Podcast #13: Three Problems Rookie Drivers Struggle To Overcome

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey everyone, we have another new episode of our podcast "The Road Home" and it's titled:

Three Problems Rookie Drivers Struggle To Overcome

0138688001486137322.png

itunes-badge.svg en_badge_web_music.png

Getting started in trucking is always challenging, and there are several common problems that many new drivers struggle with, especially in the beginning. These problems aren't always just inconveniences. Some of them can be devastating to you personally, and your career. Here are some of those common problems and what you can do to prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.

Enjoy!

Three Problems Rookie Drivers Struggle To Overcome

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

Brett, you really nail so many issues on the head. We're lucky to have you.

I have been absent here for quite a while but I have not been absent on the road. I've been spending my time in the last couple years learning the job, the road, and adjusting to my new life. I have gone through many ups and downs on the way.

The company I started with is labeled a "training" company because of the number of students they run out on the road. My class started with over 70 people and passed 7 or 8. This was just the first week. Many came to the school with disqualifying conditions; such as not passing the physical or legal disqualifications. Others decided the fast pace was too much. Others, (a lot of others) left because of pressures and circumstances at home.

A few couldn't handle the trucks.

Of the people who got out on the road with trainers, many got on the truck with bad attitudes and unrealistic expectations. They didn't last very long. I watched a lot of people who made it this far leave because of more pressures from home.

As a student, you need to enter with an open mind, a good attitude, and the willingness to work. Without those qualities, it's too easy to self-sabotage.

Home life is an incredibly huge factor in success or failure in training. Even if you're doing exactly what was agreed to, they can't see or touch you. You become unreal. They're used to you being there to lean on and suddenly you're not. They feel abandoned and you feel like a loser who can't take care of anything because you're not there. Communicate, but everyone needs to know that without this phase there won't be a payoff at the end. Drivers are in demand everywhere. The options become open only by going through the training phase and the rookie phase.

Expect hardship. Expect to run your tail off in between being stuck in one place. Expect to be required to constantly train and retrain. Expect other drivers to either ignore you, treat you like a bug, or fill your ears with so much garbage fact and fiction become interchangeable. Expect isolation. Expect pay fluctuations. (By a lot!) Expect stress. Expect to feel and be stupid on occasion (mistakes do happen.)

Expect every day to be different. Expect every day to see something incredible. Expect every day to feel amazed. Expect every day to be amazing!

Most of all, expect to feel proud of the job, yourself. You literally learned something that feeds, clothes, and houses the entire country and the world! How amazing is that?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Wow Renae.........that was fantastic! If I had known you had that in you I wouldn't have gotten up at 3:30 to start writing and recording today's podcast. I would've slept until about 8:00 and then just read what you wrote! I hope incoming students will read every word of that a few times over to make sure they don't miss anything. You made a ton of excellent points.

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My class started with over 70 people and passed 7 or 8

Isn't it ironic that for decades in our society truck drivers have been looked down upon as having about the lowest grade of job you could have, and yet many of the people that try it barely last a few weeks. I've never heard any statistics on it, but I'd be willing to bet that 80% of the people who ever try their hand at this never make it to the one year mark. It's not that they can't drive a truck. It's that they can't handle the demands of the job and the lifestyle.

And the ones who can?

Expect other drivers to either ignore you, treat you like a bug, or fill your ears with so much garbage fact and fiction become interchangeable.

rofl-3.gif

You ain't kiddin! Ya know, I've had a lot of different careers and hobbies over the years but I can't remember ever coming across so many people who either totally didn't understand how their own industry works or just run around telling lies and being miserable and slandering everyone like truck drivers do. I really never could understand that. And it's been that way for decades.

In '93 when I started trucking it was the same way. You heard all of the same relentless bashing and criticism of Schneider and JB Hunt back then that you hear about Swift today. I mean, I used to just loathe seeing a JB or Schneider truck coming because I knew all the idiots would be grabbing their mics and screaming demeaning obscenities. I didn't find them funny the first 10,000 times and I certainly didn't find them funny the next million, either. I know people feel the same way about "Swift" jokes today. It's beyond tiresome.

Right now I'm dabbling in film, photography, and sound. I watch tutorials constantly, I listen to podcasts, I've taken some online courses, and I've been in a handful of forums. I've yet to hear the first person try to insult anyone for where they work, or criticize the most successful corporations in the industry, or tell people to stay away from film and sound because everyone is just crooked and they're all out to abuse you, or any of that garbage like you hear in trucking constantly.

In fact, I did a "terminal rats" podcast a couple weeks ago about that very thing. It's baffling to me. I can't imagine other industries are like this.

Expect hardship. Expect to run your tail off in between being stuck in one place. Expect to be required to constantly train and retrain. Expect other drivers to either ignore you, treat you like a bug, or fill your ears with so much garbage fact and fiction become interchangeable. Expect isolation. Expect pay fluctuations. (By a lot!) Expect stress. Expect to feel and be stupid on occasion (mistakes do happen.)

Expect every day to be different. Expect every day to see something incredible. Expect every day to feel amazed. Expect every day to be amazing!

Most of all, expect to feel proud of the job, yourself. You literally learned something that feeds, clothes, and houses the entire country and the world! How amazing is that?

If someone told me to sum up in a few sentences what it's like on the road, I would be happy to give them that right there. It's right on. Loved it.

It had been about a year since you've left any comments before today and I sure wish you'd come around more often. As you know we've been fighting the good fight here for a very long time now and we still face overwhelming odds when it comes to teaching people how this industry really works and what it takes to be successful out there. We can use all the help we can get! We have some really amazing people that have stuck around here to help after getting established in the industry and I hope you'll do the same whenever you get the chance.

Thanks so much for your insights, and glad you enjoyed the podcast!

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Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Ryan, try again without insulting everyone on the planet if you can. Stop worrying about what anyone else thinks, says, or does. You have a long list of problems of your own to deal with.

How's that school search going? You signed up yet?

Ryan R.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett,

I had a feeling you might delete what I said so I pasted it to notepad, but I guess I won't get into it with you and paste it again since it wasn't mainly meant for you, and you read it. :P You're the leader around here. I just wish you'd be a bit more condemning of things that are wrong with the industry. You're plenty smart enough to see them, and as you have seen, I don't compliment often. It doesn't serve the drivers to be entirely accepting; It just makes them enablers. The fact the industry is trying to cherry pick the most capable sycophants doesn't mean it's something to aspire to being.

And no, I haven't figured out what I'm doing with trucking next yet. I have a few irons in the fire, and I'm in no rush to work for just any company.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I just wish you'd be a bit more condemning of things that are wrong with the industry........It doesn't serve the drivers to be entirely accepting

When you've done things that are difficult, complex, and dangerous you understand that there's a process to getting started down that type of path in the beginning. If you want to be a world class race car driver you don't start in an Indy car. You start with a junkyard car, paint a number on it with a paint brush, write your name on a piece of duct tape, and get out there with the rest of the newbies at your local track and bang on each other for a few years, learn how to handle that car, and maybe years from now you'll get the big opportunity you were hoping for.

If you want to be an astronaut you have to start by flying a Cessna 152.

If you want to climb mountains, you start by walking the hills in your local parks.

My job is to take people off the street, make sure they understand what they're getting into, and guide them through the process of going from the street to the classroom to the driving range to the highways, so that eventually they will have a strong foundation for their career and the first hand experience they need to make informed decisions about their career and their future.

We're the welcoming party for this industry. We welcome people in, teach them what it's all about, guide them through the process, and support them along the way. Once they reach that one year mark they now have their career firmly planted on solid ground and they can take it from there.

But someone has to help them get there in the first place or they'll never have any future opportunities, and that's what we do.

And I don't feel like the trucking industry needs major change. I've never felt that way. If I'm getting paid $60,000 a year to drive around the country in someone else's brand new $120,000 big rig then I'm having a pretty damn amazing time of it in my book. Others may not feel trucking is the life for them and I would never question that because I know better than anyone that most people can't hack this job or this lifestyle, and I wouldn't try to force it on anyone.

But that's why I love this job. It takes an extraordinary effort by a person who is highly motivated, disciplined, courageous, and savvy to thrive in this industry. It's life or death every day out there. You're putting your reputation, your skills, and your career on the line every single day. I love that kind of challenge. I live for that kind of adventure. I want to help others find that same excitement, that same challenge, that same adventure if they decide that's what they're looking for.

We're teachers, not activists.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Old School's Comment
member avatar
We're teachers, not activists.

Ryan, I think that is a big part of why you don't get us, and also why we've been so very patient with you.

I love this job. It takes an extraordinary effort by a person who is highly motivated, disciplined, courageous, and savvy to thrive in this industry.

Ryan, I have no false illusions of you actually joining our ranks. It would demean you, and make you so angry with yourself. Your research bias causes you to confuse all the characteristics that make for success in this business with pathetic degrading character traits.

All you really seem to be looking for is a way to earn a living while avoiding being around other human beings. You have become so much above everyone else in your own estimation that to have to actually work within a system like trucking, where the driver is really at the bottom of the chain of command, would crush your sense of superiority. Unfortunately that is what will keep you out of the driver's seat, and at the google search bar, on a futile search seeking a way to fit a square peg into a round hole.

We have heard enough from you to know that for you to be a round peg would destroy your sense of your own worth. So, you are left with nothing but your self. Why keep up the research? You have found what you were looking for.

If only you could figure out how to pay yourself for being stuck alone with yourself. Of course then you would start to feel the relationship with yourself was becoming sycophantic and that would ruin the whole utopia you thought you'd found. I don't know, but it looks to me like you are really in a pickle here.

John M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Brett for the Podcasts, I've never actually listened to podcasts before now, TT's Road home has been the first one I have ever listened to. I Just wanted to take a moment and thank you and everyone else on here for being such a huge help, the site and everything in it has helped me to a massive degree, I feel like the things I'm learning are overwhelming at times and I wonder if I'll actually be able to take it all in and be successful, I mean hell, today alone I was having a massive amount of trouble on a serpentine backing exercise, I took a moment to catch my breath and thought to myself, Rome wasn't built in a day and got back on the horse. It's that inspiration that I get from this site and those podcasts do help and I think I got a little off track for a thank you but yes in the end Thank you and everyone else here, a ton. :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tim H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett for yet another great podcast. I'm at day 5 with my trainer on his truck. So far this journey has been pretty fast paced (school and orientation ) til getting on the truck and the feeling of being wisked along has lessened. I'm fortunate that I'm with a good trainer. He's pretty laid back and patient. Has been very helpful and wants me to get as much backing as I can. He runs dedicated so I've done almost all the driving ( policy doesn't allow me to drive between 3am-7am). Something I can see being a major difficulty is sleep and learning to manage my time so that I get proper rest and drive safely. Coming into this I was armed with a boat load of information from here and so far it's been a very good experience. Even the shower at Loves exceeded my expectations.

Terry B.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been driving 10 months now and I totally disagree with your take on preferential miles should go to the top performers. These trucks all go the same speed and most drivers can deliver loads on time. This "feeding" to preferred drivers is the root cause of unrest and turnover. Should a dispatcher act this way in the taxi business where I came from he could expect to be punched in the face real hard and then terminated. I've addressed this issue with my company of 10 months and seem to be changing this poisonous culture of "feeding".

Hey everyone, we have another new episode of our podcast "The Road Home" and it's titled:

Three Problems Rookie Drivers Struggle To Overcome

0138688001486137322.png

itunes-badge.svg en_badge_web_music.png

Getting started in trucking is always challenging, and there are several common problems that many new drivers struggle with, especially in the beginning. These problems aren't always just inconveniences. Some of them can be devastating to you personally, and your career. Here are some of those common problems and what you can do to prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.

Enjoy!

Three Problems Rookie Drivers Struggle To Overcome

good-luck.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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