CNM Graduate Looking For Work

Topic 20076 | Page 1

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Tinker's Comment
member avatar

Ok, so some of you may remember my training diary. I graduated from CNM truck driving and started looking for work. My wife and I talked it over and decided that it would be best to find a home daily job, but not an absolute must. As a rookie driver, I can't be too picky about the job. I ended up finding a company that was willing to hire inexperienced drivers for a home daily position. Fuel transport. I accepted the job and began training. At first it seemed like a good fit, but it did not stay that way. I was told that it would be 14 hours a day, 5 days a week. That became 16 hour days 6 days a week pretty quickly. Talk about being way over on HOS! I learned how to "doctor" my logs to appear legal. I though, ok this isn't right but I need to stick this out a while. Then one day when reporting in for work, the night driver showed me what he found on his post trip. One of the brake chambers on the trailer tandems was completely broken off and being held on by wire. I called my dispatcher/manager to let him know. He asked me to try to get the first run done since it was already scheduled and we could get it in to the shop then. Again, red flags going up. Ok, I'll get this first run done. Then he calls me and says, bad news you need to keep driving. Just go easy on the brakes. I drove over 400 miles that day with that chamber dangling from the bottom running mostly mountain passes. What really got my attention was on my way back. I saw a sign on the freeway that scared me. Inspection station ahead. All commercial vehicles must exit. Luckily, the inspection station was closed. I knew that if it had been open, I would have been fined for taking that trailer on the road in that condition knowingly. I made up my mind then, next time I was asked to do something that put me, my license, or my safety at risk would be the end of my employment there. I did not have to wait long. The next day I quit.

So, I am looking for work again. I have a few interviews and a driving test lined up. Hopefully I can find a good company to work for.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

All I can say Tinker is now you know why we stress that the best way to get into this is to start out as an Over the Road driver. We understand the problems of being separated from family for much of the time, but it is that first year of experience that will open up those doors of local opportunities that are the best. The way you are doing this is putting you at a disadvantage. You have shown us in this post the things we already knew you'd run into trying to start out as a local driver. I understand your desires completely, but if you were to go Over the Road first, you would have a lot better opportunities open to you.

Another thing that we always tell people is that trucking jobs require long hours, local jobs are no different for the most part. You are living and learning all the things that we warn folks about almost every day in here.

Over The Road:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Well with Swift, you could do OTR for a while then switch to doing Wal-Mart out of Los Lunas after a few months of OTR experience. You only get one day off a week and run your clock out, but you will be home for that one day and be home most nights/days if you make it back after deliveries. The the people in Albuquerque are awesome as well as the dedicated staff in Los Lunas.

Side note, never let dispatch push you to do anything. If it was me, I would have said I am not moving until this trailer is fixed, in the grand scheme of things it is not worth it. You got a lucky break. Any ways, good luck on the search. Most local requires experience, if anything look into coke, Pepsi, labatt, sysco. And if no luck, maybe look into swift.

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.

Tinker's Comment
member avatar

I know that I shouldn't have driven that truck, and the constant 16-18 hour days put my logs in violation. To put the "home daily" in to perspective for other rookie drivers, let me explain how my home time went. I usually had to be up at 2 am to make it to work on time. Often, I would get home well after a reasonable bed time. This meant that I had time to eat, smile at my kids, kiss the wife, then off to bed. I would have had more time with them had I gone OTR! higher quality time at that. I knew that I had made a bad choice when on one run I actually fell asleep at the wheel. Then all the other things happened. I didn't crash luckily. One of the other rookie drivers did, the same day that I left the company. Now, since he let them push him beyond his physical limits, he has a crash on his record. As much as we would like to blame the company, he made the choice to get behind the wheel. You have to look out for yourself out there, no one else will.

My job search is going well. I have been on a few road tests where I impressed the person testing me. All those miles and excessive hours did hone my skills. At least I got that out of it. I am hoping that by the end of the week I will have a job. Swift doesn't sound too bad and their terminal is close to my home. I am looking at a couple of other options as well. I don't want to say where for fear of jinxing it.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It has been a while since I posted so I thought I would provide a quick update on my journey. After I left the job I posted about earlier in this thread, I took a job driving a school bus just to get some income flowing. It wasn't much, but it was an easy job with lots of time at home. It also convinced my wife to try it out. She loves the job and is one of their top drivers now with no plans to leave. With summer coming up, I knew I had to find a full time job or we would be in a tight spot quickly. I landed a job with a local building supply company driving a flatbed with a piggyback forklift. The work was good, though labor intensive at times. I was home daily and each weekend. The pay was really low by industry standards. It was enough to keep us afloat though, and I gained more experience. This last month (September) I was able to land a job with YRC Freight. I am coming up on one month there. I am not home every night, sometimes out for days at a time. Just days, not weeks. The pay is really good and the benefits are top notch. I think this will be a good fit for my family and me for years to come. It is a good balance between work and home. It is still a bit of an adjustment. This is a union job, there are pros and cons to that which I am not going to get in to here.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

That is awesome to hear. Are you team driving out to California, Oregon, or? I live on the westside so I live near all the LTL barns. Hope to get on with one of them when my record clears up (hit some stuff my first year).

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Tinker's Comment
member avatar

I am team driving. We run to California alot as well as Oregon, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. There are some solo runs to Colorado and Arizona but the senior drivers keep those locked down.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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