Profile For Ernie L.

Ernie L.'s Info

  • Location:
    Statesboro, GA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 6 months ago

Ernie L.'s Bio

I'm a liberal arts grad who decided to pursue a career in trucking, for the time being anyway.

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Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Am I in over my head here?

This sounds like a dray service company, perhaps a small one. With thin profit margins. My first question Ernie; how much homework did you do to check them out? How is their equipment? How many drivers?

I couldn't glean much about the company from their website, except that they are a port LTL and drayage company. The reviews I read online were mixed, though mostly positive. It appears as though the company is growing, which has to be good in some respect. One driver said everything was good, except no benefits. That was two years ago, and they offer benefits now. There were the typical one-star reviews ('lies, lies, no overtime pay, have to lie on log books,' etc.), but I've seen those with both of the other companies I've worked for.

Making demands and threats? Do you really think that’s the right way to handle things as a new employee? You are a driver, but the CEO. And then entertaining a “back-stabbing” conversation with the person assigned to train you...bad form Bro. You got sucked-in that quick! Bottom feeder, get trained and stay away from anyone who tries to pull you under. You should not involve him (the trainer) in any of this. He’s already revealed to you that he cannot be trusted. He’ll run his mouth to management about you, guard your words around him and stick to business. Be professional. Address your issues with management.

Luckily I will not be training with him this week.

You mentioned they were trying to calm you down. Did you lose your cool over this? In front of them? Of everything you wrote this actually is most concerning and can hurt your career progression in so many ways. I suggest focusing on what triggers this kind of reaction and work on limiting the emotional response. Huge problem for a new employer if the think they are dealing with a Diva. Gut check...I think you know what I can say here, others already have.

I did not raise my voice with anyone. I was probably a PITA, though. Not a good look.

My advice? Don’t be a dumbass and quit. You’d have three companies on your resume, heading to your fourth in what? 18 months? Work it out. Give them a chance. Give yourself a chance! I think many have given you very good advice here on how-to accomplish this. Get it done.

Take charge of your career, take pride being a professional. Think about what you are doing and expect there to be unforeseen challenges; adjust using your head and keep your cool. Pay your dues embracing your “lowest man on the totem pole” status and prove they “right” for hiring you. Be “that” driver who they consider a top performer. You’ve been here for a while and should know what that means. Read our dairies, read articles in the blog section, get your trucker mind reset and right.

Commit to this company and give them your very best. You’ll have nothing to be embarrassed about. I look forward to reading your updates and sharing with us some success stories.

Good luck.

Thank you for the encouragement. I am better than this, I know it.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Am I in over my head here?

You guys are right. I am allowing nerves to sabotage a potentially golden opportunity. If I get the chance, I'll apologize to my boss ASAP. More than likely I imagine he won't want to talk to me, which is fine, too. I have never handled freight before, and it is a bit intimidating to be handling such high-value freight, but if I can hack it, it'll be very valuable experience in the industry.

Banks, you're right: I have a lot of growing up to do. It is embarrassing for me to be acting so childish toward my employer, and I'm standing on really shaky ground, as I have those accidents on my record with Werner. I did tell him that if I was going to work on this account I would need a lot more training than just the two weeks (and then promptly insisted that I did not want to be on this account), but if they're willing to work with me, I will be grateful.

It must be confounding to see this type of behavior in an adult. I am embarrassed.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Am I in over my head here?

To clear anything up regarding Western Express, after I took my hiatus, I returned to the company and finished my contract amicably.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Am I in over my head here?

You seem to struggle more than most, Ernie. You also have some baggage, which makes me think you might have some trouble getting hired.

Let's look at your history. You fired from Werner because of preventable accidents and Western Express took a chance on you. You weren't happy there either and wanted out because they weren't getting you home enough. They said they'd work on it, but I'm guessing you didn't give them a chance too and you left. How did that end? You left us hanging.

Sorry I didn't tell everyone how Western Express ended. I ended up returning to the company and finishing out the contract. I was recruited by Port City and told Western I was going to leave at the end of the contract. I turned in my truck and left.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Am I in over my head here?

So I just started a new job. It's a local job, just under an hour commute from my house. Port City Logistics, out of Savannah, GA. On orientation day, I forget to bring my TWIC card. My mistake. I tell the HR person about it, and she makes a phone call. On my orientation sheet, she changes the name of the boss I am supposed to meet with later that day. I get to the building, and the boss isn't there. I call the HR lady again, and she makes another phone call. She calls me back to tell me my trainer will be there in the next 1 1/2 hours, apologizes for the inconvenience, etc. She texts me my trainer's number. Turns out I'm going to have two trainers, one for each of the first two weeks. My first trainer picks me up. He's driving a box truck (I was expecting to drive tractor-trailer). Turns out I'll be training on the Gulfstream account, which rarely goes into the ports. The first two days of training go relatively smoothly, with my trainer teaching me about the tablet and how to record 'moves' (most of our runs are under two miles) between Gulfstream buildings around the Savannah Airport. One thing, though, is that my trainer is constantly handling freight, which he says he does of his own volition, as the warehouse workers 'take too long.' On the third day, I make several mistakes in the tablet, and struggle with strapping down expensive airplane parts. At the end of the day I talk to my trainer about switching accounts. He agrees that that would probably be a good idea, and we commiserate a bit about jobs and bosses. I tell him I had expected to be pulling containers out of the port, doing drop-and hooks, that that's what the recruiter had told me I would be doing, and no one had told me otherwise. Granted, I did forget my TWIC card the first day, which is my fault, but I would still prefer to do the job I signed up for, not switch accounts entirely. My trainer gives me our boss's number.

The next morning my trainer informs me that he'll be doing the load securement, he hopes I'll understand, etc. I agree. I don't want to be on this account anyway. I call our boss. After he screens my first call, my second one gets through and I tell him I would like to switch accounts. I tell him I want to talk to Jacob (name changed), who is in charge of the ports (info I have via my trainer). He tells me he'll talk to Jacob for me. I couple hours pass, and I get no phone call. I call again and get voicemail. I send him a text telling him that I will not be showing up for work next Monday if I am still on this account. He calls me, and I ask if he has talked to Jacob yet. He tells me he has, and that Jacob is fine with me changing to a port account, but could I please finish training on the Gulfstream account first, then if I'm still not comfortable, I can switch. I tell him I don't want to finish training on this account, that I want to switch as soon as possible. He tells me he'll see what he can do. An hour or so later he sends me a text, telling me to please report to work on Monday to continue training on the Gulfstream account. I tell my trainer about this. He tells me our boss is a liar, that he never even talked to Jacob, that if he had, Jacob would have called me, as the port accounts need drivers just as much as the Gulfstream account. My trainer gives me the number of a guy named Tim (name changed) who can give me Jacob's number. I call Tim. Tim tells me he'll get in contact with Jacob. I am starting to despair inwardly. I ask my trainer if I can drive the truck for the rest of the day. He lets me. Driving the truck at least keeps me from obsessing about the situation. While waiting for my trainer on a dock, I send our boss one final text telling him I will in fact not be reporting for work on Monday as I do not feel comfortable on this account. He doesn't respond.

At the end of the day we take the truck back to the terminal. As I am walking to my car, Tim comes out of the building. He tells me that my trainer doesn't normally train, and to please give training another week. Next week I am supposed to be training with the driver who, in his opinion, is the best driver the entire fleet, and had been on vacation this week. The only reason I had been in the box truck the first week is that they didn't want to stick me with the only other tractor trailer driver who had been available as he doesn't always do things the way the company wants him to. I allow myself to be calmed down and agree to come back next week, but this morning I started thinking, and I realized that Tim probably didn't talk to Jacob, either, as Jacob still hadn't called me, and everyone was trying to get me to calm down and accept my situation.

I feel screwed around. It seems like my only recourse is to simply not show up for work on Monday, as engaging with them is only going to lead to more manipulation. Also, I had asked before starting the job if I could work four days a week instead of five, as my commute is rather long, and had been told I could, as long as I could hit forty hours. Every workday so far has had a turnaround of about three hours. I don't want to do that five days a week, and financially I don't need to, but I'm feeling like the company is going to expect me to do five days a week on the Gulfstream account, since the product is all so high-value.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? What do you guys think I should do?

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Paying off the Western Express contract

The last few weeks with Western Express have not been great. I was assigned a new DM after my last hometime and he's new, so he's not as together as my old one. I can't pinpoint exactly when I started to feel like quitting, but up until a couple of days ago I was determined to at least finish the contract out, though I already knew I didn't want to stay long-term. I don't think I'm cut out for this OTR thing. it helped when I felt more like I was in control- for instance, when I could request hometime and trust that I would get home on the day I had requested. still, only being able to be home for two days every two weeks isn't enough for me, and when I realized that having a new DM who wasn't as familiar with the job was going to make that difficult, I took the first opportunity I could to leave. yesterday I delivered a load of bottled water to a Sam's Club in Nashville. my DM told me to come by the terminal so I could have the new tablet installed in the truck. so I brought the truck in, bought a Greyhound bus ticket back home, packed my stuff, called dispatch and told them not to give me a load, turned in my keys and left. today I've fielded mutiple calls from Western asking when I'll be returning to work. I've tried to make it clear that I do not wish to return, and I'm not even sure I want to be a truck driver. they've stated that if I break the contract, I owe them $2500. I asked if I could pay a third of that since I've been with the company for eight months. they said they'd get back to me. I have the money, if necessary, to pay back the $2500 in full, but I just have this sinking feeling that even if I do that they're still going to try to get me to come back and drive for them. and if I were to go back and drive for them, god forbid, I'm worried that they'll make it hard for me to turn the truck in and leave again once the contract is up-I've heard stories about them ignoring drivers' requests to be routed to terminals so they could leave. one of the questions they asked me over the phone was why I left. I told them that I just didn't want to do it, I had personal reasons. I mentioned hometime, and they promised they could get me on a route with more hometime, which I don't believe. I don't want to work for them, but I do want to make this right. do you guys think that if I pay them the money they'll leave me alone?

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Between a rock and a hard place (running illegal equipment)

@Old School- I admit I haven't been sending in the pre-trip macros every time I pick up a trailer. that is something I should start doing, as it seems a lot of other Western drivers don't do it. I realize that with my actions I have shifted responsibility to someone else in the company, and it makes me feel terrible. not that my feeling terrible does anything to solve the problem. I am trying to be as transparent about all this as possible so you can understand. I was communicating with my dm by text when I picked up the trailer. I sent him a pic of the inspection sticker and then he sent me a text back as well as a message on the qualcomm telling me to take the trailer to Richmond for an inspection. if I had known at this time that it was illegal for me to pull a loaded trailer with an out-of-date inspection sticker, I would have raised more of a fuss, but I didn't. it didn't even occur to me to send in the pre-trip macro, as I only do that at the beginning of each driving day. that'll change now. once I got to Richmond and the trailer was inspected, I was informed the necessary repairs would not be performed because they would have to open the doors in order to perform them, which they obviously can't do on a sealed trailer. the guy at the shop told me I would probably have to 'run it anyway.' I wonder if my dm had contacted him.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Between a rock and a hard place (running illegal equipment)

So I got myself into a bit of a bind: a bit of background: I'm a new driver with Western Express, just finished training two weeks ago, and I'm out on my own. a bit more background: I had a job with Werner, but was fire for three preventable accidents in under six months. none were DOT-recordable, but they did go on my DAC. anyway, I've been thrilled to be given a second chance by Western Express, except I've gotten myself into a jam with this most recent load. I tore my service line blindsiding an empty at the shipper, and had to go get it repaired. I go back to the shipper the next day (still on the same load) to pick up the load, but when I find the loaded trailer I notice it's been over a year since it's been inspected. I tell my DM about it and he tells me to bring the loaded trailer to the Richmond terminal for an inspection. so I take it out of the shipper and shut down at a Pilot down the road. I post on Facebook and find out that what I'm doing is illegal. oh boy. the next day I plan my route to avoid all the weigh stations and make it safely to Richmond. the trailer looked fine when I did my pretrip so I figure it will pass inspection easily and then I can be on my way to the consignee. only the trailer doesn't pass inspection. there are cotter pins missing on some of the door hinges and the door seal needs replacing. and they still want me to deliver it. I sort of resign myself to the idea that I'm just going to have to risk it, and start down the road, only I get cold feet about it, stop at a TA, and head back to the terminal. I tell diapatch I'm not taking the load because the trailer isn't legal. I feel terrible. there doesn't seem to be a right answer here. this morning my dm took me off the load but told me, 'you know someone else us just going to have to deliver it.' I really like this job, but I'm wondering if I'm cut out for it

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