Getting The Job Done Even When You Don't Want To Or Don't Think It Can Be Done!

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Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Long before I got into trucking, my motto had always been, "if it needs to be done, get it done." Still is. Now and then, no matter what your occupation, you will be asked to do something you don't want to do. We've all been there. Maybe it's a Friday night, and you want to get home early. Maybe you want to go fishing. Maybe it's just that you want a few more hours off work. In trucking, maybe the run will take you beyond the date you want to get home. But, sooner or later, it's going to happen.

Well, that's precisely what happened to me two weeks in a row. Two weeks ago, I wanted to get home by Friday afternoon, so I could start early on Sunday to get home on Thursday night for 3 doctor's appointments I had yesterday. Thursday night, my dispatcher called me and said here's our plan for today and tomorrow. The plan involved me picking up a live load 153 miles in the opposite direction of home on a Friday at 1500. For a few reasons, I immediately knew that I would not get home on Friday. One, there wasn't enough drive time to do it; two, my 70-hour clock would come into play on Saturday. I said, you reeeeaaally want to run this load, don't you? He said, "yes!" I said, ok, let's run it. I didn't complain about it, I just said let's do it!! We already know the outcome, but if you want it done, that's what we're going to do. Then, Friday morning, on top of that, the trailer I picked up needed a DOT inspection. I could have left it for someone else, but that's just not right. So, I ran it to the Love's and spent a couple of hours getting it inspected. I picked up the load and shut it down for the night. I managed to get home Saturday with about 30 minutes on my 70 hr clock, but now I couldn't leave on Sunday because my 34 hr would run until 11pm Sunday.

I have to admit, I was not thrilled about it because I knew I would only work four days last week, and if anything went sideways, I wouldn't make my Friday doctor's appointments. But I didn't complain.

Take the following week. Wednesday, I get a call from the same dispatcher. He said, we have a load in New Jersey we want you to pick up. This time I thought to myself, "New Jersey?" Uggghh. The only thing on my mind was traffic and limited parking. He said to take a look at the plan when you get to the next stop and give me a call if need be. It's south Jersey. So, I did. I calculated the time and checked every truck stop I could. I didn't see a way it could be done. Mainly because of anticipated traffic. I didn't have enough time to get there and overnight at the shipper. I've never been to south Jersey. I am expecting heavy traffic; I mean, it's Jersey. Not wanting to get hung out to dry on parking at 1800, I shut down about 2 hours out.

Here's where I began to grumble to myself. I thought, man, two weeks in a row, I'm being run away from my home with clocks ticking. Only this time, I could miss those doctors appointments, which usually cost money to cancel less than 24 hours from the appointment. This is the first time in trucking I was not happy with a given situation and thought it inconceivable that they didn't see that I probably won't get home in time for at least my first appointment. I was not happy. But, I was running the load without saying anything to anyone. I just pouted like a little boy. LOL.

The next day I woke early enough to beat the traffic but not too early to get there before they opened. Well, I made it into the shipper exactly when they opened their doors. There was absolutely NO TRAFFIC to deal with. I was shocked. I walked into the drivers entrance and I was greeted by the friendliest dock worker I have ever encountered. I had already signed in before he walked up to me. He checked the load and gave me my paperwork. He proceeded to give me a tour and explain exactly how things would work; pull into dock 13, we'll load you, someone will come out and tell you when we're finished, then you can leave. "Have a nice day, and may your travels be safe!" Total professional. I'm feeling good about this place.

I had a little trouble backing in, it was tight on all sides. I did my GOAL, and checked the dock/trailer interface. I was askew by about 6 inches. As I was walking back to the truck to reposition, the forklift operator came out, and he said, "hey pops." I turned around and was greeted by a big guy. Younger, maybe in his twenties. He's got a smile on his face and asks me if I can tighten it up for him. I said, count on it. He got an even bigger smile on his face and said, "thank you." Never in my life have I been called "pops." But the way he said it, it felt like a compliment. Like he was paying respect to me because of my age, not making fun of it.

About one hour later, I was loaded and ready to go. The same young man came out to tell me the dock was clear. He said thanks for coming in today, it was nice to meet you; wherever you are going, have safe travels. Total professionals and genuinely decent human beings. It seems like they get their job. I get out of there in no time flat and start the 8-hour journey home. By now, I feel like I'll be home in time.

As it worked out, I made it home with about 50 minutes on my drive clock after thinking I wouldn't make it home until early Friday morning and might miss my morning doctor's appointment. All because of a great dispatcher who knows the territory, and a motto - just get it done. You can send me to south Jersey anytime.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

I'm Glad things worked out for you. It's great when something unexpected happens in your favor. South Jersey traffic is not nearly as bad as North Jersey. Unless you hit shore traffic on Friday evenings during the Summer. Where exactly did you go in South Jersey?

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I'm happy it worked out for you.

I know it goes against most of the thinking here, however at somepoint you have to stand up and say no. If you have important things to do like doctors appointments or family obligations those should take precedence over freight. I've learned the hard way if you say "yes" all the time, the requests never seem to end.

That said it doesn't hurt to do them favors sometimes as you will need one from time to time. Just don't let them walk all over you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Way to get it done Bill. Glad it worked out for you.

I completely agree with you Bobcat. I've actually been wanting to write up a thread about this exact thing for a few days but I've been quite busy. I'll try to post it later today/tonight if I have time in a new thread to not hijack bills post. I just finished an early day to take the kids apple picking and have a fun family day. Far too often we tend to focus on being a team player. I completely agree that is one step to becoming your dispatchers go to person and maximizing your income. However we also can't lose sight on there being more to our life (especially family) than just moving freight and taking your time off when it's convenient for the company.

Dispatcher:

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Rob and Bob (unintentional, I swear ).

It's great to be a team player when you can, but when you can't then you can't. There have been times I said no. Some times I feel bad about it, other times I don't. Helping when you can gets you some discretionary leeway and understanding.

At FedEx, I've had dispatchers give me bad information or lie to me. Bad info if they didn't know better or lie if they did. Check out my day of changed plans thread and I mentioned how they told me I could use an extension later in the day. That was a lie because they can't extend drive time and I can't use an extension if I have enough information to know I'm going to need it. That's when the team player stuff goes out the window. I don't appreciate being put in a bad spot or lied to and this isn't the first time it's happened.

I let it slide because it was a Friday and it wouldn't effect my start time, but if it were a Monday I would refuse because it would ruin the rest of my week because of needing a 10 hour break.

However, if they would've said "we messed up we really need this moved" then maybe I'd be more willing to help, even if it meant jacking up the rest of my week and making less money.

The point of this long post ( is it too late to say long story, short?) Is that being a team player works both ways. There should be gains and losses for the entire time, not just one person.

Dispatcher:

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.
Moe's Comment
member avatar

I would love to read that when you have a chance to post it, I too am in that boat at times, recently it was last week when the company wanted me to run a multi stop load to Utah and split near CO - I was due home Friday and it was Monday. I had to remind them and it all worked out, in exchange I did a Michaels craft store load (multi stop) which was up and rolling at 2300 and done by 0700 and that load got me home on the day I needed to be, it’s give and take for sure.

This would be a good one to have as the holidays are right around the corner too!

Way to get it done Bill. Glad it worked out for you.

I completely agree with you Bobcat. I've actually been wanting to write up a thread about this exact thing for a few days but I've been quite busy. I'll try to post it later today/tonight if I have time in a new thread to not hijack bills post. I just finished an early day to take the kids apple picking and have a fun family day. Far too often we tend to focus on being a team player. I completely agree that is one step to becoming your dispatchers go to person and maximizing your income. However we also can't lose sight on there being more to our life (especially family) than just moving freight and taking your time off when it's convenient for the company.

Dispatcher:

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.
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I frequently have loads going into and out of Vineland, NJ. There are actually a fair number of places to park in South Jersey. There is a small diner in Monroeville and another diner in Southampton Township, both of which rarely have full parking lots.

I cringe when I have a load going into or coming out of Newark, but South Jersey, I would rather go there than Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

I'm happy it worked out for you.

I know it goes against most of the thinking here, however at some point you have to stand up and say no. If you have important things to do like doctors appointments or family obligations those should take precedence over freight. I've learned the hard way if you say "yes" all the time, the requests never seem to end.

That said, it doesn't hurt to do them favors sometimes; as you will need one from time to time. Just don't let them walk all over you.

Well said, EPIC. I don't think it goes against the TT grain, whatsoever. I believe it's more of the 'pay it forward/pay it back' mindset, myself.

Way to get it done Bill. Glad it worked out for you.

I completely agree with you Bobcat. I've actually been wanting to write up a thread about this exact thing for a few days but I've been quite busy. I'll try to post it later today/tonight if I have time in a new thread to not hijack bills post. I just finished an early day to take the kids apple picking and have a fun family day. Far too often we tend to focus on being a team player. I completely agree that is one step to becoming your dispatchers go to person and maximizing your income. However we also can't lose sight on there being more to our life (especially family) than just moving freight and taking your time off when it's convenient for the company.

Rob T., you are extremely well versed, and manage to 'table' emotions in your writings. I believe you should . . . do just that. Would be a great addition to the site; imho!

I agree with Rob and Bob (unintentional, I swear ).

It's great to be a team player when you can, but when you can't then you can't. There have been times I said no. Some times I feel bad about it, other times I don't. Helping when you can gets you some discretionary leeway and understanding.

At FedEx, I've had dispatchers give me bad information or lie to me. Bad info if they didn't know better or lie if they did. Check out my day of changed plans thread and I mentioned how they told me I could use an extension later in the day. That was a lie because they can't extend drive time and I can't use an extension if I have enough information to know I'm going to need it. That's when the team player stuff goes out the window. I don't appreciate being put in a bad spot or lied to and this isn't the first time it's happened.

I let it slide because it was a Friday and it wouldn't effect my start time, but if it were a Monday I would refuse because it would ruin the rest of my week because of needing a 10 hour break.

However, if they would've said "we messed up we really need this moved" then maybe I'd be more willing to help, even if it meant jacking up the rest of my week and making less money.

The point of this long post ( is it too late to say long story, short?) Is that being a team player works both ways. There should be gains and losses for the entire time, not just one person.

I'll overlook the "RobNBob" pundit, also...... LoLoL !!! Kinda like the 'Bob & Tom' show . . . my landlord's name was Bob (driver, too) and of course, my Tom . .when those two got together ~ it was the "Bob & Tom Show" on 18wheels !! Good days, man. Good times. (R.I.P. to Bob....a father figure to Tom & I both.. 4mil miler.)

This ^^^^^ concept/thread, would be EPIC, you guys. Entered into the cache of 'All Stars' on Trucking Truth. I agree 100%, and there HAVE been a few blogs that have 'touched on' this in the past; nothing with this level of reality, however.

To think; it all started with Bill being called 'Pops' .. in a 'Git'R'Done' moment !!!!!!

Y'all are awesome, guys.

~ Anne ~

Dispatcher:

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.
Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

What's up Real Diehl? Thanks. I went to Lumberton.

I'm Glad things worked out for you. It's great when something unexpected happens in your favor. South Jersey traffic is not nearly as bad as North Jersey. Unless you hit shore traffic on Friday evenings during the Summer. Where exactly did you go in South Jersey?

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

I hear ya. I said no a few weeks ago when I knew my clock would run out while I was in the docks of a consignee in Michigan. I'm not a yes man all the time, just most of the time. lol

I'm happy it worked out for you.

I know it goes against most of the thinking here, however at somepoint you have to stand up and say no. If you have important things to do like doctors appointments or family obligations those should take precedence over freight. I've learned the hard way if you say "yes" all the time, the requests never seem to end.

That said it doesn't hurt to do them favors sometimes as you will need one from time to time. Just don't let them walk all over you.

I frequently have loads going into and out of Vineland, NJ. There are actually a fair number of places to park in South Jersey. There is a small diner in Monroeville and another diner in Southampton Township, both of which rarely have full parking lots.

I cringe when I have a load going into or coming out of Newark, but South Jersey, I would rather go there than Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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