Profile For Ryan R.

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    2 years, 11 months ago

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Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

I posted in here because I was provoked by what was said. It wasn't for help, and it wasn't to try to show, "what I know". I just felt it wasn't a fair summary of the situation.

I am actually trying to decide what my next step will be. I haven't decided if I want to return to the school I already paid for that guarantees a pass or not. I mostly sit around there all day watching other people drive a truck, the truck is in bad shape, and I have no confidence in the trainer. With the duration it takes to get a DMV appointment, and knowing how a person can fail because the DMV has arbitrary requirements (depending on location and examiner) I can't even expect to pass in any reasonable amount of time.

I was pondering company sponsored training since they tend to get their own DMV examiner, and things move a lot faster, but I'm also on the fence about that since I've read a lot of bad stories. So if you actually want to help me, what would you recommend? :P What company has the best school? I mean, I know this website has reviews on schools, but it's not particularly critical, and even CR England looks good.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

G-Town,

Saying you can easily refute things I say, without refuting any of it, boils down to posturing. You managed to take the time to say a lot, but it's preaching. I'm sure it looks good to people that already see things the way you do. I teased Patrick because he teased me first, but in your demented little way of thinking, that's ok because he's an established member, and he's supporting your viewpoint on things. I actually ignored the people I really found stupid. :)

You want those entering the industry to think that the status quo is something to aspire to falling into line with instead of wanting better than the cesspool it often is. Anyway, we are oil and water, and I want to hear your take on things probably about as much as you want to hear mine. It isn't psuedo-knowledge that I know the DMV has different standards at different locations. I experienced it first hand because the second school I went to uses a different DMV. The handbook, the DMV, and various schools are not on the same page. I find it incredibly obnoxious that the people in the industry are so weak minded as to let such discrepancies slip, and that all the people being pushed through the broken system are so willing to submit to it, as to not make a scene and lessen their chances of getting through it. I actually confronted the DMV minions with their actual handbook and read it to them, challenging them to show me evidence of my basis for failure. They could not. Then I contacted the guy that was head of the federal hanbook, and challenged him with the same thing. He could not. Further, I can prove that truck drivers, on average, have very low scores on aptitude testing. I can also show you a sea of people claiming they've been screwed over by the industry, but the ridiculous theme here is to blame the victims. It's their own fault, look at their ****y attitude, after they got screwed over! *rolls eyes*

My opinions of such a nature are firmly grounded on a lot of data, and I am not one bit humble about it. I am good at such things. In contrast, I'm happy to admit much incompetence at driving a truck. I wish to fix that, but I have to navigate this sea of filth to get good... and even when that happens, it doesn't mean much in terms of my ability to make money at it. I also believe that, at the very least, Brett knows there is a truth to viewpoints - he just doesn't find them pragmatic enough.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Patrick C.,

Repairing Blackhawks actually sounds fairly impressive. Why did you decide to be a truck driver instead of a truck mechanic? I'd make a better mechanic than a truck driver myself, but I'd rather be a truck driver so I guess I should understand. Back when I was looking into truck driving years ago, I found some vocational studies and parsed it for truck drivers. Overall, they really did score extremely low on most aptitude testing. Then again, learning backing skills kicked my butt. I partly blame the school though... every single person in my group failed the DMV driving test the first time, and we had the highest scores in the classroom nonsense before that, and one guy was already a professional driver, yet he failed at the DMV. Partly the DMV is just completely inept too, though. I failed the first time due to air brakes for a reason that isn't even covered in the California handbook, nor the federal handbook, and I did it that way with a trainer every single time, but none of the DMV minions cared when I showed them. Every DMV actually has different class A expectations too. It's ridiculous. The whole industry is painfully ridiculous. It takes like 2+ months to get an appointment to be tested, and I couldn't plan that far ahead so here I am two years later and still without a class A.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

The entire industry does. It's a performance-based industry in every way. If you don't perform, you won't succeed. Not as a company, not as a driver.

Since your perceived performance relies on the loads you're given, and you are somewhat at the mercy of others for that, I'd wager performance in terms of miles is as subject to whether said others likes you or not, as much as whether you're working hard and doing your job well. I actually have a neighbor who was fired from systems because she didn't have enough miles, but they weren't giving her any loads. They gave her no warning and took the truck she was driving away from her hundreds of miles from home, with no help getting back.

So is that a good thing? I'm not sure what you're saying. I don't understand the point of that to be honest.

I'm suggesting that you're blaming victims in some cases.

Actually I don't think I implied that at all. I certainly didn't mean to. I've never even had that thought. But the people I'm referring to in this podcast are not normally productive workers. That's why they're always sitting around truck stops and terminals. Even if they wanted to work hard, which most of them certainly don't, they don't perform at a top tier level so they're not going to get the miles that the top tier drivers get anyhow.

Maybe they're sitting around complaining because no one is giving them loads because someone in charge of them doesn't like them? Or maybe their company really is incompetent and has major issues?

...and some will invest in you. They'll pony up the cash, equipment, and personnel it takes to get you trained and get your new career underway. Then they'll hire you once you've completed their training. All you have to do is work hard, have a great attitude, and not screw it up for yourself. It never ceases to amaze me what a small percentage of people seem to be able to manage it, though.

If you go into it thinking the company is trying to exploit you then you're almost certainly doomed to fail for all the reasons I explained in the podcast. So you can choose to be cynical toward your new company or you can choose to be ambitious toward your new career. There are plenty of people on either side of that fence and the results they get are strikingly different.

You can also be cynical about your company and still work hard towards your goal, and that should be enough. No truck driver should have to kiss some idiot's behind to get a decent load and do well.

So what does being a "no" man enable then? And that's not a smart*ss question. I really would like to know where you think you're going to get by being hardheaded and difficult and cynical.

Obviously I'm not talking about self interest. I'm talking about not being a total tool. I want to be a truck driver, and I don't need people enabling expectations of being a sycophant towards management in order to do well.

But being a hardheaded failure instead would make you what, an admirable nobleman? And again, that's not a smartass question. But you keep making these one sided statements about how horrible it is to be this or that, but you never explain what someone should be instead or where they'll get by being that way. You're complaining and criticizing, but you're not offering alternative solutions of any sort. People need a strategy they can execute on, not just a list of complaints or a list of things you shouldn't be.

Success tainted by sycophancy isn't success. It's just having money.

Now interestingly enough, someone apparently signed in under your name or you took some strong meds and posted this:

Who said that? That certainly wasn't the same person who posted all that previous stuff, unless our friend Bolt had an influence on you:

My theme is the same, and there is a pragmatic side to me, but it doesn't compromise integrity, or allow myself to be deluded in lies so I'm more ambitious. I actually kind of like you, but so far my actual exposure to the trucking industry has been abysmal outside of these online communities. I posted my experience with the school I went to here over a year ago, and the school I paid to go to after that guarantees a pass, but they have a ton of problems themselves, and I ended up getting a new job before that worked for me. I quit that job and now trucking is in my sights again.

See, it's one thing to complain and criticize. Any knucklehead can do that, and they do it quite frequently. It's quite another to raise a valid concern and then start a professional conversation with the right people by offering some better alternatives.

Nonconstructive complaining tends to happen after constructive criticism is ignored. My trucking school simply didn't seem to care about any of their blatant failures, and I have this nagging feeling already that the industry is full of idiots. I can handle that mostly, but they're going to hear about it sometimes.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

double-quotes-start.png

I think you've oversimplified things. You tie success to performance, but I'm sure there are plenty of skilled truckers that, at one point, worked hard, that are now complaining at the terminals. You imply that the complainers can't possibly be productive workers, which also isn't true. I'm a huge complainer everywhere I've worked, but I've always become the most productive worker. That doesn't stop me from quitting when I can't tolerate it anymore, but being a "yes" man just enables exploitation...

and big business WILL exploit you. So yeah, you'll definitely be more likely to be successful as a sycophant, but that makes you a pathetic dog.

double-quotes-end.png

What's the point in complaining other than making you sound like a spoiled 2 year old. There are constant complainers where iWork now and while they may be good solid hands I try ti,put them,in **** jobs just because they complain. I'm not a yes man, but I also don't complain either.

My question though is, when,i get to school if I see a student getting sucked into the terminal rat mode of thinking can he or she be pulled back from the dark side before its too late?

A shared consensus of something being wrong, combined with acting on it in some pragmatic manner, is a means of positive change. Further, it helps to get it off your chest. People that just put up with anything and don't open their mouths enable the greatest evils in this world. They might be better off because of it, but they're a part of the problem.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

I think you've oversimplified things. You tie success to performance, but I'm sure there are plenty of skilled truckers that, at one point, worked hard, that are now complaining at the terminals. You imply that the complainers can't possibly be productive workers, which also isn't true. I'm a huge complainer everywhere I've worked, but I've always become the most productive worker. That doesn't stop me from quitting when I can't tolerate it anymore, but being a "yes" man just enables exploitation...

and big business WILL exploit you. So yeah, you'll definitely be more likely to be successful as a sycophant, but that makes you a pathetic dog.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

Brett Aquila: Can you point us to any resources that show a school with a 98% passing rate on the DMV exams?

I believe there is one in Modesto that is above it. I had linked to it on the WPTS facebook page, but they deleted it. Real fast since I don't want to waste time digging through fact sheets, here is the closest I see right now. Academy of Truck Driving. The reason it's for 2012 and 2013 is simply because 2013 is the latest reporting year on the BPPE website (Yes, it doesn't make any sense). http://www.bppe.ca.gov/annual_report/2013/0106731_pfs.pdf

The sum of the rate of passage for all programs / the sum of total taking the exam, for both years = 234/239 ~= 97.9% So I'm 0.1% wrong pretending that is the best, which it isn't. :P

Another great example of total cluelessness. Tell me Ryan, after you get your CDL and go to your first company are they going to give you the truck you want? Are they going to let you drive the truck you trained in at school because you're comfortable with it? When the truck you're comfortable with hits 500,000 miles and they reassign you a different truck because they want to trade that one in are you going to come back here and blast the company's management for it? Is that also going to be considered passive/aggressiveness or incompetence on the part of management?

Surely you understand the difference between being given a different truck that you've never driven in, and then being tested with it before you have a feel for it all, after not having the opportunity to drive and practice anything for months, is vastly different than being given a different truck in general. Further, I was only decent at driving their only modern truck. It was the old clunky models with loose steering and destroyed gears that gave me all sorts of trouble - this is the kind I got for my test.

Also, you guys are pointing out things I did not know about the industry to attempt to undermine... what? I've already admitted to being an incompetent truck driver, and attending a school at all gives evidence to my having decided to become a truck driver without knowing a lot of things. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone... I could just go pass the exam and drive. My incompetence as a truck driver is being addressed by going to a different school because this one didn't do it for me. I call out incompetence when I see it when it relates to me and when it relates to others. What is going on here is that you don't like me, and so you are suspending parts of your critical thinking when it accommodates mocking, insulting, or discrediting me. As I said to start with, this post wasn't meant for a veteran truck driver. It was meant for a noob, as I fully admit I am. When it comes to things I describe you believe I should have known, they are now things that noobs will know when they read my post. I could devolve into flinging poo with you again, but we know you have the upper hand since you can simply delete everything I say, and it doesn't really prove anything anyway. The status quo is not a measure of what is right - it is a measure of is.

I do not call everyone in the industry an idiot. Infact, I have some exceedingly positive things to say about a select few.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

My biggest beef is with management. Between my DMV exam failures, I was given very little time for extra training. They pretend that they keep training you until you pass, but for me it was more that any training I got was with a DMV examiner during my driving exam. The management insisted that I was a good driver despite the fact that one DMV examiner explicitly told me to tell the manager of the school, Bryan, that I needed more training. I told him, he did not care. The examiner also told me that the last person she tested from my school also complained about not getting enough training. One of the most infuriating things that happened to me twice was that the Bryan scheduled time for me to come in to practice, and then when I got there at the scheduled, there was no truck and no trainer to train me. Another one of the times I showed up as he scheduled, he acted like I was trying to pull one over on him. It is a long drive for me to get there, and it costs me time and gas money to get there each time. Further, the office has you sign in when you arrive, and then they tried to use my initials as proof that I got training to the woman that arranged my funding. Very dishonest.

Even worse, I was given a truck I’d never driven before on my third and final driving test, and was denied my request for the truck I was once decent at driving. I’m not sure if this was passive aggressive, incompetence or both, but it pretty unforgivable to take their student’s future so lightly. Between driving tests, you have to wait literally months before you can schedule a new one - all this time money isn’t coming in, and your driving skills rust further. I just recently requested more funding for a different trucking school since I am an incompetent truck driver, and the job training management spoke with the school’s management. I’m unclear on all of the details of their interactions, but I do know the school told the training management that they had tried to call me many times recently. It’s a complete and utter lie, which I can and would love to prove with my phone records. It has been a while since I’ve come to any of the school’s management with my grievances because it’s very unlikely to turn out good for either of us. I just simply want nothing to do with them.

It is my firm belief that the management is dishonest, and the whole school is run very poorly, but do feel free to look into the objective measures in the annual reports linked to at the start. The passage rate for this year is probably going to be even lower than last year.

Good luck! If you'd like suggestions of other schools in the area I've looked into already, feel free to contact me.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

As I’ve said before, I have a lot of respect for my trainer, but he really was not for me. I had trouble understanding his strong accent, and I think he didn’t want to be training at night because he wasn’t doing a very good job. I watched him training guys during the day, and he was an entirely different person. I wouldn’t be surprised if the school’s management forced it on him. That said, I feel I was misled by him in many ways. He taught us to do various backing skills by using the struts on the trailer as a visual cue. During the DMV test I was given a different trailer with different struts, which has a lot to do with why I failed one of my skills tests. Then again, I feel it takes a great deal of incompetence on the management to not realize things like this and provide the consistency required. The trainers and the management are not really on the same page often. Another way I failed at the DMV was on the airbrake test doing the governor cut in. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but it would require too much time explain, and this is already getting long winded. Read the CDL handbook airbrake section to understand. I did it at the DMV the same way I did it in front of my trainer and passed every time. However, my DMV examiner wanted me to wait longer between pressing the brake for cut-in. The CDL handbook does not actually specify a duration of time required, and the brakes passed the test so I think my examiner was needlessly picky. I argued my point as best I could, but you can’t really win at the DMV. When I told other trainers about it, they told me that it was known the DMV examiners were like that, yet my trainer passed me doing the same thing every time. On the subject of the examiners, don’t let them rush you or tell you to skip over things because they do and then they persecute you for it. Be detailed, reiterate yourself on everything during the pre-trip because they told me to skip sections and then marked me down for doing so. I still passed the pre-trip, but not with the near perfect score I should have. Bore them. It’s your future, not theirs.

One of the scariest ways I feel I was misled on was doing right turns. As the handbook explains, you’re not supposed to swing out first because it puts a gap between your trailer and the curb, which invites a car behind you to try to squeeze in. Instead, you’re supposed to swing out as you complete the turn so your trailer doesn’t offtrack into the curb. However, in the real world, you can’t always swing out into oncoming traffic, and there is a compromise, which my trainer actually thwarted me for doing naturally. It wasn’t until I was with another trainer that I found out my natural instinct was right. As you approach the turn, you want to swing into the curb and then away as you’re making the turn, and then swing out as you finish as much as necessary without hitting a car. Basically, you’re making an S. When I was put into traffic during the day with a lot of traffic doing a hard right turn, I did the turn as my trainer had expected, and I very nearly hit a car. The surrogate trainer I was with at the time explained what I should have done – what I wanted to do before my trainer stopped me. He made me aware of many things I was doing wrong that my trainer had either had me do or never informed me was wrong. I asked management for him many times, and even though they told me explicitly that they would give me more time with him, I never got it. Since I have nothing but good things to say about him, his name is Able. He’s sharp, annoyingly exact and disgustingly obsessed with safety. He’ll mock you, he’ll ride your ass and make you completely aware of your incompetence – he’ll make you a good driver. I could continue with examples, but I would end up writing a book.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

Next up was the crucial aspect of it all, learning our skills. I chose the late night four hour time slot because I wanted to insure I’d get the smallest class size. Out of respect for my instructor, I will not share his name. I had a hard time understanding him due to his strong accent, but I must admit that the other two in my group did not. I guess I’m not around Spanish speakers often so I had not acclimated to it as those that live in the area have. We started out learning to straight line back - it was harder than I expected, but I was alright at it. The guy that couldn’t straight line back to save his life was hogging the majority of the time, while my other classmate and stood around watching. I felt this was unfair because I needed practice too. This theme persisted throughout my training as the worst of us drug cones around – to my great amusement, I’ve seen up to 4 cones dragging around with him with one cone stuck between the tandems flopping around as the wheel turned, and the tractor bouncing about as he ground gears. Once the guy got angry, no cone was safe. I went into the office pretty early on complaining about getting less time, and wanting more, but the lady was snippy with me, informed me that it wasn’t true, and that I would not be able to get extra time. The guy that was better than I was got even less time behind the wheel.

Our skills training was extremely monotonous. I watched others practice the majority of the time, and when it was my turn, I still sat around stuck in first gear anytime I pulled forward because that is the school’s rule. So I practiced my skills less than 1/3 of the time, and 1/2 of that time was spent crawling forward. It is probably safe to expect about 1/6 of your 4 hours actually practicing backing. I started to complain about this as well, and we did end up with another truck or two to practice in at times. I’m pretty sure this had nothing to do with my complaining because the school was consistent at proving to me that they did not care what I had to say. They might talk like they have your back, but they really don’t. Talk is cheap, actual training is not, and they’re in it to make money.

Another big issue for me was that I couldn’t see the cones since we were training in the dark. It was very frustrating because many times I’d not see any cones or the wrong cones, etc. I complained about it continuously. There are some lights on in the campus, but not enough to light the whole area up, and sometimes all you get is a light in your mirror making it impossible to see anything else. It got to the point where I was bringing in my own power source and light, but it wasn’t really helping either. The cones weren’t lighted, and it was simply a frustrating nightmare. An experienced driver that was a graduate of the school showed up on the very last night, and was showing off a bit. I noticed that he had his four way flashers going and asked why. It was so he could see the cones reflecting with the flash. So all that time I was training and complaining about not being able to see, my trainer couldn’t tell me to turn on the four way flashers? I like the guy, but I felt like a dope for not even realizing to try it myself, and he couldn’t have suggested it? Anyway, if you make the mistake of going to the school, don’t also make the mistake of training at night. It’s a night-mare.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

I started my journey down their road after visiting the campus in Stockton. I spoke with a woman named Cynthia, who informed me that I may be able to get the school paid for entirely with a grant. I was delighted to hear such news. She also had me sign a form claiming I had been given a tour of the campus – I hadn’t, but what did I care? I soon learned that signing for things that didn’t really happen was commonplace with the school, but it’s mostly done with the students not realizing what they are signing for. I followed up on the call to the woman I was referred to. After answering questions, meeting in person, taking tests, and filling out paperwork, I was golden. My way was paid for. I was given the option of going to some other schools, but I felt I should be loyal to the school that informed me of my good fortune.

Then came orientation. My first annoyance was noting that Cynthia was being extremely stingy over items of very little value. She was verbose about only those that had already paid for the program being able to sit down in front of a few dollars’ worth of supplies. We sat down and listened to the school’s job placement woman for a while, were given a bunch of phone numbers to call, and went through endless amounts of inane paperwork to sign. In came the school’s manager - I didn’t like him from the start. He comes across as very smug, and never misses a chance to be annoyingly glib. He looks a lot like Santa clause sans the outfit. The first thing he did was try to open the file cabinet by, “picking” the lock with a paper clip. He just shoved it in the keyhole and twisted it around wildly, and then asked if anyone in the room knew how to pick locks. Clearly he didn’t, he wasn’t even using anything as a tensioner, nor seeming to have a clue about pins. He then informed us he was a rebel. Mr. Rebel continued to inform us of the school’s rules, which reminded me of being in grade school again. Further, we were agreeing to random drug testing as if we were criminals. We filled out paperwork, listened to him mock a few students, were informed of how great a decision we had made, and went on our way. Not everything he said about what a great decision we had made was even true. Our classroom was a rotting mobile trailer with a ceiling that looked like it was going to fall in on us. I left fuming feeling I had certainly made a mistake.

I called up the school the next day to see if Bryan would be my instructor because I was going to quit right then and there if he was. I was relieved to find out he wasn’t. My classroom instructor was Ken. I liked him. He was easy going, informative, full of wisdom, and didn’t ride my butt for breaking inane rules. I do believe that the classroom aspect was a waste of time and money because we could all read the handbook and study it on our own, but Ken made it as palatable as possible. We spent a week on studying the CDL handbook, and just barely skimmed over the hazmat section on the last day. Off we went to take the permit tests… it was a breeze. If you want to pass the written tests, all you have to do is read the handbook, take a few online sample tests, and if you did well, you’re going to pass – just make sure to thoroughly investigate every question you got wrong until you understand why perfectly. I passed one the sample tests before I even studied just guessing to see what it was all about. Make sure to get all your endorsements because it’s very simple and opens a lot of doors. Further, just passing isn’t good enough. Know that handbook by heart because this is what we’re choosing to do with our lives, and mediocre isn’t good enough. Also, get your TSA background check started as soon as you can. We were all instructed to do it after the permit test on the day of orientation, but that was when we were being bombarded with new information, and it was only briefly touched by Cynthia in her fast paced flailing ways. Out of the others I trained with, I was the only one that remembered to do it.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Western Pacific Truck School - The Road to Failure

So I posted this once before and it quickly digressed into a poo flinging competition. Let me preemptively address some of the haters. 1. According to the instructors at WPTS, I was not a poor student, and I did well. 2hyl44.jpg 2. I do not believe that WPTS takes the full blame for my failure. Some students do pass, but there are far better schools, and far cheaper schools.

3. Their exam passage rate for 2014 was 55% http://wptruckschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/spfs-stockton-class-a-cdl.pdf There are schools with an exam passage rate of 98%+

4. I, "graduated" from the school so I am included in the graduation statistic.

5. Ironically, I might even be included in the placement rate statistic since they got me pre employed with SWIFT, against my wishes

6. I am not looking for people to tell me that I do not have a chance in the industry, etc. It is not constructive, and it's called taking a **** on my thread. If you want to hate on me, go do it elsewhere. This is for new truck drivers such as myself - I wish someone posted this for me before I went.

7. I am now going to a different school. I do not have an opinion on it yet.

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