Stressed Out.

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Chris eff's Comment
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Been driving for 5 or 6 months now and am currently stressed out. First i was dedicated for 3 or so months and told my company otr is what i wanted. Okay they send me otr for a month i take a 2 day break and come back to be thrown on a dedicated account again to help out driving nights. There's alot of things i like about night driving but that's not soley what i want. They are putting me back otr but i hope they dont send me dedicated anything again. I was just getting the joy of going through mountains va, wv and pa. I like getting around. The good thing about the dedicated account they put me on is it pays well. I actually ate my words because i once said who would want to make less money. And with my company going otr seems to pay a bit less because of inconsistency. But it just stresses me out that it seems i cant do what i want and make good pay. I know things will change. For instance after a year they will stop taking money for schooling out of my check every week. I read that i would have trouble getting a local job or home every weekend job until i had about a years experience and i woupd likely be otr which i am but partial dedicated for most of my short career ao it seems vice versa in my situation. Im having trouble being otr but i guess i was informed that my company u.s. Xpress does alot of "dollar" stores and dedicated. Going back out otr but just ranting.

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.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

Hey Chris, Just relax. Driving can be stressful. It's important that you communicate with your DM. Let him know that you really want to stay OTR. Find some more expienced drivers to talk to as well. These first few months are the most difficult. Sticking out that first year is very important. In addition to fulfilling your end of the deal, it shows that you are not a wishy washy employee. Good luck. We are here to help.

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.
G-Town's Comment
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A couple of things to think about...

6 months is not a very long time. At this point however the stress of the job should begin to ease a bit because the learning curve is less steep. Things that were very challenging in the beginning should become less difficult at this point. Focus some of your negative energy into a positive: look at how far you have come. You've already beaten the odds...give yourself some credit.

OTR driving for many of the Mega Carriers requires brief assignments on a Dedicated Account. It's part of the job; drivers are needed where the demand for freight is the highest. Try to accept this basic fact, anticipate it, adjust and don't fret over it. You are not going to change this.

Try to steer clear of any Dollar accounts. Very difficult and will likely increase your stress.

My advice is this: learn to roll with the punches, adjust and play the hand that's dealt to you. Stressing over things you have no control over is wasted energy.

Learn how-to be a top performer by maximizing your productivity. Work your clock to your advantage, know what you can accomplish in the time you have. Focus more of your energy on trip planning and preparation. It's probable you've gotten the mechanics of driving down, now it's time to focus more on the aspects of the job enabling performance and better pay.

Learn how to relax, detox during your breaks. Review your day, write down things that went right, the things that went wrong and how you can improve on any weaknesses. Review your next shift and what must be accomplished. Plan your next day. Once you have done those things, put it aside, don't think about it any more. Take your break, you earned it. Focus on relaxing and recharging your batteries. Don't think about trucking while on your 10 hour break.

Check the blog section of the Trucking Truth site, there are many articles written that might help you better adjust and manage your life as a Trucker.

Good luck.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Man, I was going to try to contribute something here but Scott and G-Town really nailed it. Learning to go with the flow, especially early on in your career, is extremely important in trucking. Things change all the time and you'll find a wrench in your plans quite frequently. The longer you stick with your company and the more you communicate with the office personnel and experienced drivers the better you'll learn how your company operates and the better position you'll be able to put yourself in.

But all of that takes time. We all have our preferences for the type of runs we like to do but even the most experienced drivers at the highest levels have to run some freight they're not too fond of from time to time. Being cooperative like that is going to get you the best possible treatment from dispatch. It's ok to let them know you're not too fond of something, but do it anyhow and over time your dispatcher will want to go out of his/her way to take better care of you than the other drivers who complain and refuse loads and cause a fuss all the time.

Hang in there! Things will continue to get better with time.

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.
Chris eff's Comment
member avatar

I guess one of the positives if this dedicated account is that I got to learn how to use a reefer. Some of my curiosity was fulfilled. I never knew these refriegerated trailers had separate sections. I assumed it was all one big cold unit but now that i think about it you do store different foods at different temperatures. Its not that complex though a climate vent for each section and only a wrestling mat with a home blinds style pull cord to support it. Once again a little more involvement with freight than i wanted since i oversee and make sure each stop gets the correct items verses pulling up to a place knowing everything in the trailer is coming off but also pretty fast paced no waiting which is good.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Chris eff's Comment
member avatar

My only other thing was otr when i picked up or dropped off everyone was an adult maybe 22 and up or so... no messing around and pretty straight forward even if they had other stuff to get done first they'd let you know. At the box stores theres always a person here or there that isn't with the program. For example I knock at a garage do with a window in it and the employees ignore you!! Sometimes mock you...saying stuff like "oh did you hear something?, what was that? Looks curiously to the ceiling as if the knocking was coming from the roof, or explains to other employees that they are not going to move any faster just because i knocked on the door all while not even giving a response such a "it will be a minute, or please give us some time". Not all the employees who act like that are young though appearing fresh out of high school. Makes me think wait till i have kids. What im saying though is at least otr when i went to warehouses and such there was none of that...people were straight forward even if there was a wait you didnt have attitudes like above.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I guess one of the positives if this dedicated account is that I got to learn how to use a reefer. Some of my curiosity was fulfilled. I never knew these refriegerated trailers had separate sections. I assumed it was all one big cold unit but now that i think about it you do store different foods at different temperatures. Its not that complex though a climate vent for each section and only a wrestling mat with a home blinds style pull cord to support it. Once again a little more involvement with freight than i wanted since i oversee and make sure each stop gets the correct items verses pulling up to a place knowing everything in the trailer is coming off but also pretty fast paced no waiting which is good.

Walmart? What D.C.?

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

My only other thing was otr when i picked up or dropped off everyone was an adult maybe 22 and up or so... no messing around and pretty straight forward even if they had other stuff to get done first they'd let you know. At the box stores theres always a person here or there that isn't with the program. For example I knock at a garage do with a window in it and the employees ignore you!! Sometimes mock you...saying stuff like "oh did you hear something?, what was that? Looks curiously to the ceiling as if the knocking was coming from the roof, or explains to other employees that they are not going to move any faster just because i knocked on the door all while not even giving a response such a "it will be a minute, or please give us some time". Not all the employees who act like that are young though appearing fresh out of high school. Makes me think wait till i have kids. What im saying though is at least otr when i went to warehouses and such there was none of that...people were straight forward even if there was a wait you didnt have attitudes like above.

My assumption is you are Walmart surge...my rule for getting in the store, I ring the bell or knock once. When a minute goes by I call the store, informing them I have reefer or remix, and request a manager to open the door. If another 5 minutes goes by without getting in, I call again. It's rare I wait for more than 10 minutes.

Last resort I go into the store through the front door and find a manager. I've only had to do that 3 times in 5+ years.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Chris, you're starting to slide down the slippery slope to misery. What I mean is this - you're letting meaningless little things bother you. In trucking you're going to have 1,000 meaningless little things happen to you on a daily basis. You're also going to have 1,000 blessings. What you choose to focus your thoughts on is what is going to have the greatest impact on you personally.

You've heard the saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff," well you're sweating the small stuff.

If you haven't done this already I'm going to give you something to watch for out there. Whenever you visit a truck stop or a customer, watch the old timers. Keep your eye out for those guys that seem like they've driven a truck for 20 years. You're going to notice that the old timers are either as miserable as Scrooge or as pleasant as a monk. There is very little in between.

Why?

Because people do what I call "keeping score". They tally in their minds all of the times that things go well or that things go poorly. You're doing it right now. You're comparing how poorly things go on your dedicated account compared with running OTR.

When you keep score like that you're going to begin to lean toward either the positive or negative side of things. If you're the positive, happy type you're going to take greater notice of how many blessings you have all the time and you're going to enjoy life more and more. If you're the negative type you're going to take greater notice of everything that doesn't go to your liking.

Over long periods of time this shapes your personality. It changes your approach to life and your attitude.

Obviously you're going to notice everything that's going on, but that doesn't mean you have to care about it. Sure you're going to get dock workers with a crappy attitude sometimes. That's not unique to dedicated accounts. That happens OTR and regional too. But you've decided that's a characteristic of dedicated accounts and that's yet another score in the negative column for dedicated accounts.

You said:

one of the positives if this dedicated account is that I got to learn how to use a reefer

Now there you go. You're new to this business so learning all you can should be your primary focus. There's a positive to focus on.

I don't mind one bit when people come here to vent a little bit. We all do that. It's totally cool. I just always worry that new drivers are going to start focusing on the negatives too much and become negative toward the job and industry in general. It happens a lot more than you might think. People start off excited and eager to get out on the road and six months later they're out of the industry altogether because they've allowed themselves to become overwhelmed by the negatives.

Stay positive and learn all you can. Like I said, it's totally cool to vent sometimes. Just don't let yourself become the type that focuses on the negatives. Pay attention to your thinking. How much time do you spend counting your blessings versus how much time do you spend complaining about the negatives? That's an important ratio to pay attention to for all of us.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett said a lot when he said "what you choose to let yourself think about" When I get to a customer and it's time to deal with the people there and the issues with getting loaded or unloaded it's very easy to get overwhelmed because it seems like they don't care or understand that you need to keep a schedule. I have learned to focus my thoughts on that I work for a good company and have a great truck to do what I enjoy. Then when you focus your thoughts on the positives you'll notice that when you leave the customer you forget about the negative stuff that you had to deal with. Sometimes when my wife ask me how it went at the customer I have to think about it cause I have moved on.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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