Comments By Llandros

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  • Llandros
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Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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From Teaching to Trucking - My Journey So Far

While I was out sick with this mystery illness, the phone rings again. It is October 19th and I am having a final 'interview' call - it's not really an interview but more of a 'this is what to expect in the process at this point' type of call. In addition, my recruiter has called several times to answer questions and just check in with me.

The background checks start in full swing on the 20th. I get a different call from another state that is a basic physical ability questionnaire. It's weird but nothing to intimidating. The questions are things such as 'can you lift this many pounds?' and "are you able to crawl under a trailer?'. It is a quick call lasting no more than about 10 minutes total.

Now the waiting game continues but at least I know that everything should be in order.

I return to work on Friday, the 21st. I still feel odd but not actually sick. Later in the evening, the pain starts but this time it's intense. It seems to be coming from my chest and the pains are shooting out to my shoulders, my neck, and my back. It becomes constant and intense just around the rib cage and I know that this could be serious. It's odd because I just had a physical on the 14th and things were fantastic. But not today. The choices are not good but I drive to the hospital. Better to check this out than let it go.

Here's the thing. If you go to the hospital complaining of chest pains and you have ANY family history of health problems (my father and uncles), well, you just bought yourself at least one overnight stay in the cardiac ward. They run my blood pressure and it is awful - 186 over 103! Two doctors notice a small red area on my back but it looks like I just leaned against that area and it left a mark. The next 26 hours are full of EKG's, stress tests, vital checks, and every heart monitoring test they can throw at me. It all comes back perfect and in fact, it takes a long time to get my heart rate up on the stress test. They ask if I work out - well, not as much as I should, but enough apparently to make a difference! The pain is gone but there is no explanation for it. I get discharged late Saturday night and head home to finally rest!

Monday, October 24th - JPT starts calling my references. I actually happen to be in the room during one of the calls. It was pretty straight forward as well - how long have you known the applicant, did they think I would be a good match for the job, those kinds of things. At this point, I know that things are getting close to being complete and I am more than ready for it.

But the mystery illness is about to reveal itself once and for all - and it's gonna get nasty from here!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

Llandros, here's my teacher hint: make sure you get your school paychecks to continue through August. Take your truck school while you have the income. Most company schools don't pay during school - before you get a CDL.

This was great advice but unfortunately, I can't do that. I've started a blog on the training forum to document my progress. It's going to be fun and scare all at the same time!

Here is the thread that I started if anyone is interested in reading about my experience. From Teaching to Trucking - My Journey So Far

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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From Teaching to Trucking - My Journey So Far

October 6th. I'm sitting in the rare peace and quiet of my classroom having lunch alone in the dark - I must add that this is one of the highlights of my day - and my phone rings. It's a Montana phone number and I answer it. I only have about 25 minutes for lunch but Alex, the recruiter, tells me that this will be a short interview. We talk and it is a very casual conversation. No tricky questions, just things like "Why trucking?" and "What made you think of Jim Palmer?" The interview ended and she said that with how the conversation went, she would pass my name on to the next phase - a second interview with the head of recruiting.

Well, I'm more than excited at this point but very anxious to get to the next step. It's a process but I am happy that they are taking their time and being selective. I have read about many orientations with 100 applicants that dwindle significantly. JPT brings anywhere from 1 to 5 at a time. It gives me time to get ready but each day is putting my start date at risk. A 2 week notice at work is expected and I need to travel from FL to MS to drop my pets off with my family. It's all doable, but a definite tight schedule.

I almost forget to stop at the store - there's this little thing called a hurricane that is hitting within 24 hours or so. School is cancelled and I am looking at no power and who knows what else. Still, I am too excited about the call and the next phase of the process! Fortunately, the hurricane becomes a non-issue and blows through with no real impact at all.

The next several days are nerve wracking waiting for the call. Finally, Oct. 11th, the phone rings. Again, I am at school but this time during planning. It's a great time to talk and the interview goes very well. Jennifer is very nice, professional, and asks similar questions. She also reminds me of the demands of the industry and what the lifestyle entails. It's all pretty much what I had hoped to hear and by the end of the conversation, she informs me that I will be getting a follow up call to go over some background checking information.

The next week, I stay home with some mystery illness. It almost feels like flu with the aches and pains, but I don't feel 'sick' at all. Still, its just a rough bout of something. I end up taking Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off (gotta use up those sick days while I can). The call comes through on Wednesday. The background checks are about to start. Still, I am in panic mode. I have been getting these 'Toll Violations' in the mail and they show a car and tag that is not mine but they insist that it is registered to me. It dawns on me that something could be very wrong on my DMV report. I'm already off and not feeling great, might as well go to the DMV and get this thing taken care of.

I get there and sure enough there is a problem. It is clear that the vehicle does not belong to me. It turns out that the same clerk handed out my plate to this other person and I got his. So all of his violations are now stacking up on mine. At this point, I feel like I am going to throw up. Who knows what else might be showing up on my report - unpaid fines, whatever. My brain is working overtime on what could be on there. I tell the clerk what I am doing - job search wise - and ask if she can tell if there is anything on my DMV report that would show up. She pulls up my record and I brace for whatever she is about to tell me....

...which is that there is nothing on there at all. She turns the monitor and shows me my free and clear report. I breathe a sigh of relief and get a new tag to put on the car. One crisis and hurricane averted, but the next is quickly on it's way. And this one, well, it doesn't end so nicely. Did I fail to mention that I am feeling more stressed than ever at this point?

Yeah...me, a dark cloud, and a whole lot of bad luck. But it's all in how you look at it and I'm not that easily discourage. So far, none of this is really that bad but the next, well, it puts me in a scary place. That's all in the next update! Hope you continue to follow along with me!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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From Teaching to Trucking - My Journey So Far

So here is how I originally thought this was going to work. I would work this school year (my 16th) and leave for a company sponsored school in June when both my job ended and my apartment lease expired. Yeah, not gonna happen. As it turned out, my lease expires in March. I really dislike the place that I live so to extend at the extreme rates that they charge for month-to-month leases was out of the question.

Well, the plan was moved up to start at the end of March. That didn't work either. You see, that means that I would leave just one week before the state testing - a horrible time to throw kids a curve ball like that. It doesn't help that I teach 3rd grade - a high stakes testing grade. So now I had to pick a new date to do this. Leaving at Christmas seemed to be a better choice. My lease was 'breakable' but required a two month penalty (paid immediately) and a 60 day notice - essentially 4 months. It was better to just let the lease expire and keep things in storage in the apartment. I could always move it out sometime in March when I got home time.

Now the current job is beyond miserable. I have literally checked out at this point. The workload demands were beyond insane and the micromanaging had become unbearable. In years past, you might get about 10-12 'visits' from admin in a year. We were already on number 27 and had only been in school 40 days. The morale in the school was terrible. You were now mandated of what you did every minute of the day and were scrutinized heavily - no room to adapt to teaching children in the ways that they needed. It felt like being in an after school job when I was 15. The breaking point was when my team was told (all of us 10-19 year veterans) that "for teachers, autonomy is earned". Well, so is respect and that just flew out the window. The writing was on the wall - making it to December was going to be tough.

But a new question formed. Why? Why MUST I wait until December? If the ship is sinking, get out before you go under. So I thought again. Who says that I can't start sooner? The answer was just as simple. The only one putting the restraints on me was actually me. With that, I made the decision to move now - every day in a miserable situation is just depriving me of a day that I could be in a better, happier, more fulfilling one.

I had looked over so many companies. I thought about Swift as I knew that they had a terminal (Memphis) close to my family home in Jackson, MS. I only really knew of about 3 companies at the time - Swift, J.B. Hunt, and C.R. England. But this site was what led me down the path to seeing a few other places. Before long, I had my notebook out and was making a short list of the companies that I found. I also read forum posts and looked at so many company websites that eventually all started to blur together.

It wasn't long until I had a short list of the places that appealed to me. My choices were, in no particular order, Prime, Wil-Trans, and Jim Palmer Trucking. I just kept coming back to each and they all had there strong points. Just when I was sold on one, another would sway me. I loved the amenities of Prime but having just come from 'being one of thousands', I liked the idea of a smaller company. Wil-Trans made the most sense as it was closer to my home but I leaned more to Jim Palmer as I really wanted to learn how to drive in the winds of Wyoming, the mountain passes of the Northwest, the craziness that is California...

So that was the decision. I would try for JPT. I put in the application (my only one) on Friday, Sept. 30. Within 90 minutes, my phone was ringing! I spoke with a recruiter named Alex and she detailed what the company offered. Having used this site, I knew everything she was about to say! In just a short conversation, I was very confident that I had made the right choice. She told me that she would put my name through and that I would begin the interview process the next week.

I was excited but cautious. All the advice here said to apply for multiple positions. But here I was, putting all my eggs in one basket. Still, I knew that I was doing this and had researched the industry and the company enough to know that I was comfortable with what was happening. I started the High Road course on this site (I can't recommend in highly enough!) and although some of it was like reading a foreign language, I was doing pretty good. Keeping my average at or above 95%. It was alot and time was going to go fast. I was shooting for a start date of Nov. 7. There was no time to lose so I put my heart into studying as well as packing up my apartment. After all, once I started training, I would only be coming back here to move my things out!

Nothing like a little stress to get you moving. But that's when everything went to hell in a hand basket! Did I fail to mention that I sometimes have a 'dark cloud' that seems to like to follow me? Well, it was about to rain down on me once again!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

From Teaching to Trucking - My Journey So Far

Ok, this is going to be long - telling you that on the front end but I do want to be as thorough as possible in documenting this career transition. Hopefully it entertains and maybe even informs at least one person out there - I know I have really enjoyed all the training journals that I have had the pleasure to read over the last few months.

For the past 15 years, I have been a teacher. It was my fall-back career. The trouble is that I never knew what I really wanted to do so it became my primary career. The past 10 years have been pretty miserable as the industry declined in ways that I never really imagined. Still, I had no idea of what else I could or would want to do so I just stayed put. The misery and frustrations only strengthened with time.

Every year for as long as I have been teaching I have shared with friends and family what my 'summer plans' were going to be - I would close my apartment for a few months and head out in the car on a cross-country road trip with no real purpose except to just travel. I clear my head on the road and it always makes me feel so much better. My yearly 700 mile trips home to see family were always the highlights of my year. But as is normal, plans never came through and that dream was always pushed aside due to other responsibilities.

That is until this past summer. I traveled home to assist with my mom as she underwent back surgery. Once I had been there long enough to know that she was on the mend, I traveled back home - overnight, in a car with no AC in the deep south in July! Again, my thoughts were always on what I should be doing and not doing with my life and I kept thinking "if only I could find a job that would allow me to travel, work independently, be away from home most of the time (I have no kids or relationships to stop me), and just work in a job that would reward me for the work that I put in..." All the while, these large 18-wheelers were whizzing past me and it just clicked - why not drive a truck? I'd never even considered it.

So now it's off to do the research - internet, youtube videos, you name it. And it was all there. Everything that I was seeing was just exactly what I had been looking for. I kept reading. Before you know it, I landed here and on a few other sites. Then, just when everything was looking so promising, I saw the high turnover rate and the first red flag was raised. Why are so many people entering and leaving? What am I missing? Digging some more, it seemed that it all boiled down to two basic areas that repeated the most. Sure, there were others, but these two were the most consistent.

Lack of home time and isolation - there it was, in black and white. Well, for me, home time was actually better on the road. At best, I see my family 7 days in an entire year - all during Christmas break. I live 700 miles from the nearest family. It's tough, but trucking actually looks like it could get me home multiple times in a year. And even if I only stayed 2-3 days a trip and made it back 5-6 times a year, I'd be doing much better than now. Plus, everything I do in my home I can do in a truck - EVERYTHING! I already live an isolated life so I knew that I could be more than comfortable on my own. Earlier in the year I had looked into working on a cruise ship. I was ready for a 'nomadic' existence. Still, that seemed to be 'Disney on a Boat' and I had already given my years to the Mouse when I first moved to Orlando. So the trucking lifestyle was very much an appealing part of the package.

By now, I was sold on the industry, the life style, everything. I even drove to the nearest truck stops to me several times and walked around the lot - just trying to notice the companies that were there. Starting noticing the 'back side' to these stops that I never knew was there. Each trip got me more and more excited about making this transition. It was just a question of where to start and when to get started. As it turned out, both of those questions would get different answers as time moved on. To my surprise, both answers would come in a much different way than I originally anticipated. What's that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men?....

Believe me, there is more to come...I'm just getting started and I hope I didn't bore you to much with this introduction. Still, I hope that you will join me as I move my story along. There's more to tell!

Llandros (Scott)

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Saying goodbye...

Best of luck to you! Been following you on Twitter so I knew about this earlier (your email from your dispatcher was awesome!). I know you are happy to be able to bring your dog along - it must have been hard to be away from him.

I will continue following and keeping up with you. I should be getting started on my first trucking job within the next 3.5 weeks. (Nervous but excited!) Looking forward to hearing about your new company!

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Jim Palmer cdl training

Hey Robby - I've been working with a recruiter there as well and am hoping to be there November 7 - hope it works out and maybe see you around sometime! Waiting on interview 2 and all the verification checks to clear - getting anxious but just waiting on them at this point before I quit my job and head that way! Have not heard from Aaron now for a couple of weeks so I am sure he is busy and most likely running on his own and taking some home time about now. Good luck on getting out there on the 24th - they must have finished all your interview process by now I assume.

Hey Aaron...thank toy so much for your thread...I've not only enjoyed reading it, but have learned enough from it to apply at Palmer! I spoke with my recruiter today and he is trying to get me on 10-24-2016...just under two weeks from now! Looks like I'll be taking that bus ride from hell...from Texas to Montana...in late October!! embarrassed.gif I'm going to create a thread similar to yours to document all this...even thinking about keeping a video log and posting on YouTube...we'll see how all that goes. Anyway, thanks again, be safe, how to see you on the road sometime and share a cup of Joe.. God speed!!

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Jim Palmer cdl training

Congrats on getting to your final week! I'm sure you are excited and ready to get your own truck and go off on your own.

I finally got things lined up and have a tentative start date with Jim Palmer in December - nervous about it as I have never been in a truck in my life but excited to get started. Going to go back through this thread and work on what I can before then. Please continue to post once you are in your truck - still following along with you on this end!

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Jim Palmer trucking

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June? That's a lot of ducks.

What part of Florida you from?

I've been trying to line my ducks up for 6 years now. LOL...

Maybe this year finally...

Rick

Orlando - main thing is I am stuck in an apartment through April and the contract with my job until May. I could break both but there are penalties for each - plus I am planning to move my stuff back to Mississippi early spring and get my regular license changed so that will be my home time location. Believe me, if I could go today, I would! But will take advantage of the studying time until then.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

I'm bumping this thread up because it has been VERY instrumental in helping me figure out the next part of my life. Big thank you to Errol V. for starting this thread. Just like him, I am a teacher - and am beyond the point of where I should have gotten out. Currently in my 16th year but will finish this contract, ride out the apartment lease, and transition to trucking in June. This thread was important because I have read about so many different people with such a varied background.

Honestly, this thread along with all the wealth of information on this forum (thank you Brett! - and everyone else that contributes in whatever manner) I would never have probably thought I could do this. But I'm looking forward to starting. For now, I lurk and am using the tools to study like a mad man - at least for 8 months!

So mark my answer to the question as a teacher that has finally discovered a new direction and can't wait to get started.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Jim Palmer trucking

Mr. M, one of our student members Aaron has an outstanding Jim Palmer training thread in the diary section. If you haven't already check it out, it's a good read.

I'll give a second vote for Aaron's thread. It is excellent and have read it now several times. JP is one of the two that I am most seriously considering when I get to start - although that is not going to happen until June for me (gotta get all the ducks in a row!)

Good luck if you go with them and keep us all updated regardless of where you go.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Jim Palmer cdl training

Prime and JP are two of the three that I am looking at - the third is Wil-Trans (which owns JP). I can't get started until June (not happy to have to wait that long) due to a work and lease contract that ends around that time. I like the smaller training size with JP and WT but love the access to doctors and such with Prime. Also, i have two pets that are inseparable and Prime only allows one - still not sure on the limit with the others but that may require leaving both pets with a family member. I'll be 'living' in MS but that will be irrelevant since I don't need excessive home time there - would rather take some time when wanted in other areas of the country.

Good luck on heading out in October - hope you keep us posted.

And so glad that Aaron started this thread - have read it multiple times as well as several others. Now the hard part of waiting until I can finally make the move to this. So beyond ready to get this started!

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime PSD experience

Hi Rainy! I really enjoyed reading through your experience. Prime is a company that I am considering although I won't be starting until late spring next year. I did have a question. I know that you have a pet on your truck and that it requires a deposit. From what I have read, Prime only allows one pet, is that correct? The reason I ask is that I have a two sibling cats that are devastated when I even attempt to separate them in two rooms. I could leave them at home but would prefer to take them with me once I am able to. Have you heard of anyone being allowed more than one pet as a solo company driver?

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Best States to be a Truck Driver

Planning on going for my CDL next year - currently live in Orlando but going to be moving to my family's house in Jackson, MS - I would think that would be a bit easier than trying to get back to FL from what I have read.

I see alot of companies that advertise in Jackson so I am hoping that it is a decent place for different employers - am I wrong in this thinking?

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