heard you can get promoted from phone guy to delivery pretty quick.

But, after re-reading your posts, I'd say you need to work on passing that driving test. Being nervous is something you have to deal with. I passed my car test on the first try. Truck test second try. The school was sending us home on a bus with a student loan still to pay if we failed it a third.

Something to think about. Man up and get 'er done.

Yeah... I'd call it more stage fright than anything else really, thinking way way back, when I had first got my learner's permit I actually drove my aunt's family home from Cartersville to Rockmart in a 1980s Buick Skylark in the middle of the night and handled it pretty smoothly. If the DMV let you listen to music or anything like that in the car I'd probably have a much easier time passing. :P

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

A lot of the ability to determine in advance what the vehicles around you are about to do is the knowledge of having been in their similar situation yourself, and having observed other drivers' behaviours around you when you are driving in general, truck, car, bicycle, whatever.

I am not saying you can't start driving a truck and learn and develop the necessary skills without any other experience, I am saying IN MY OPINION - ANY experience helps. Sure, trucks shift different, and you have to learn how to properly shift a truck, and if you've shifted synchronized transmissions all your life it takes some getting used to, BUT there are aspects of driving a standard transmission that experience, synchronized or not, helps.

Yeah, sadly almost every vehicle I've driven has been automatic, but whenever I get my Bug I do plan on getting one with a manual transmission. Sadly that's going to be a while from now, as I want to make sure I get one that's been taken care of and will likely end up spending $5,000 or more on it. I did learn to drive manual in a 1968 Beetle, so I know a little about it, I just never drove manual on the road yet.

During the time you are developing driving skills in general, one year if necessary, see if you can find a place to access a truck simulator, or heck if you got a computer get 18 Wheels of Steel on Steam, or Euro Truck Simulator, and play that a little. It's not an actual truck simulator by any means but can give you an idea of why a truck turns wider and slower than a Porsche, etc., and practice backing it. After crunching a few light poles and little 4-wheelers in a game or simulator, you might see how easy it is to do, and reflect on how each of those incidents could be a trucking career-ender or ticket to prison time in real life.

I would highly recommend an actual professional truck simulator if you can somehow find access to one. I don't know what it would cost. When it comes time to go to a trucking school, I would recommend finding one that is NOT fast paced. (Unless you find you are particularly gifted when it comes to driving... which is possible.)

I'd look into it, might help me to get a wheel as well rather than just playing with the xBox controller I usually use. I have used the Freightliner in Midtown Madness 2 a few times, but that's hardly an accurate simulation of anything. :P

However you choose to pursue your trucking career, I think the most important thing right now is to get your actual driver's license as soon as possible. Focus on the basics. General rules of the road are universal. Signal before turning and 300ft on a highway before changing lanes. Come to a complete stop at signals and stop signs, etc. How to merge onto an interstate. Stuff like that. Following distance, etc. Knowledge is one thing. Experience is another.

The advantage you have is that it doesn't sound like you have a lot of aggressive or bad habits. You can start this with a pretty-much clean slate. And, you know what your goal is, and can devise a plan to obtain it.

Like I said, this is all just my personal opinion.

Yeah, I'm generally pretty relaxed. I get nervous easily, but it's pretty difficult to get me angry or upset.

Thanks! :)

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Hey, Christopher W. We have the same first name and middle initial lol.

Oh, the W actually stands for Williams, my middle name is Collin. :P

Man, I was living at home when I was 22. That's actually the year I moved out and started in retail for the first time. I had moved out and moved back in before that.

Yeah, the thing about it though is, sadly I didn't really have a choice. All throughout high school I was going to be that guy who goes to college for an IT degree, but when I graduated for one reason or another my parents decided more or less that they didn't want anything to do with me. I moved in with my aunt for a while but after she started stealing and selling my video games, I decided I wasn't going to deal with her anymore. I ended up moving in with my grandpa, which wasn't so bad, but he lives too far out in the country to walk into town, and even then none of the local places were hiring because they tend to hire people and keep them for years and years. I guess to make a long story short, it was a commuter town and I didn't have a car. No car no job, no job no car.

I am just going to share my personal opinion with you. Take it for what it's worth. I am not an official spokesperson for the website or anything like that.

My personal opinion is that, despite a lot of what you hear, driving experience of any kind is beneficial before starting trucking. Highway driving as well, since that's when you're usually going the faster speed and posing the most danger to the public as well as to yourself.

Well yeah, it's really common sense and I'm kind of kicking myself now for not realizing this sooner. Then again, up until now I knew little about trucking other than what you learn from TV and movies, and this website has really changed my opinion. I've even gone and watched a few trucking vlogs, and it seems like a fun job. I understand it's not all sunshine and puppies, but compared to anything else you can do for a living, especially at my age, it looks nice. :P

My advice would be, go take the test and get your regular operator license as soon as possible. Drive as much as possible. Get a cheap car, or ask your parents or whomever to let you drive as much as possible. There are instincts in driving that develop over time that can't be learned any other way than actually driving. In a car, a close call is nothing to shrug off, but in a truck, that margin between a close call and outright catastrophe is mighty slim. Let me tell you, I don't doubt that if I hadn't had over 25 years of experience driving other vehicles before starting in a truck, I would have had a major accident or killed someone or myself by now. People will do stuff around a truck they normally wouldn't even do around another car, and it takes every bit of skill and luck combined sometimes to avoid a messy, messy situation. Truck drivers can go to prison over accidents.

Yeah, I was looking into getting a $500 Craigslist beater before I thought about becoming a trucker, rationalizing that when I can afford the Beetle I want to eventually own I can give whatever I get now to my friends. As for asking someone to let me drive, the closest thing I have to parents is my roommate, sometimes she lets me drive on grocery runs but never anything major. Driving a truck does seem like a somewhat frightening task, but I'm sure they wouldn't pass me for my CDL if I wasn't ready, y'know? I'm pretty careful, but I realize sometimes accidents happen... It's a sad fact of life. I considered bus driving, but that will hardly earn you a living wage. :c

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Well, I've sat and thought it over, and I think I'm going to go ahead and keep researching to become a truck driver. In the meantime, I need to find another job to hold me over between the time I get my license, and the time I become eligible for training. Any suggestions? I'm looking at call centers and cell phone stores now.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Oh, well that's a shame... I guess it's not off the table, but I'll have to find something to hold me over between now and that one year mark... I guess if you guys have any more advice though, it couldn't hurt to know ahead of time. Thanks.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Hey there! I just completed my company sponsored schooling, and there are some pros and cons to both ways of obtaining your CDL, outlined fantastically on this site. On the plus side, I got my CDL, with tankers and doubles/triples in just over three weeks. Good luck with it!

Thanks a ton! Yeah, when capable I've been reading a few of the articles, and I might copy a few of them over to my iPad for reading while on break at work tomorrow. (They don't give us the wi-fi password and I can't afford iPad service right now, sadly.)

Three weeks to go from complete newbie to licensed driver is pretty quick!

Hey! I'm 23 and started trucking as soon as I turned 21. I'm basically you in the future, I also worked a warehouse job that both didn't pay the bills and drove me nuts.

How long have you had your regular drivers license?

This is very possible. I did it, so can you! You just have to be very determined.

Haha, man, when it's not the physical part of the job it's the co-workers ehh? The group I work with are... Excitable to say the least. Very loud, look and act like they're my age but some of them are in their 40s. By contrast I'm 20, look 15 when I shave and am very relaxed and quiet. :P

I actually, despite having completed my Texas Driver's Education course, haven't obtained a class D driver's license yet. I've held a learner's permit since 2010, and occasionally will drive to the grocery store and back with my roommate, but already having missed nearly a full week at my current job (TL;DR: food poisoning) I haven't been able to get proper time off to schedule and take the actual test. I've failed it twice, once in 2011 and once in 2013, both times due to nervousness. I'm really hoping this won't disqualify me, I've never been ticketed in all this time, and when it comes down to it the only things really standing between me and my license are confidence and time off from work.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

"The only thing that lack of experience has done for you is that you have not yet formed any bad habits... I hope!"

Heh, I hope so too! I play a lot of racing games but I do have a somewhat realistic idea of proper driving speed, I definitely don't have a lead foot. :P

"It can be done but it may take you longer to get there. You might consider a community college course and keep your present job until you have your license in hand. That type of course will not be as fast paced as a company program and I believe you can get grants or financial assistance for the tuition."

I'll look into a course at the community college, but worst case scenario, what are the downsides to being trained in-company other than not being able to leave for another company without re-training? Could I take the in-company now and two or so years down the road take a legitimate paid course?

"It is also a longer course but since you are only 20 you have the time. To go interstate you have to be 21."

True! I turn 21 in February. :)

Thanks for the help!

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Considering a career as a trucker... Any advice?

Hi, I was wondering if anyone here could help me with something? I'm gonna' try to make a long story short, I'm 20 years old, can't afford college, can't just move back in with my parents and my current warehouse job is both not paying the bills, and driving me absolutely insane. A few days ago, a friend told me to consider a career in trucking and linked me to this website, particularly the article regarding free training. At first I wasn't sure this was the way to go for me, but after reading over a few of the articles and weighing pros and cons, it honestly seems like a better option than anything else I'm capable of at this point.

Pros - I like being alone, so not having loud, annoying co-workers or an overbearing to deal with won't be an issue. - While trucking does frighten me a little, I've enjoyed what little driving I've done so far. - I'm no stranger to pulling all-nighters, and I can deal fairly well with an erratic sleep schedule. - I prefer a job where I don't spend a lot of time on my feet, as I'm rather tall, heavy and not all that athletic. I have "natural big guy strength" but I don't lift weights or anything, and my feet hurt after about seven hours standing up.

Cons - I've never driven any vehicle on the highway, I've passed driver's ed twice now (Once in high-school before I moved, once for my Texas driver's license) but I've never really had access to my own vehicle.

So there are more pros than there are cons that I can see clearly by this point, but the lack of experience is a pretty big con... I just figured I would go ahead and see what some experienced drivers think about my situation, and I wouldn't mind hearing from some beginners as well! Thanks in advance!

- Chris W.

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