My Experience With Wilson Logistics Training Program

Topic 30011 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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Let me tell you something about my training. I had a trainer like yours. That's why I understand the dynamics of what is going on here. I decided I could learn to be a trucker without him. We started team driving immediately after my first turn at the wheel. I was actually glad that he was back in the sleeper. If I had questions, I would save them for the short times that we were actually together. I drove safely and carefully because I knew I could cause great damage if I made a mistake. Guess what? I still drive that way. So there was no difference from then to now. I learned pretty much on my own. The great thing is that he was back there if I needed some help. I can only think of one time when I actually hollered at him while I was driving to wake him up. I don't even remember the circumstance, but at the time I thought it critical enough to disturb him.

I could handle the truck on the interstate , just as you can. When I got to a fuel stop or a customer, I would wake him up and let him know. I learned by driving the truck. You will too. It is the most important thing you will do. You learn this stuff by doing it. Wilson does things a little differently than where I was, but it is still the same idea of being exposed to the duties of the job. Don't sweat all the details - just drive the truck. You will be surprised at how much you will learn by doing the job. You don't need someone sitting over there holding your hand. What you need is a slow building of your confidence. Your trainer can not do that for you. Even if he were kind and gentle, that doesn't build your confidence. It could produce a false sense of confidence. Exposure to the realities of the daily grind will help you more than anything you can do.

I can tell you are struggling, and I have a great deal of empathy for you. The reality is that you are in a situation that you have got to manage for yourself. You can still learn in this environment, and you can still become an excellent driver in spite of it not going the way you thought it should. I may catch some flack for this response, but I am trying to be honest with you. I want to see you guys progress and become productive truckers. Training is seldom what we expect it to be. That's a reality we have to deal with. Start dealing with it now. Don't let it turn you resentful. Look at it as a challenge that you can adapt to. That's really what trucking is. It is a challenge that we adapt to each and every load. Start learning how to adapt and overcome during this training period. That is the most important thing you may learn from your trainer. It will help you greatly as you become a trucker.

Here's an article I hope you will read. It goes into some of the details of the things I am trying to share with you.

What Should I Expect 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.

Interstate:

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

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Hang in there! You wrote it's only a couple of days you're in this with a guy that sounds like you may he his first student.

In the military for basic training it went in four stages:

Forming

Storming

Conforming

Performing

You are in between steps one and two at this point. Give it some time because everything is brand new to you right now, so it will be overwhelming. Next couple weeks, a lot of this stuff is going to be Old Hand to you.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I read and reread this thread.

One thing I want to emphatically add...

You need to thicken up your skin. Your trainer recognizes your sensitivity...and is perhaps adding a little more zest to his critique. Trucking is a tough business, very unforgiving and considered a commodity. Job satisfaction must come from within. Please remember that.

Focus on getting better and learning from all of your mistakes. As you progress, your trainer might lighten up.

I also suggest investing time in the blog section of Trucking Truth. There is a plethora of solid, well written content in training. Stay focused on your goal.

Peace

Christopher R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the replies! They’ve been helpful. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to see them before the situation escalated. We’ve been driving hard from Savannah, GA to Denver, CO, so I haven’t done much except drive and sleep. But fear not, this story has a much happier ending than the last!

I left off on Tuesday night at the receiver in Savannah after a very frustrating couple of days. We left there later that night and headed north of the city to pick up our next load. It wasn’t pretty and he got really frustrated again, but I did manage to back the trailer into one of the spots, drop, and hook up to the new one. I had a few hours left of drive time, so we drove to a truck stop south of Atlanta and stopped around 6AM Wednesday morning. This is where it really got bad. I tried to back into a spot and once again, as soon as it got bad he told me to get into the passenger seat and did it himself. At that point I decided I was done just taking it on the chin and decided to stand up for myself a bit. I asked him how I was going to learn anything if he just kept doing all of the backs for me and I reminded him that we had agreed on some expectations about my training that he was breaking. Now, I was very frustrated and I’m under no illusions that that frustration came out in my voice, but I tried very hard not to raise my voice and to explain my frustrations as calmly and respectfully as possible. I’m biased, but I think I did an okay job of that. My reward for standing up for myself? He cussed me out. Cool.

It took a while, but I managed to get some sleep. I called my fleet manager after I got up and explained to him what had happened. He agreed that some of my trainer’s conduct was not okay, but wanted to have a chance to speak with him about it before making any rash decisions. I totally understand that! There are always two sides to every story. We’re supposed to schedule a time for both trainer and trainee to talk privately with the fleet manager once a week anyway, so he scheduled that call for later that day. He and my trainer spoke for a long time, then he gave me a call. He said they had spoken about everything that had gone on. He reminded me of a few things that I needed to work on and said that he had told my trainer that he needed to communicate more clearly and congenially, and train more patiently. He said that we were gonna stay at that truck stop another night so we could get back to a day schedule so that we would have time to practice my backing maneuvers in more empty truck stops.

We ended up leaving around 3:30AM on Thursday. Things got better immediately. Leaving the truck stop, he gave me some advice on navigating tight turns that was much clearer than any direction he had given me before. He broke the tension early by just talking about a few things to know about trucking in general, like how different things are policed in different states. We drove 7 hours and 10 minutes without a stop and made it to a truck stop south of Paducah, KY. I confess, it was difficult passing through Nashville and not stopping to see my wife. The homesickness was tough at that point! If I was solo and had been in control of the schedule, I probably would have stopped. We had enough time on the load.

At this point, he had decided that he wanted to run hard the next couple of days so that we could get into Denver a day early and have a full day to work on backing practice. So we refueled and he drove for another few hours. We stopped for the day a few miles west of St. Louis, MO. We did get about an hour of backing practice in at that truck stop. It didn’t go great; I am tending to oversteer a bit and while he was a bit more patient, he still got very frustrated. All in all though, it was a much improved day over those that came before it.

We left again on Friday morning around 2:30am. The plan was for me to run out my 11 hours and then for him to drive the rest of the way into Denver. I drove from just west of St. Louis all the way to the first rest stop over the Colorado border with just one stop for my 30-minute break. It was another pretty good day as far as the interaction between my trainer and I goes. We switched off and he drove the rest of the way into Denver. We made a quick drop and then settled in for a 34-hour reset.

That pretty much brings us current. As I’m writing this now it’s Saturday afternoon the next day after we started the 34-hour reset. He’s still not the best at communicating the plan, so I don’t really know if we are going to have the time we hoped to work on my backing. I didn’t get the impression that he was planning on taking this reset. It is frustrating being at a truck stop for a couple of days and not being able to work on anything, but that’s life. Overall, though, things are better and my training seems to be at least a little more on track. As always, thanks for following along!

- Chris

Fleet Manager:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Nathan S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Chris, I wanted to just check in and see what's been going on and see if you have found your groove with the trainer? If you see this I'm pulling for you and hope you find a moment to check back in!

Take care, Nate

Kandyman's Comment
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A little confused and I apologize if its misreading. Are you with Prime or Wilson Ligustics?

Nathan S.'s Comment
member avatar

A little confused and I apologize if its misreading. Are you with Prime or Wilson Ligustics?

He was with Wilson Logistics but since his last post, he's been MIA. I feel based on the demeanor of his posts he probably dropped out of training. Going through training was the hardest thing I've ever done. Especially, if you don't get a good trainer! Some of us push through and some of us don't have the mentality it takes to succeed in this industry. He seems like a really nice guy and probably more soft-spoken. (as am I) I don't respond well to type A personalities or aggressive people.

Chuck B.'s Comment
member avatar

I used to drive for Shaffer back in 2004. I had to go out with a trainer for 8 weeks. This guy had some serious anger issues to the point that I had no choice but to call safety and tell them what was going on. One time as I was coming back from getting the bills from the shipper , he revved the engine and came up on me like he wanted to run me over because he thought I was taking too long when it was actually the shipper who was holding up the process.

A couple of times as we were in heavy traffic, he would hang out the passanger side window yelling at other drivers on the road to get out of the way. He smelled like garlic and the whole cab smelled like garlic. It's been 12 years now since I've been on the road and I never renewed my CDL. So now I have to go back and get my CDL all over again and will be going through a refresher course.

I have watched the forums and see where Stevens and Wilson have some irate drivers. Are these companies that desperate for trainers where that allow their drivers to act like gorillas? I see with some of these companies you only need one year experience with them to be a trainer... really? That's pitiful to say the least.

Point is, it seems that the only reason these guys sign up to be trainers is for the money ONLY. It's unecceptable behavior and if these guys can't hack doing their job professionally then these companies should not allow them to be training. While being trained with this goof-ball from Shaffer, yeah, I had to wear thick skin and for the most part I didn't let it get to me until he started acted like a psychopath.

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.

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.

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