Can You Spot The Impostor?

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Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been thinking about this for some days now, but today I seen a sight that summed up everything I've been feeling in just a simple view...

0816056001530304084.jpg
So, I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the tell-tale sight and then opening up about my secret. It's been gnawing at me and I just have to tell someone.

The big secret...?
I'm not a real trucker.

Oh, come on! At least try to look surprised!

Okay, seriously, the image above pretty much sums up how I feel every time I pass a truck on the road or walk from the fuel island into the store for coffee or whatever.

It's not the difference in trucks (hey, I'm a guy, and appreciating awesome looking machines is just in my DNA.) But trucks dont make the trucker. However, I do watch people back up in to spaces that seem impossible to get into, or I watch people do what looks like ballet with trucks around a shipper's yard. And I just sit and marvel at what seems like an other-wordly skill. Man, I want to be able to do that when I grow up.

And that's when it hits me. I feel like an impostor out here. Of course I dont think I'm supposed to know everything or be capable of the precision maneuvers that can only come from time and experience. But I cant help but wonder if one day I'll wake up and actually feel like a trucker... Feel like I belong here among my peers.

Sure, I drive a truck almost every day now, and get paid to do it! (That part still amazes me.) And I should be done with my training next week - which is frightening because I dont think these people actually realize how little I know right now. But after a month of this, even though I'm loving it and have trouble imagining ever doing anything else, I still dont quite feel like I belong here.

I feel like I was made for this, like I've found a job where I get paid for enjoying myself all day. But I... Dunno. I just dont feel like a trucker, yet.

Did anyone else ever feel this out of place when they first started out?

Hey road-vets, how long did it take before you felt comfortable or before you knew this was where you belonged?

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.

Old School's Comment
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Haha! Jeremy, the impostors are easy to spot, they just don't realize it! It's usually when they are in reverse. It doesn't matter if it's at shippers/receivers or a truck stop. They give up their true identity when they have to go backwards.

smile.gif

You're accustomed to our constant talk about sticking it out for one year at your first trucking job. This is a job that requires diligence and patience. It's an amazing gig for the right people, and you sound like you're one of those types who are just going to rock this career.

Hey road-vets, how long did it take before you felt comfortable or before you knew this was where you belonged?

Jeremy, this may sound like a long stretch to ya, but I think it takes most people three to five years before they really gain their stride in this career. It's not only a tough gig to get started in, but it's also tough to really establish yourself as a proven asset. At some point after that third year you can get a trucker tattoo emblazoned on your body, because at that point you should cease to be an impostor.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

My short answer is; most definitely I felt like you do,...for the first 3 months. And then again the first 3 months of running Ded. Wally. Six months until I could run for a full week with very few mistakes.

Read the article I just wrote...kinda spells that out.

Have patience...it’s a process, not an event. Look at where you were six weeks ago...

Old School's Comment
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I just want to add something else to this conversation. It's a quote from our friend Fatsquatch where he responded in another thread about not liking the phrase, "real trucker." Here's what he said...

Honestly, all the "you ain't a real trucker unless/if" nonsense torques me off to no end. I am no more or less of a truck driver for being a company driver, pulling a reefer , driving a manual, managing my clock efficiently, being polite and courteous, driving safely, or any of the other myriad reasons people come up with for that particular scenario. Do you drive a truck for a living? You're a real truck driver. The end.

He makes a great point. If you're out here doing this job, making it happen, and getting paid for it... you're a real trucker! It doesn't really matter that all your maneuvers aren't polished like a 35 year veteran driver. Your moving the country's goods, your reliable, and your earning some decent scratch - friend, that makes you a trucker!

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Haha! Jeremy, the impostors are easy to spot, they just don't realize it! It's usually when they are in reverse. It doesn't matter if it's at shippers/receivers or a truck stop. They give up their true identity when they have to go backwards.

Oh damn! That says it all right there. We were at a consignee today and the dock was just about 100 feet off the fence-line. And there were trucks parked along the fence waiting for a dock spot...

My trainer just leaned us right in there before I could even finish guessing all the angles necessary to backup a trailer in such a small space. And I watched a few other drivers do it, some better than others.

It was another moment I realized just how far I am from being a pro. Just getting into a space at Love's is a spectacle now. God help me when I have to hit a dock like we did today. I'll really be an impostor on that day!
rofl-1.gif

Read the article I just wrote...kinda spells that out.

Have patience...it’s a process, not an event. Look at where you were six weeks ago...

Oh, I did read it. It reminded me very much of fellow students who had all these leapfrog plans to get into the "best" company and make more money than anyone else during their first year! Complete malarkey, but they had it all figured out, lol.

I thought the article placed great emphasis on the craft and benefits of company longevity. And even knowing as little as I do, I completely agree with your thesis. It confirmed much of what I already suspected. And it reaffirmed my desire to stay with my company for at least a few years.

Just trying to find that comfort zone where I can sort of relax and start becoming a better trucker instead of just feeling like I need to keep proving I deserve to be out here.

Maybe deserve isn't the correct word. But I'd sure like to shift my mindset from simply proving myself out here to actually improving myself out here. But like I said, I just haven't reached any level of comfort yet.

Maybe it's all in my head, eh? I've been known to overthink a thing or two...
rofl-3.gif

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I'm new to the rock climbing and alpine climbing scene. I'm taking climbing lessons with a highly experienced guide who has travelled the world climbing and I'm doing fitness training through a well known coach who coaches olympians, world record holders, world champions, navy seals, and more. So I know exactly how you feel.

I wonder to myself, "If someone asks me what I like to do, how long will it be before I can say I'm a climber?" Let me tell ya.....it's gonna be a while.

I watch my guide stroll up a route like he's bored, and I'm struggling every move for dear life. My fitness coach is a climber who has climbed the worlds most famous mountains with climbing partners I've been reading about for years. One of them, a guy he trained and is now business partners with, is a world-renowned alpine climber - an absolute living legend known well all over the world.

I'm so new to all of this that it's absurd. It will be many years before I can even bring these people a glass of water with their meal.

But the way I look at it is simple - I have the courage to step into the ring and give this everything I have. Everyone respects someone who is humble, eager to learn, always willing to listen, and works as hard as they possibly can. My level of fitness and climbing skills won't be respectable for a very long time, but the effort I put forth and the humility and thankfulness I show to the people helping me is something to be proud of.

Sure, I look ridiculous compared to them. But I'm ok with that for now. Every time I fall I get up and do it again. I've had 42 scheduled workouts in the past 7 weeks and I've done every single one of them with everything I have. When they say 'jump' I jump. When they say 'run' I run. When they say it's going to take me three years to accomplish something I think to myself, "Maybe I'll surprise them and do it in two" but I never say that out loud. I just put my head down and keep working.

Work hard, be humble, give it everything you have, and appreciate those who are willing to help you out. Take pride in being the best you that you're capable of being and having the courage to get in the ring and fight the good fight. If the veterans tease you, laugh with them, because they're right - you do look silly. And hey, that's ok because you're doing all you can to get better and you will get better. It just all takes time. And that's ok too.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Jeesh, Brett! Anyone ever mention that you're pretty good about hitting the nail on the head?

You, Old School, G-Town, and on and on... The collective wisdom and advice on this site is just priceless! Always spot on and it's often just reassuring to know I'm not the first one to go through something.

I wonder to myself, "If someone asks me what I like to do, how long will it be before I can say I'm a climber?" Let me tell ya.....it's gonna be a while.

Yes, this is a perfect sentiment for what I'm feeling. I'm waiting for the day someone (seems the only other people I see these days are truckers and dock workers) asks me what I do for a living. So, you're a truck driver? Well, ummmm, sort of..

I watch my guide stroll up a route like he's bored, and I'm struggling every move for dear life.

Again, perfectly summarizes how I feel behind the wheel.

If the veterans tease you, laugh with them, because they're right - you do look silly. And hey, that's ok because you're doing all you can to get better and you will get better. It just all takes time. And that's ok too.

Oh, I'm sure I've provided more than a few chuckles already. But as long as they're laughing because something took so long and not because I tore up something, I'm all good with it.

-

Many thanks to all of you for your words and support. Can't wait til the day I'm posting about something on here and G-Town tells me to look back to where I was when I first started! 😁

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jeremy predicts the future...

Can't wait til the day I'm posting about something on here and G-Town tells me to look back to where I was when I first started!

Me too... smile.gif

One day at a time. Patience.

I am going to try and record a few things I know I’ll be going through tomorrow like a Jersey circle; my setups, a blind 90 (not blindside), meaning that you cannot see the dock door until backing around the corner of the store and almost straightening out...fun stuff like that.

Hope I remember to do it...

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Holy cow! That would be awesome. Nothing like hands on actually doing it, but the wisdom of experience is always the next best thing. Maybe I can even grab some practice mimicking the movements without actually being at a dock. God knows I can use the practice.

Thanks G-Town!

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

The inherent difficulty of my job doing local work makes it very difficult to get comfortable. Anytime I start feeling that way, this job has a way of snapping me back into reality. Which is nice. Helps me not get complacent. However in my heart or hearts I always knew I wanted to do this. Turns out I was right.

I find your picture assuming though. Because I used to do some jockey work for my current company, I would spend my 12 hour shift backing in damn near 100 trailers a night, but also watch all the outside carriers back in as well. I learned real quick that the truck doesn't make the driver. I've seen guys show up with the flashy long nose Pete's that couldn't find the door to save their life. But a few doors down a Western driver in an older beat up Freightshaker put it in, in one smooth motion. Didn't matter the truck. Didn't matter the company. Didn't matter the drivers age. I could never tell who was a "real trucker" and who wasn't. If there is such a thing.

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