Heading To Atlanta!

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Robsteeler's Comment
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Hi guys. It’s getting close. I’m leaving for Atlanta to meet up with my trainers truck. Schneider is getting me a rental car at the Harrisburg airport, and I’ll be meeting up at our Atlanta OC. I’m hoping he’s a good trainer who helps me. I’ve heard some horror stories.if not, I’m calling our training department and asking for a new one. I don’t get a lot of time with him, so it needs to be productive! When I get back to Carlisle, I’m doing the hard skills test. I already passed my soft skills tests. I did very well. Just short of 100% on both the Qualcomm and the trip planning/log book tests.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Robsteeler, Congratulations!

Take a well meant gentle warning from me concerning this approach...

I’m hoping he’s a good trainer who helps me. I’ve heard some horror stories.if not, I’m calling our training department and asking for a new one

There is a dynamic at trucking companies that goes something like this... "We know this trainer. He's been working for us for X amount of years. Now here comes this total rookie telling us our trainer is no good. It sounds like this new guy is going to give us lots of problem. Let's cut our losses now and move on to the next guy."

This happens way more than you realize. The new guys come in there acting like they know way more than the company or the trainer, and 98% of the time the company goes with whatever the trainer says. I honestly don't think you know how to determine a good trainer from a bad one. If you base it on how well you are progressing or not, then maybe that just means you are picking things up slowly. You really don't have an accurate way to measure the quality of your trainer, other than personal opinion based on your rookie perceptions which are most likely unreliable.

I'm saying all that as a really successful driver who had a terrible trainer.

Listen, Schneider's training program is considerably different from everyone else's. They manage to produce professional drivers at a qucker pace than anyone else in the industry. This means they have a system in place that works for them. None of us ever feels confident in the training process. You need to trust their system, and focus on the methods your trainer is employing. You may struggle, you may not enjoy it, but if you follow through with it you will get what you need.

All new drivers are ill equipped when they go solo. All the trucking companies know this. It's all part of the learning curve. It's all part of the reason we stress for people to stick with their first trucking company for one full year. I've got a half a million safe miles in at my current employer, and I am still learning things daily. You will always be learning at this job, but during that first six to twelve months there is an incredible amount of stress and learning going on. You can't associate stress as a lack of progress. In that first year stress and progress go hand in hand together. Nothing comes easy in this career, so set yourself right from the beginning and realize this is going to be tough.

Your trainer is not responsible for your success at this. He's mainly responsible for making sure you are not so dangerous that the company can afford to take a chance on putting you in one of their trucks. You will always be the one who has to prove himself. Schneider has already decided the trainer has what it takes. I suggest you trust them, and focus on what the trainer is trying to convey to you.

Most of the horror stories online about really bad trainers are from total rookies trying to get started in trucking. That's a really bad source for information concerning breaking into one of the most misunderstood industrues I've ever come across. I suffered through a really difficult training experience, but I still learned a lot from it. Take the time to read these articles before you get started with your trainer. I think there's a lot of help in them for brand new rookies just about to start the training process.

How To Deal With Trainers

Your Trainer Will Test You On More Than Your Driving Skills

What Should I Expect To Learn From My Trainer?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Also, how long are you with your trainer? With most companies it's only several weeks. You can put up with anything for a few weeks. It's not as easy as people think for a company to switch a student to different trucks. Companies have a limited number of trainers. Like Old School said, you won't know if your trainer is any good until you go solo. Good luck.

Robsteeler's Comment
member avatar

I’m not talking about the training. I’m talking about the personality of the trainer. One of my instructors told me they were having trouble getting experienced training engineers lately, and they were getting so many new people lately there was a shortage. Usually, classses are sent out in the middle of training, because of the shortage, we did our final training week last week and are going out with the TE now. We will come back at the end and be tested. What I’ve heard was that they’ve been having trouble with some TE’s taking advantage of students and being lazy. Supposedly,they’re really watching closely to try and weed them out. One of the experienced drivers said a lot of these guys are 6 month wonders who shouldn’t be training anyone. They just want extra pay and a little prestige. We’re supposed to drive for 80% of the time and the TE is supposed to be in the passenger seat the whole time. I’ve heard from several people that they drove the whole 11, and half the time the TE was in the bunk sleeping. I’m not sure if this is true or not, I know people love to embellish stories, lol! If so, the TE is getting paid for the student miles and the student is getting a small stipend. I think that’s wrong and not the Schneider way. I’m pretty sure that Schneider would like to know if this sort of thing is happening because they are a very serious and professional organization. They don’t play. If I get released because of it, I’d be very surprised. I’m just hoping this is not the case. I have pushed through gallons and gallons of horse pucky to get this far and the finish line is in sight! I’m basically just hoping that I get a really experienced and knowledgeable TE who is in it to help people learn. It’d be nice to have some smooth sailing for a while.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

First of all congratulations on getting this far. You are definitely a warrior with stubborn determination. Don’t forget that going forward.

Rob I agree totally with Old School and Big Scott’s advice and instruction. As a former LEO (if I recall correctly), you should understand what it’s like to be criticized and “thrown under the bus” by an unwitting and uneducated public. Everyone’s an expert these days...

It’s your job (the only one) for the next 4 weeks to learn, be a sponge for information and reasonably adjust to the style of your trainer. Maintain a positive attitude throughout the process and do not go into it with set plan on how to handle what is perceived as a “bad” trainer based on some Knuckle-head posting on FB or Twitter or Indeed. It’s counterproductive to the goal you must achieve; a solo upgrade.

Have a plan on what you need to focus and improve on. Communicate with your trainer from the very beginning to the very end. Understand their expectations, Training approach and professionally articulate yours. Treat the first meeting like an interview.

You’ve been through a lot to get to this point, I think you can handle the next few weeks just fine.

Looking forward to reading about the continuation of your journey! I sincerely wish you safe passage and the best of luck!

good-luck.gif

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

And what if the trainer thinks you are the one with a personality issue? what if every trainer threw you off the truck?

You dont want to drive a full 11? Did you stop and think that maybe the trainer was trying to build the newbies endurance? cause im here to tell ya, there will be times you have to do it once solo. Better to be prepared than not. As for trainers pay...it is nowhere near the big bucks people think. Most of the time, i average as a team trainer what i can make on my solo good week... and, i have made LESS than my student on weeks where a load carried to the next. so with that said, i train to help people not for the big bucks.

Also, if you need a trainer to sit every minute in the seat next to you, even for 400 miles of an interstate , you really need to work on some issues. at some point the newbie is basically borrowing the trainers truck for practice.

if you come onto my truck, its my way or the highway, and im on Highway I70 right now so if you would want off, just let me know. theres reasons why i ask someone to do what i ask. i habe the experience to know you cant make that turn or shouldmt park there. did you ever stop to think that some newbies drive better when they dont have someone hanging over them making them nervous? that was me as a newbie.

All trainers want good students... why dont you work on being a great student? a great trainer will recogize a great student and want you.

remember you are being interviewed every step of the way, so lose the high and mighty attitude, cause most likely you will screw up and you will want that trainer with a bad personality to help you out.

Congrats on the CDL and schneider, but please get rid of the negativity. it will get you nowhere.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ChefsJK's Comment
member avatar

Your only out with your TE for one week, 5 or 6 days even unless they have changed it from last year. If you can't handle that for that short a period of time you may want to look in the mirror. My TE was trainer of the year the year before i was placed on his truck, he was in the passenger seat the entire time I was driving and even understood and was happy that I pulled over to walk around when i was getting tired or not feeling like i was able to focus as much. Of course their are bad trainers out there, but there are also good ones out there. And as far as I remember they never offer the training position to someone with 6 months experience, hell you can't even have a passenger with you until you complete 6 months.

Hi guys. It’s getting close. I’m leaving for Atlanta to meet up with my trainers truck. Schneider is getting me a rental car at the Harrisburg airport, and I’ll be meeting up at our Atlanta OC. I’m hoping he’s a good trainer who helps me. I’ve heard some horror stories.if not, I’m calling our training department and asking for a new one. I don’t get a lot of time with him, so it needs to be productive! When I get back to Carlisle, I’m doing the hard skills test. I already passed my soft skills tests. I did very well. Just short of 100% on both the Qualcomm and the trip planning/log book tests.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

Yuuyo, IIRC spent at least half of her time riding with other trainees with her TE, because they were short of trainers down there. I tried to check back on her diary and she wasn't out very long with her trainer. And when she was put out on her own she admitted to being overwhelmed. But then I was too even though I had three plus weeks and 160+ hours driving. I spent the first two weeks driving solo on the I-70 corridor from Kansas City to Indianapolis. Since then I've been down south Dallas to Atlanta on I-30 and I-20 I can't imagine having your first run along I-20 through Shreveport as a newbie? No wonder she was overwhelmed and questioned whether she was ready? I can see why Schneider is going back to their own in-house schooling. Just one week with a TE coming out of private school, I just think it's really tough to succeed. We haven't heard from her since I hope she hasn't mailed it in.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
It’d be nice to have some smooth sailing for a while.

Robsteeler, all along your journey we have warned you about the difficulties involved in getting this career underway. At this point I'd think you would realize how accurate we've been in our assessments. You should not be expecting any "smooth sailing" any time soon. You are just now embarking on the most critical and difficult part of this. We can only give you advice, and we've been faithfully doing just that.

It's going to be up to you to make this next phase of training effectual. If you have the time, spend some of it contemplating the information in this article which poses the question, "Do I Have What It Takes To Be A Successful Truck Driver?"

Robsteeler's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, it’s not starting auspiciously. Everyone I’ve talked to has been contacted by their TE yesterday. I’m laying down to sleep and I have yet to get even a text message from mine. I don’t mind laid back, but damn! 😂 Rainy. It doesn’t matter if the TE wants to build endurance. It’s not his decision. Company policy is 10 hours for trainees, and trainer in the passenger seat. I’m not going to complain about strict training. I’m only saying that if this guy is a slacker who doesn’t want to be bothered training me, I’m going to ask for someone who will. I’ve got a lot to learn and only a week to learn it. I’m GOING to pass my hard skills tests next week and be given keys to a truck. I need to have at least an inkling of the knowledge he’s supposed to teach me. I’m hoping that maybe he’s just on home time right now, and he’ll call me tomorrow. I’m driving down to Atlanta in the morning.

Calm down people. I don’t expect anything to be easy. 😂 Anyone see me giving up yet?

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