Am I In Over My Head Here?

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Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

So I just started a new job. It's a local job, just under an hour commute from my house. Port City Logistics, out of Savannah, GA. On orientation day, I forget to bring my TWIC card. My mistake. I tell the HR person about it, and she makes a phone call. On my orientation sheet, she changes the name of the boss I am supposed to meet with later that day. I get to the building, and the boss isn't there. I call the HR lady again, and she makes another phone call. She calls me back to tell me my trainer will be there in the next 1 1/2 hours, apologizes for the inconvenience, etc. She texts me my trainer's number. Turns out I'm going to have two trainers, one for each of the first two weeks. My first trainer picks me up. He's driving a box truck (I was expecting to drive tractor-trailer). Turns out I'll be training on the Gulfstream account, which rarely goes into the ports. The first two days of training go relatively smoothly, with my trainer teaching me about the tablet and how to record 'moves' (most of our runs are under two miles) between Gulfstream buildings around the Savannah Airport. One thing, though, is that my trainer is constantly handling freight, which he says he does of his own volition, as the warehouse workers 'take too long.' On the third day, I make several mistakes in the tablet, and struggle with strapping down expensive airplane parts. At the end of the day I talk to my trainer about switching accounts. He agrees that that would probably be a good idea, and we commiserate a bit about jobs and bosses. I tell him I had expected to be pulling containers out of the port, doing drop-and hooks, that that's what the recruiter had told me I would be doing, and no one had told me otherwise. Granted, I did forget my TWIC card the first day, which is my fault, but I would still prefer to do the job I signed up for, not switch accounts entirely. My trainer gives me our boss's number.

The next morning my trainer informs me that he'll be doing the load securement, he hopes I'll understand, etc. I agree. I don't want to be on this account anyway. I call our boss. After he screens my first call, my second one gets through and I tell him I would like to switch accounts. I tell him I want to talk to Jacob (name changed), who is in charge of the ports (info I have via my trainer). He tells me he'll talk to Jacob for me. I couple hours pass, and I get no phone call. I call again and get voicemail. I send him a text telling him that I will not be showing up for work next Monday if I am still on this account. He calls me, and I ask if he has talked to Jacob yet. He tells me he has, and that Jacob is fine with me changing to a port account, but could I please finish training on the Gulfstream account first, then if I'm still not comfortable, I can switch. I tell him I don't want to finish training on this account, that I want to switch as soon as possible. He tells me he'll see what he can do. An hour or so later he sends me a text, telling me to please report to work on Monday to continue training on the Gulfstream account. I tell my trainer about this. He tells me our boss is a liar, that he never even talked to Jacob, that if he had, Jacob would have called me, as the port accounts need drivers just as much as the Gulfstream account. My trainer gives me the number of a guy named Tim (name changed) who can give me Jacob's number. I call Tim. Tim tells me he'll get in contact with Jacob. I am starting to despair inwardly. I ask my trainer if I can drive the truck for the rest of the day. He lets me. Driving the truck at least keeps me from obsessing about the situation. While waiting for my trainer on a dock, I send our boss one final text telling him I will in fact not be reporting for work on Monday as I do not feel comfortable on this account. He doesn't respond.

At the end of the day we take the truck back to the terminal. As I am walking to my car, Tim comes out of the building. He tells me that my trainer doesn't normally train, and to please give training another week. Next week I am supposed to be training with the driver who, in his opinion, is the best driver the entire fleet, and had been on vacation this week. The only reason I had been in the box truck the first week is that they didn't want to stick me with the only other tractor trailer driver who had been available as he doesn't always do things the way the company wants him to. I allow myself to be calmed down and agree to come back next week, but this morning I started thinking, and I realized that Tim probably didn't talk to Jacob, either, as Jacob still hadn't called me, and everyone was trying to get me to calm down and accept my situation.

I feel screwed around. It seems like my only recourse is to simply not show up for work on Monday, as engaging with them is only going to lead to more manipulation. Also, I had asked before starting the job if I could work four days a week instead of five, as my commute is rather long, and had been told I could, as long as I could hit forty hours. Every workday so far has had a turnaround of about three hours. I don't want to do that five days a week, and financially I don't need to, but I'm feeling like the company is going to expect me to do five days a week on the Gulfstream account, since the product is all so high-value.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? What do you guys think I should do?

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Off the top of MY head, IF I was you, and was so steadfast about switching, I'd be going into the office, finding "Jacob" myself, and speak with him directly....With a good attitude, and not all ****ed off lol.

I can be very "customer friendly" when I have to be, but I also, don't let people walk all over me, or give me the run-around...... (depends on each situation ) Get's me loaded, unloaded ahead of appt times lately, especially when I arrive hours before said appt.

Use tact and niceness, while smiling lol

Banks's Comment
member avatar

You seem to struggle more than most, Ernie. You also have some baggage, which makes me think you might have some trouble getting hired.

Let's look at your history. You fired from Werner because of preventable accidents and Western Express took a chance on you. You weren't happy there either and wanted out because they weren't getting you home enough. They said they'd work on it, but I'm guessing you didn't give them a chance too and you left. How did that end? You left us hanging.

Now it's pretty much the same song and dance with this new company. I don't think any advice your going to get is going to help you because just like Western Express, you've made up your mind that they're lying to you without giving them the benefit of doubt.

I'll be honest, if I were Jacob or Tim I'd screen your calls too. You've been there a few days and you're making demands and threats like you run the place. They must be desperate because I would've told you to kick rocks on the first threat to quit.

You need to do some soul searching and growing up. The world doesn't bend to your desires and you're definitely not in a position to make demands with your history.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Ernie;

I've been around this industry for a few years, myself. I TOTALLY agree w/ Banks.

I'd definitely go to work on Monday. Don't burn your 3rd bridge!!

Just my 2cents, FWIW...

~ Anne ~

Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

You seem to struggle more than most, Ernie. You also have some baggage, which makes me think you might have some trouble getting hired.

Let's look at your history. You fired from Werner because of preventable accidents and Western Express took a chance on you. You weren't happy there either and wanted out because they weren't getting you home enough. They said they'd work on it, but I'm guessing you didn't give them a chance too and you left. How did that end? You left us hanging.

Sorry I didn't tell everyone how Western Express ended. I ended up returning to the company and finishing out the contract. I was recruited by Port City and told Western I was going to leave at the end of the contract. I turned in my truck and left.

Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

To clear anything up regarding Western Express, after I took my hiatus, I returned to the company and finished my contract amicably.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Honestly I had to read Ernie’s post twice and looking at his history before approving it (might have actually been another mod, not sure). Anyway...

At first I thought this might be his first job, then soon realized from trading the comment history; it was the third. Yet I was left with the initial impression his comment was written by a first job rookie.

I approved it because there is a ton that can be learned from this. Banks, Anne, Steve? Spot-on assessment!

My jets are cooling right now... looking forward to reading others before I post additional thoughts.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Pacific Pearl's Comment
member avatar

Has anyone else had an experience like this? What do you guys think I should do?

I was hired for a driving job. Went to paid orientation for a week. Waited until Thursday the week after orientation to hear from the terminal manager who hired me. He explained that a more experienced driver had applied for my job (after I was hired) so they were giving him the job instead. I DID NOT forget my TWIC card! He said I was welcome to stay on in a different driving job that paid about 2/3rds of what the job I applied for did. The job I applied for was no touch freight the new job was not. The working hours and pay were very different for the two jobs. I'm sure it was a setup from the start - they just pretended to hire for the more desirable job knowing some folks would stay because of inertia and put up with the lower paying job but never apply for it.

Your situation is a lot different. Still home daily, weekends off and no touch freight. It sounds like you're hourly too. No hassles with traffic. You just have to learn load securement. Your employer is doing you a favor. The ports are paid by the load. You can wait for hours (unpaid) just to get a crane operator to load you with a container. You have to fight with traffic for the 150 mile radius of your delivery area because that can mean the difference between running two containers a day or three - making $1,000 week or $1,500. Forget your TWIC card? You're not working that day, you earn $0..

Never make threats. It's not a good look. Makes you appear immature and you get a reputation for being a PITA. Who gets the better deals at work, the valued employee who does the job day in and day out and rarely asks for anything or the new hire who's refusing to train and threatening to quit all the time? If I were in your shoes I'd stick around and at least hear what the other trainer had to say. I'd probably stick around at least 6 months to find out if they are willing to work with you on the 4 day work week. I get that the three hour daily commute is a drag, but you'd have that with the other job too. If Savannah is where the jobs are at you should consider relocating.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

You guys are right. I am allowing nerves to sabotage a potentially golden opportunity. If I get the chance, I'll apologize to my boss ASAP. More than likely I imagine he won't want to talk to me, which is fine, too. I have never handled freight before, and it is a bit intimidating to be handling such high-value freight, but if I can hack it, it'll be very valuable experience in the industry.

Banks, you're right: I have a lot of growing up to do. It is embarrassing for me to be acting so childish toward my employer, and I'm standing on really shaky ground, as I have those accidents on my record with Werner. I did tell him that if I was going to work on this account I would need a lot more training than just the two weeks (and then promptly insisted that I did not want to be on this account), but if they're willing to work with me, I will be grateful.

It must be confounding to see this type of behavior in an adult. I am embarrassed.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

This sounds like a dray service company, perhaps a small one. With thin profit margins. My first question Ernie; how much homework did you do to check them out? How is their equipment? How many drivers?

Screwed? Is it pay day yet? If no check on pay day, then I’d agree, you got screwed. Otherwise... far from it.

Making demands and threats? Do you really think that’s the right way to handle things as a new employee? You are a driver, but the CEO. And then entertaining a “back-stabbing” conversation with the person assigned to train you...bad form Bro. You got sucked-in that quick! Bottom feeder, get trained and stay away from anyone who tries to pull you under. You should not involve him (the trainer) in any of this. He’s already revealed to you that he cannot be trusted. He’ll run his mouth to management about you, guard your words around him and stick to business. Be professional. Address your issues with management.

You mentioned they were trying to calm you down. Did you lose your cool over this? In front of them? Of everything you wrote this actually is most concerning and can hurt your career progression in so many ways. I suggest focusing on what triggers this kind of reaction and work on limiting the emotional response. Huge problem for a new employer if the think they are dealing with a Diva. Gut check...I think you know what I can say here, others already have.

My advice? Don’t be a dumbass and quit. You’d have three companies on your resume, heading to your fourth in what? 18 months? Work it out. Give them a chance. Give yourself a chance! I think many have given you very good advice here on how-to accomplish this. Get it done.

Take charge of your career, take pride being a professional. Think about what you are doing and expect there to be unforeseen challenges; adjust using your head and keep your cool. Pay your dues embracing your “lowest man on the totem pole” status and prove they “right” for hiring you. Be “that” driver who they consider a top performer. You’ve been here for a while and should know what that means. Read our dairies, read articles in the blog section, get your trucker mind reset and right.

Commit to this company and give them your very best. You’ll have nothing to be embarrassed about. I look forward to reading your updates and sharing with us some success stories.

Good luck.

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