Do You Have The Right Temperament For This Job?

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G-Town's Comment
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Paul wrote:

I think there's also something to be said for just sticking it out and learning, even if you don't necessarily have the "right" temperament for the job.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. There are people, like my parents for example, who don't have the temperament for the job. They could learn, but I think they would need to learn to control their tempers before they got into this career rather than once they're already in it. It's one thing to get ****ed off at another driver and cuss them out in the solitude of your own truck; it's a completely different story to "lose it" and physically react/retaliate in some way. This job does have a huge emphasis on safety.

But there are other people who might not really have what it takes initially, but they learn to fake it til they make it, so to speak. Try as I might, right now I just don't have the discipline and physical stamina to drive 500-600 miles a day for six days straight. The constant sitting (ya know, being literally strapped to a chair for 10+ hours a day) and really long days are really starting to drive me nuts, but I'm making do for the moment until I can figure out how to manage things better. Truth is, otr isn't the only gig out there. I don't think I really have the right temperament for otr, at least not at this point in my life, but I love driving trucks and it's not crazy to think that a different setup might be much more suitable for me--maybe one that gets me out of the truck more often.

I think there's definitely a right temperament for enjoying the heck out of the job while being very productive in it, but I think anyone that is willing to learn and work hard can make it work (unless for some reason they literally can't do it physically/mentally). Either way, it really seems like you're talking more about otr trucking than other types of trucking jobs.

Paul I appreciate your response. All I am really saying here is know your temperament, that way you are able to adjust and maximize your potential.

In many regards you have accomplished that. Look how you handled your initial DM before Miller/Coors.

I think you have most of it figured out.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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A quick note about something I read earlier but is unrelated to my last post:

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When you have a rookie DM

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If you're a top tier driver you should never be placed with a rookie DM. That's a nightmare scenario. I worked for US Xpress for years and I had already been driving almost ten years when I started there. After a couple of years of working there upper management came up with this brilliant idea that putting experienced drivers with rookie dispatchers and rookie drivers with experienced dispatchers would help train new drivers and dispatchers. They stuck me with this newbie and it literally didn't last until lunchtime. I had an amazing dispatcher already who had as much experience at his job as I did at mine. We were a well-oiled machine and I cranked out 3,000+ miles per week like clockwork. They tried moving me to some new guy and I parked the truck. Literally. I told them I wasn't moving this truck until I was back on my dispatcher's board. It was a foolish idea that was clearly thought of by someone with very little or no experience as a driver nor as a dispatcher. Within an hour I was back on my dispatcher's board and things went back to normal. I didn't need to participate in their silly experiment to know it was going to be a catastrophe.

So if you're performing at a top level and they've stuck you with a newbie dispatcher I would put the brakes on that right away or tell them to guarantee your salary no matter how few miles you turn. Because no way can a new dispatcher handle an experienced driver. It will take them quite a long time to learn how experienced drivers do things and what's expected of them as dispatchers. That time is going to mean a lot of money down the drain for a top tier driver. You simply can't do that to people.

As new as I am... I have already come across new guys in night dispatch. Happened last night as a matter of fact. True to form I got to location 3 hours early but had to park 5 miles away until 30 min before. Customer refused to take me early.

So I get in bed and set alarm after driving 400 miles. 20 min later I get "are you at the location?" Of course I'm not or I would have sent an arrival call.

By that one message I know there is a new guy on nights who is going to drive me nuts. The others know me and let me do my thing. Lol

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
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Dragon wrote:

You bring up some very good points and the truth is, a large percentage of people who decide they want to be a professional driver won't make it. It could be their attitude, lack of training or just the inability to adapt to the job. This isn't the easiest thing in the world to do and it does take a special breed of person to juggle everything involved. One thing that's often left out that does add a ton of additional stress that's often left out of conversations is Driver Managers. Companies go through them almost as much as drivers themselves. One cause of added stress is that many of the new DM's just came out of college with a logistics degree. While they may be spot on running the software, they have little to no social skills and don't realize that on the other end of the phone or Qualcomm is a real person who is relying on them. While they get to go home every day, those drivers have questions that need to be answered or real world situations that come up and need to be addressed. When you have a rookie DM , it's difficult for them to assist in the learning curve of a new driver. The DM is surrounded by others who can quickly tell them which screen to be on our what code to use but they can't convey the human side along to those drivers who up until then have had the assistance of their mentor or trainer. It's a situation rarely addressed and a huge stress point for someone just getting their feet wet as a solo driver.

Thought provoking response Dragon. really good. I agree. I am fortunate that all of the DMs I have or had were former drivers. Several of them still drive. Not only that, all of the DMs on the account are former Walmart Dedicated drivers so they know all the ins and outs. Really important regardless of how experienced a new hire is.

But yeah, totally agree. I wouldn't want the job of a DM. I do not have the "temperament" for that...I know myself really well. I'd be fired in no time...zero tolerance for whining. (Like y'all didn't know that) LOL

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brett that sound really interesting. Looking forward to seeing it.

Thanks Drivers for putting your heads into this. Good discussion.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

One thing to add,...I have literally begged to have the planners accompany a driver on just one run. Unlike the DMs, most of them have never been in a rig, let alone experience 12 hours of business in one of them.

Persistence, overcomes resistance.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Phoenix's Comment
member avatar

What exactly is the right temperament? I don't know if I have it or not, but I do know I am enjoying driving this truck immensely. Not getting responses from the DMs when I need info (i mean no response at all, phone or qcomm) drives me crazy, but other than the communication gaps and lapses, so far it's not even work. My husband submitted his 2 week notice today, so I guess I'll find out real soon if I can really do this trucking thing.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Great discussion! For those reading this who wonder whether they can change their temperament, here are a few suggestions.

Can you accept that you're the boss only when it comes to driving your truck, and in every other situation you are the employee or the salesperson or the beggar or the commercial driver who is being inspected by law enforcement to ensure public safety? For example, if you're the boss, you can tell the folks on the dock to step to it and get that stuff off the truck. If you're the driver, that isn't going to work.

Can you accept that driving safely is going to get you there faster in the long run and cause you less stress? No one got anywhere faster in a big truck by tailgating in traffic, and someday the odds are going to cost you anywhere from a few hours sorting out a fender bender to the end of your career, or even your life.

Can you accept that some days things are just not going to go your way? That lost load and the money that goes with it are gone forever, no matter how much you worry or complain. Think long term, think averages over many weeks, instead of stewing about the money you "lost." (You can't lose money you never had.)

Can you accept that no matter how well-groomed and professional you are, many people are going to look down on you because you drive a truck for a living?

Can you accept that by completing training for a CDL , you have received more training on how to drive safely than 97% of the motoring public? Of course most of them don't know how to merge. Of course most of them don't use their turn signals or look far ahead for hazards. Of course they're texting while sitting at the stoplight or driving through traffic. For them, it's a way to get from A to B, and for a few it's a passionate hobby, but you are supposed to be a professional.

Never mind that most drivers think they're above average, or that they discount your job as requiring professionalism. Do doctors get upset when people use home remedies, or do they take in that information and help the patient to the best of their ability when they come crawling into the emergency room? Do pro athletes compare themselves to weekend warriors, or to the other pros?

Finally, can you accept that often you are going to have to rely on yourself - your skills and abilities, your judgment, your effort - without any assistance from anyone else to get this job done? Yes, you can always learn more, but frequently when it's make or break time, there isn't going to be anyone there but you to make the decision. You'll make mistakes. Can you live with that and learn from it, or are you going to spend your time and energy looking for someone or something else to blame?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Night dispatch... Arrgh. Theyre all super except this certain one who makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Night dispatch... Arrgh. Theyre all super except this certain one who makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs.

It seems night dispatch is used as a training ground cause after a certain amount of time they go to days and get their own fleets.

We've had great ones. But each new one wants to try so hard and they keep messaging you. With dumb questions. I was in the boondocks and given a load at the last minute. I told then I wouldn't make it. I was told to message them from the road if I couldn't. ... DUH I just DID.

So I message them an hour later.. not going to make it. The response was "but you have til 2100" really.. thanks.

Then when FM was on vaca I got a load an hour away on the other side of baltimore at 0810 for 0900. When I told them no way.. they guy said "oh you mean cause of traffic ".. y3ah.. u know those little things that get in my way and make annoying beeping sounds driven by idiots on cell phones.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Lol this particular doofus is NOT new and often routely refuses to dispatch us if we have no empty trailer despite the fact that we already dropped a loaded trailer and supposed to be picking up a different loaded trailer from the SAME place. Our preplans wont autodispatch unless an empty trailer number is given on our empty call. Oh and even better we arent allowed to bobtail to the shipper for ANY reason according to this person. Its so ridiculous that we have litterally had to call our dm or his boss AT HOME to get it resolved. Btw we often bobtail into shipper locations because as a team truck they especially want to keep us moving.

Yes, i hope they fire him and cringe any time he answers the phone or sends a message because EVERYTHING he touches is screwed up. Im nice to him of course but OMG I hate him lol.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
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