Profile For Pianoman

Pianoman's Info

  • Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 7 months ago

Pianoman's Bio

A supervisor a few years back suggested I consider a career in truck driving, since I enjoy driving and it pays well. I thought about it but thought I couldn't since I have insulin-dependent diabetes. Long story short, I decided to actually start looking into it and discovered I could get a federal exemption. Eight long months later I finally finished going through the tedious process of getting an exemption. After a few months of thinking about it, I finally took the leap and signed up for company-sponsored training with Swift. The rest is history!

Pgwright88keys@gmail.com

Pianoman's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 6

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Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Semi fueling at Costco?!

I took a little trip today and fueled my SUV at Costco which I later learned opened last November. Their gasoline prices were the lowest I've seen in California, quite a bit lower than another discount place yesterday. I imagine the diesel was also a bargain. Perhaps trying to get more customers to this relatively new store? Anyways, this is the first time I've ever seen a truck at a Costco getting fuel. The fuel lines were shorter than I have ever seen at a Costco as well so the truck didn't hold others up. Anybody here ever seen this before?

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Probably took him a while! Truck pumps pump significantly faster than diesel pumps designed for autos.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

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If the company makes a profit in a fiscal year, do they share the profit with the drivers? Of course they don’t.

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Here's some company malfeasance for ya...

I just did some looking into my company's contributions to me. These are in addition to what they've agreed to pay me in mileage fees. I didn't take the time to add up all my ancillary pay or x-pay that happens weekly. This week alone I had very close to $400.00 x-pay. I never asked for any of it, nor had to go to war with the corporation to get them to pay that. Those funds are over and above my standard mileage pay. Oftentimes, like this week, they just appear because my DM decided I should get it.

Since i started working here, they've contributed approximately $30,000 dollars to my 401k, and granted to me that much again in company stock. Knight has a program that grants company stock to their drivers based on their performance. So yes, I'd say they are willing to share their profits. That's 60 Grand given to me just for being here and contributing in a meaningful way.

What's also interesting is they still provided me with those funds this past year when profits were worse than pathetic.

Hmmmm! That's a head scratcher. Sometimes we are so bad about getting our mind set in a certain direction, we keep ourselves from seeing, and pursuing rewards from opportunities right in front of our face.

I already backed out but really I’m just curious..

What’s the point of your post? To mock people who point out that the same company you’re posting about also employs practices that are unfair and in many drivers’ opinions, unethical?

Cool, some companies offer profit sharing. That’s great! No one is saying these companies are bad companies. But it’s like you and Brett can’t stand the thought that we might be a little ****ed about some of the little injustices we have to deal with. Even Brett admitted he doesn’t endorse HHG. I don’t get it.

Kool-aid, man. SMH

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

How do you guys and gals motivate yourselves on those weeks you just have no desire to get moving?

Just having an ‘off’ week like it seems like I always do after taking some home time. Literally all I want to do is drink beer and play video games. This is coming from a guy who only drinks socially because I think beer is gross lmao.

Maybe it’s just that I had to start yet ANOTHER new character in Skyrim because the Special edition on PC isn’t just a simple upgrade. Maybe it’s that I got off my diet when I got home. Maybe I just got a flare up of milleniallism this week. Who knows..

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Question from a lay person car driver

I’m shocked by your self awareness!

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Question from a lay person car driver

Actually, I believe I replied about patience. The AH that speeds up because how dare he be passed by a Prime, the AH that doesn't let us back in when we move over to allow them to merge. The AH that can't back off his cruise for 5 seconds. ALL of that comes down to patience.

I totally agree. Not really sure what crawled up Bruce’s back side. To be fair, I don’t like it either when Prime passes me

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Hit my million miles...

Congrats!! And you did it being home every night too, that’s sick!

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Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Difficulty finding a trucking company that will hire me

If you really want to drive trucks I’d apply literally everywhere you can possibly find or think of. What about local construction companies? I would think a local construction company would love to have a worker with a class A and endorsements. You could get some experience there and if you don’t like it after 6 months to a year you should have enough experience to open up some doors for you OTR if that’s what you’re looking for. We don’t typically advocate to start local but in your case you’re going to just need to take anything you can find.

Another idea is food service companies like Sysco and US Foods among others. They are again mostly local opportunities, the work is physical, and it’s easy to hit stuff and screw up your career early on because of the nature of the job; but they tend to be more lenient in their hiring. Again, not something we recommend for new drivers but it may be your only shot.

Think outside the box. Any company that has class A vehicles, even if not a trucking company, is a possible option.

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

View Topic:

How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

So I'm asking for the facts. What led you to believe I'm out of touch and no longer capable of doing my job?

What led me to question that you might be a bit out of touch is simply the way you seem to always defend the large corporations without admitting their downfalls.

Old School pointed out:

Brett made a remark that we can't ignore when he said this...

I aim to help people understand the trucking industry and support them throughout that first year.

Brett feels strongly that this is his mission. It is the purpose of the website. That's why he strongly encourages getting started with the mega carriers. That's where it is generally the "best practice" at starting your trucking career.

I agree and I think that maybe that has been the piece I was missing all along.

I've said my peace and this has been a good debate but this is the point where I'm going to go ahead and bow out of the discussion. I have absolutely no ill will toward anyone in this thread and I hope I've not crossed any lines when it comes to the respect aspect of our discussions. Brett I sincerely hope you continue your work for a long time and I absolutely appreciate the time and effort you've put into helping people entering the industry and even those who have been in the industry for a bit, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your work on this forum. (Yes I'm sticking around, just leaving this thread alone now.)

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

View Topic:

How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

It's rather surprising to hear that a former student, someone whose career I've had a hand in shaping, would publicly question my knowledge and understanding of trucking. This has been my life's work - thirty-one years in this industry and still going strong.

If you truly believe that I am out of touch with the current state of the trucking industry and no longer capable of doing my life's work, I would expect you to provide concrete evidence or specific examples that support your claim. It is easy to make blanket statements, but it takes a true professional to back up their opinions with facts.

So I'm asking for the facts. What led you to believe I'm out of touch and no longer capable of doing my job?

I don't know...I wouldn't say I'm questioning your knowledge and understanding of trucking. Maybe it's just semantics but I've long held the belief that you are one of the most well versed people I know in the trucking industry. Maybe I don't do a good enough job of communicating it regularly but I maintain that this website, built by you, is packed with knowledge and one of my primary tools in helping me grow in my career. That's all thanks to you. I'm also aware that many many others besides myself have hugely benefited from the knowledge and tools on this site. So no, I'm not questioning your ability to do your life's work.

I said:

I don't want to insult your intelligence but I have to wonder if you've just been out of a truck for so long you don't realize what it's really like to drive for the largest carriers these days.

Again, maybe not the best way for me to put it, but I'm not questioning your knowledge. I'm questioning if you know what it feels like to have lane mitigation sensors beeping and flashing at you constantly while driving despite you doing nothing wrong, having the truck slamming on the brakes for anything from shadows to vehicles exiting the highway next to you, sitting on hold for an hour just to ask your dispatcher a simple question, having safety call you because you dared go 68 down a hill marked 80 mph, and in general having much more strict and seemingly arbitrary "safety" decisions and protocols despite being paid exactly the same or less than anywhere else you could work. I have no regrets about starting my career at a mega, but I most likely won't be returning to one any time soon.

If I could sum up the experience in one word, it would be "impersonal." I don't like being in a position where the people making decisions that greatly affect my day to day life in the truck are inaccessible. I've also pointed out the safety departments specifically because the last time I lost my job and the only time I've lost my job for anything safety related, the safety department did not even have the courtesy to talk to me directly about it. In typical corporate fashion they forced my terminal manager to fire me despite him protesting two separate times to them and offering them other solutions. This wasn't even a gigantic company but rather a company with around 1,000 trucks. I'm not even going to argue that I didn't fully deserve to be fired. I did something dumb. But everywhere else I've worked that wasn't a gigantic mega corporation had safety departments and upper management that were accessible and approachable. After that event, I decided I wouldn't work for another large company like that, that would make a sudden rash decision with serious negative implications for my career without so much as a conversation and without considering other factors like the fact that I had consistently held a near perfect safety score my entire employment with them. I have never even been so much as written up at any company I've ever worked for and I've always held excellent safety scores at every trucking company I've been at. I was also highly productive and had just successfully trained my first student who I know for a fact became a productive and successful driver at that company.

Ok, so one large company fired me for something I even admitted myself was a fireable offense but they didn't give me a phone call. Big whoop. I wasn't the only person I know fired from this company. A friend of mine I talk to daily was also fired shortly before this for an extremely trivial matter. After filing a worker's comp claim at this company for an injury at work, it was discovered that he had completely accidentally not disclosed a previous worker's comp claim from a previous company. The reason it wasn't disclosed? He had no idea the previous company had even filed a claim because of the trivial nature of the injury and the fact he didn't seek treatment for it. So our company decided to fire him for this. Sure, I understand their reasons. But it was ridiculous and once again all about protecting the company and treating employees like they're expendable because at the end of the day, large corporations don't see employees as people. They see them as "assets" or "resources." I knew other people who got let go from this company but I think you get the idea.

(continued...)

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

View Topic:

How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

C'mon man, you know I don't think this:

Also, Pianoman, you said I always defend the major trucking companies. Why would I do that? Are you under the impression they're in the room with me, with a gun pointed at my head, telling me what I must say like some crazy mafia movie?

When did I say that I think they're telling you what to do or give any kind of impression that's what I think? I said:

lots of people over the years have accused you of being in the mega's pockets.

I didn't say I agree with "lots of people." In fact, I said:

I think you're a straight shooter as you claim so I don't think that's it.

Then you said:

Ok, Pianoman. I'll consider that. If you wouldn't mind switching roles and playing the teacher for a moment, teach me what it's like driving for the megas today and contrast that to what I went through during my career. Include as many details as you can so I can better understand it. We have quite a few people in our community who still work for the super megas, like Old School and Kearsey, so they'd probably like to learn about this as well.

You have the floor. Lay some serious knowledge on me, brother.

No. I gave you three comments of material including one where I went through and described the difference between my experience driving for a mega and my experience driving for a specific smaller carrier. I included disclaimers to make sure it was understood that I am aware that some differences are simply due to the nature of the companies and what they do, not just their size. I included another example showing a difference between my current carrier and Swift as well. But instead of pulling from that material, you want me to spend more time (which you know I don't have much of) writing out more comments detailing the differences between megas and smaller carriers.

Why would you want me to do that? Because you know that I'll trip up if I try to give an all-encompassing list describing megas vs smaller carriers. Because it doesn't exist. Every company is different. Not only that, but many mega companies have smaller fleets within the company that operate like smaller companies for the most part. There isn't anything I can say about megas vs smaller companies that you don't already know and we both know that.

All I can give is generalizations, which is what I've already done.

What you haven't done is actually answer the question. I asked you

why do you consistently back the big guys whenever there's an argument about this?

Then you asked me just now:

Also, Pianoman, you said I always defend the major trucking companies. Why would I do that?

Well, why would you? I'm pretty sure I asked you first. If it's just that you had a good experience and you'd do it again, no argument there. You're entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I really don't care who you like and I doubt you care who I like. What's frustrating is when someone comes on complaining about "corporate BS" and you spend comment after comment essentially explaining that's just how the industry works.

I don't know how to describe it but everyone here knows what I'm talking about. Someone comes on here with some complaint about their large carrier. Then someone else hops on and suggests maybe they try a different or smaller carrier. Then we as a whole bombard them and assure the first person their big carrier is just fine and the grass couldn't possibly be greener on the other side. If the people advocating for a smaller carrier start to add up, you come in and set everyone straight. It's just weird. Now, I completely understand if we're talking about someone who is brand new to the industry or within their first year. That's not the case with Davy.

Listen, FWIW, I don't care what company anyone works for. I'd work for a mega again if I needed to. I don't think they're inherently evil. My main argument for smaller large carriers is I just like them more and I gave some of my reasons why.

To be clear, I've never supported Household Mover's Guide (HHG) miles. I've always supported practical hub miles for truck routes. I always support getting paid practical truck route miles with extras kicked in when it's warranted, like long layovers or breakdowns.

But I've never endorsed the practice of HHG. Most of the companies I worked for paid HHG, and I always watched the paid miles to make sure it was close. If it was off by much, I'd request an adjustment, and 95% of the time they would do it.

Fair enough.

I aim to help people understand the trucking industry and support them throughout that first year. I explain how the industry works so drivers can find the niche that suits them best and make the most of their careers, both financially and with their enjoyment of this career.

I think you do a great job of that and never said otherwise. If it weren't for this website I don't know where I'd be in my career. But the big company push here (or at least that's what it's always felt like and I'm far from the only one in my opinion) gets old after a while. That's all.

(Thanks for fixing the formatting in my previous comment)

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