Leased A Truck Through Swift

Topic 21646 | Page 2

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Mike B.'s Comment
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Thanks for sharing all of that Aaron. You've certainly experienced a lot and learned a lot your first year in the industry. Getting your trucking career underway as a company driver a really steep learning curve. Trying to lease a truck that first year is really throwing a lot of gasoline on the fire.

One thought I had was about this:

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I honestly couldn't see that with them unless I started kissing some butt and I have no interest in that.

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When I started trucking I was 21. I'm Italian, I'm from New York, and I was raised in a family of steelworkers, carpenters, mechanics, and soldiers. We are not quiet, shy people to say the least.

Now I have never worked in an office in my life. I'm used to blue collar jobs and sports locker rooms where people interact in the complete opposite way they do in offices. In the offices people are mostly terrified of upsetting each other. In locker rooms and blue collar jobs it's everyone's favorite pastime to see how much hell they can raise with each other. Nothing is funnier than teasing someone until they flip out and throw a fit or pull a great prank on someone to embarrass the life out of them. If you don't like someone or you don't like something they're doing you tell em that directly to their face. You confront them about it. That's just how it's done.

Well early in my trucking career I did an awesome job as a driver but I ruffled some feathers at first, and to be honest I had no idea what the problem was. I just spoke my mind plainly and the office personnel just seemed to be super sensitive. I felt like I had to speak to them like they were kindergarteners.

I learned quickly that there's a huge paradox in trucking. You spend 95% of your time alone in that truck, but you desperately need the cooperation of those around you to be successful in this industry. We have no authority as drivers. None. We're at the bottom of the totem pole everywhere we go. So we have to learn to get along with people and get them on our side, make them want to do nice things for us. Because let's face it, there are a ton of people out there who can make our lives miserable and cost us a ton of time and money and there isn't anything we can do about it.

When I hear you say you have no interest in kissing butt I think about my own career early on and how I inadvertently made life difficult on myself by not interacting with people the way they expected me to interact with them. When you're at the bottom of the totem pole you don't get to make the rules, you don't get to play on your home turf. When I came across a situation I didn't like it was far more natural for me to give someone the finger and tell em to kiss my (you know what) than it was to have a civil, quiet, easy going conversation because steelworkers, athletes, and soldiers aren't exactly known for their sensitive, compassionate approach to people, ya know what I mean? We don't sit down quietly and discuss our feelings in a politically correct way, to say the least!

You have a lot of freedom to make choices about your trucking career - the type of freight you want to haul, the regions of the country you want to run, how often you get home, etc. The two things you will never have a choice with in this industry is whether or not you're in charge, and whether or not you'll need the cooperation of those around you to make great money. You're not in charge and you will need the people around you to want to cooperate with you. That's a fact.

I'm a super nice guy 99% of the time but I still struggle sometimes with certain types of people and certain situations. To be honest, I don't tolerate BS very well, ya know what I mean? Well unfortunately this is trucking and there's a lot of people who talk a lot of BS and I still lose my cool sometimes.

The better you learn to get along with people the more money you're going to make, the more favors you're going to get, and the easier your life is gonna be. I'm not saying you have to compromise your integrity or crawl around like a worm. I'm just saying you have to learn to keep your cool and keep it professional when you're dealing with people in this industry. It's hard sometimes, trust me I know. But in the end that's just how it is.

Brett, your point about getting along with people and being a team player applies to all industries. Its a lesson I had to learn early in my career as well. I started in a blue collar job and went into a office environment in the latter half of my working years. Getting along with coworkers and management in order to be more successful has nothing to do with "kissing butt" its just smart! Like you said, you don't have to be a worm, but you do have to fit in and get along with others, even people you don't like. Its just common sense, if you're problem for management , they aren't going to go out of their way to help you. And, why should they?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Brett, I didn't mean anything negative about what I said about kissing butt lol. I should have worded it differently.

No, I think that says a lot about your approach to the people in the offices and that's a very common approach in trucking. There's this "drivers against the office personnel" theme that's prevalent amongst drivers and like I said I've had my share of difficulties in that arena too.

The thing is, you weren't getting good miles as a company driver and you have to figure out why. There are three main factors that go into it:

1) How much freight is available at any given time

2) How strong your performance is as a driver

3) How well you get along with people and understand how the company works

If you're not getting 3,000+ miles per week running OTR then you have to figure out why you're coming up short. You clearly implied you could get more freight if you kissed more butt. That tells me there's something going on with your relationship with dispatch and the office personnel. That's not to say it's a big problem. But it means there's probably some room for improvement and I wanted you to understand that your relationships with the office staff will have an effect on the number of miles you get.

Brett, your point about getting along with people and being a team player applies to all industries.

Absolutely it does. The better you can get along with people the better things are going to go, and that influence becomes greater for people who are lower on the totem pole. If you're a dictator you might be able to afford to have more enemies. When you're at the mercy of everyone it's really a good idea to try to get along well with them.

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.

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh no, i got along well with office personnel. Even as a company driver. The problem why I didn't get more miles was because I was on a kraft dedicated account. The had me going mostly out east and I never saw that many miles out east like that. I got less than 2800 miles a week and i've asked many times for more miles by going out west and sometimes they would give them to me but most of the time they wouldn't. Why, I don't know. "Kissing butt" meant that they wanted to do things for them that they could potentially get me into trouble.

Either way, it doens't really matter any more because I realized that the issues that I had doing OTR just wasn't worth my time. Although local isn't that easy, at least I have time to spend at home, sleep in a warm bed, take showers everyday, and am able to eat a lot healthier and that is far more important to me.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
at least I have time to spend at home, sleep in a warm bed, take showers everyday, and am able to eat a lot healthier and that is far more important to me.

Awesome. That's one of the beauties of trucking. There's something for everyone. No matter what your preferences there's a job out there that will suit you well.

Keith G.'s Comment
member avatar

@brett

Your example of having to figure out ways to work with folks rings true with me. A very recent example was from yesterday in fact. I show up, get loaded and head to the manager to get my paperwork. Dude looks at me and goes "You got a BOL, cause I ain't got none" with a haughty attitude. Well, no I didn't have any blank BOL's, but I played the game to get a excuse to call my boss.

After explaining to the manager I've got no BOL's, and boss clearly told me I can't roll without one (I'd never do that anyways) he got into a huge tissy. I carefully worded my comments to get him to understand I'm on HIS side in this, and I want to get out of his hair as much as he wants me out. After about 20 minutes of listening to *****ing and secret talks with my boss a BOL from the front office magically appeared in my hands from a lovely lady.

Haha. Short version, find a way to work with folks. Otherwise you driving home empty.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Keith, that is an awesome example of exactly the type of situations we come across all the time as drivers. The way you interact with the people involved will make all the difference. It's super hard sometimes to keep your cool, but it's worth it. I mean, think about it....how many times in your life have you said, "Thank God I was a complete jerk to that person once I got annoyed with the situation. That made everything work out great!"

Pretty much never, especially when you have no authority over the people involved in the situation. Copping an attitude when you're at the mercy of someone else like a security guard, DOT officer, or shipping clerk is a sure recipe for disaster. If you give someone a reason to want your day to go badly they'll often find a way. Same is true if you give someone a reason to want to help you out. They often will.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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