Mentor For SWIFT Don't Grow On Trees

Topic 28163 | Page 1

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Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

Waiting to be matched to a mentor, I'm hold up in a hotel near the terminal after finishing orientation and getting hired ... It's 'hurry up and wait' for now. I didn't restrict my options to be matched up either on the basis of gender or smoking -- though I put in a polite request that "if possible" I'd prefer a non-smoker. Yet, no mentors as of today. We were told that the virus fears have shrunk the supply of mentors. Some in my batch got first dibs on available mentors, I wasn't so lucky.

So here is my question: Is there a way to facilitate finding a mentor? Could I volunteer to go to another terminal in the country where maybe it's easier to find a mentor? How does this work. Is four days not a long enough delay and that I should just be patient and stay put?

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.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Companies really aim to please in matching up trainees and trainers, so your request for a non-smoker may have you waiting a bit longer. Yes, you said a smoker would be fine, but I'm betting they're waiting for an available non smoking trainer for you.

While there are plenty of non-smoking drivers, non-smoking trainers.. or even trainers in general are in short supply, and especially at my company. I can't imagine Swift is any different.

I've never worked for Swift, but I know they have plenty of happy drivers, so good choice there.

I will say this. I'm a trainer at my company and I smoke. I used to accept non-smokers with no problems, however after having several who told our training coordinator they wouldn't mind going with a smoker then did nothing but complain about it once they were on my truck, I will not take a non-smoker. No exceptions.

I've had plenty of trainees who said they really couldn't tell I smoked in my truck. I keep the sleeper curtains closed, dont allow smoking in the sleeper, and make sure a window is open. I keep my truck very clean. Then there are those who tell the company it's ok then they're quite rude about it. Just need to be honest so they're better matched with a trainer. Yes, you may have to wait a bit, because the nonsmokers may already have a trainee on their truck.

Just sit tight and you'll get a trainer soon enough. It will be worth the wait and trust me.. both of you will be more comfortable. Swift wants you out there learning to do the job as much as you want to be out there.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

It is correct that a lot of mentors are not taking students right now. Four days in normal times is common so throw in covid and it becomes normal.

As far as going to a different area you can talk to the DQ people but it is similar at all the terminals. If I don't have a student I start getting contacted by terminals all over to pick one up.

Just be patient and try and enjoy your last few days outside the truck. As someone that doesn't sit well I know that is easier said than done.

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.

40 Days's Comment
member avatar
Just be patient and try and enjoy your last few days outside the truck. As someone that doesn't sit well I know that is easier said than done.

I am sure the anxiety for the adventure to begin is eating away at your very existence but... take 5 showers and a nice hot bath each day you will miss these things greatly. A toilet near you wow no side of the road stuff for you currently. Live it up and don't stress if you can. Hope all goes well and you get a good trainer it will be worth the wait.

Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

Susan, Big T, 40-days

Thank you all for giving your views.

Susan, your frank honesty about non smokers has given me an insight into a smoker's point of view. You are very emphatic about not accepting non-smokers ("no exceptions"). I have many friends who are regular smokers and before developing adult onset asthma, I used to occasionally take a drag or two while in their company. Hell, if I had good lungs I might even have taken up smoking, so I really think I could have been fine with a smoker. But there seem not to be that choice any more by the way you've described the process.

Big T, thank you for pointing out that this mentor shortage is system wide and not specific to the Atlanta Terminal. I've been disabused of the silly notion about going elsewhere. I was getting bored in the hotel room so they gave me the green light to go home and that they will call and let me know next week. Going back home is a lot better than being stuck at the hotel, but I hope the wait is not too long because I am not only eager to learn the profession, it would also be nice to start having an income.

40-days, thanks for mentioning the things I'm taking for granted (shower and en suite toilet) which will be missed on the road.

I'm going home tomorrow (unless, per chance, a mentor drops down from the sky) and get some R & R before the 200 hours of behind-the-wheel TNT driving begins.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

BubblesDhaDrivah's Comment
member avatar

That's what I'm afraid of. After everything is said and done,I would like a mentor who doesn't smoke (and keeps him/her self clean). I'm a patient person,just not a very patient person.If that makes sense. But I know the excitement of heading out is beginning to build up for you lol. Heck! I'm getting excited with youdancing-banana.gifgood-luck.gifrofl-2.gif

Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, just to post an update here. I think the wait may be coming close to an end. Today I got a call from the DQ that I've been matched with a trainer ("mentor") ... I called and spoke to him. He was presently in northern Pennsylvania waiting for a load. He confirmed that loads were slow these days so you had to go where they sent you, unlike last year when you could have multiple loads to chose from. He's been an OTR driver for 21 years, was a company driver for this mega-carrier and is presently an O/O working under their umbrella. He lives an hour down the road from me so that will be convenient for home time. He said he wasn't sure where he'll get a load for but that he is taking a week's vacation from June 12th. If possible he'll take me on before then, but that all depends on if the dispatch can arrange for it and have him back by the 12th. Else, I'll have to wait until after his vacation. He sounded like a nice fellow. I don't know if I'll have to wait this extra time until after his vacation or if they can get me on his truck for ten or twelve days prior?

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.
Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

It's been exciting, challenging and tiring. I've developed a new and deeper respect for all you million-milers out there... wow, how did you do it?

I couldn't get the time, nor had the energy to go online and read or post anything. Now I'm at home again so here are some observations.

I was fortunate to get a million-mile driver-mentor with 21 years of OTR trucking under his belt. Real nice guy and very knowledgeable. Occasionally short tempered and harsh, but I didn't mind since he was correcting me. The only problem was his think accept (Latino) which I often misunderstood, adding to his aggravation. But my ears got sharper and it got better. He was a task master and we were on the go, go, go ... One day I did 10 hours and 58 minutes of driving just getting to the terminal in the nick of time. Backing, turning, coupling, uncoupling, tandem adjustment, etc., he was giving me all the opportunities and I was taking it in like a sponge and realizing how much more I needed to learn. One day we got caught in a severe rain storm with high winds on a mountain road in Tennessee (it was an interstate highway fortunately), and it really made me nervous. I asked my mentor if I should pull over... shrugging his shoulders, his response was, "you are the driver."

I was lucky to get a good trainer and hope this continues after I get back on the road. I'm presently off the truck. I had a stupid accident. I fell down on concrete towards the very end of a long day and injured my wrist so I've been taken off the truck until the doctor gives me an all clear. It's been four days now and I am really anxious to get back to finish my training. Everything was going so well until this... I am so ****ed off at myself for being clumsy. The worst of it is that I heard from my mentor today that they have assigned him another student. That means when I get full medical clearance (hopefully no later than next week) I'll have to get back in the long line and wait until I get re-assigned. Once again, it's "hurry up and wait."

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.

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".

Interstate:

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

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like things were going well up until this setback. How did you end up falling down? Was it lack of 3 points of contact? Once back in a truck make sure you follow what the current trainer says. You will find they do things different than your previous trainer. Some things will be better or worse but just follow what they say (as long as its legal) and once you're on your own you can find out a way that works best for you to handle tasks.

Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like things were going well up until this setback. How did you end up falling down? Was it lack of 3 points of contact? Once back in a truck make sure you follow what the current trainer says. You will find they do things different than your previous trainer. Some things will be better or worse but just follow what they say (as long as its legal) and once you're on your own you can find out a way that works best for you to handle tasks.

How did I end up falling?

Well, the truthful answer has to be that I was a clumsy fool. I did practice the three point contact safety rule as well as used the regulation footwear, so the only explanation can be that at the end of the day I must have got sloppy while climbing down from the driver's seat.

Different trainer -- different styles:

That is very wise advice. Thank you for reinforcing that fundamental. I will remember and do exactly that. The way I see it is that this is a positive because I will get a new perspective on the same things and that will give me a broader understanding. So this injury might end up being a blessing in disguise even though I was feeling a bit sorry for having lost a great training mentor, not to mention losing time and potential income. I'm sure the new mentor will also be just as good.

Amazingly, only three days after getting doctor's clearance I was re-assigned to a new mentor. I have already spoken to him. He sounds like a good guy because he was concerned that they have given him a load which takes him even further away from the home terminal (where we are supposed to meet up). I said that I shall just wait patiently until he heads back, but he said that he shall call the terminal to try and urge them to get him back this way. His concern was for me not getting paid while waiting around. That told me that he has empathy for his prospective student's need. It told me that he cares, so I already get a good feeling that it will work out nicely.

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.

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