Growing Pains On The Road With WEL

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RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Hello Everyone:-) I know Ive been MIA for a bit. Those of you who have been around long enough know thats normal for me but hey I always find my way back. Things have been alittle up in the air for me lately. Ill get into that but I do want to put a disclaimer on what Im about to say for all of the newbies: I might not have been totally in the right on a few things..........

Anywho last I left off I was a lean mean training machine and had been invited to our annual banquet for the 2nd year in a row. After 4 girls in 2 months I burned out on training and decided to take possibly a permanent break from training. After one girl followed me around for 4 weeks (literally she was never more than 2ft from me the whole time), the next one threatening me and the third one who didn't think she had to drive at night, in the mountains, when she was on her period, when she was a little tired etc I just had enough. They asked me to give it a 6 month thought so we shall see. 8 girls under my belt in 9 months though isnt bad. We shall see.

Now after 2 1/2 yrs with the same company I almost quit...........Lately things had been slow and I was sitting entirely too much. So I had a conversation with my DM. When I came back from hometime I needed to start rolling harder........Welp when I came back I got a whooping 1468 miles in 7 days. I was pretty ****ed to say the least soooooo I started exploring my options. I did a one and done app to see what else was out there. Never do one of these apps unless you have about a week to talk to recruiters lol. Being as though this was the first time since CDL school that I put in apps I was overwhelmed by how "in demand" I was! Im the kind that needs all the facts before i make a decision. The grass always seems greener but its really not. Changing companies usually is just changing one set of problems for a new set. Some people need or want different things and everything isnt always for everybody.

When they found out I was looking retention called me to find out what was up and made me promise to give it a few so they could fix it. I promised not to make a decision for 3 weeks but that I was going to continue to explore. 50 recruiters later I feel pretty informed lol A few days later I had a 3 hr convo with our owner. I had plenty of time to talk as I was being laid over for 2 days with no load.......

So lets recap. I come out of the house on Monday on a 203 mile 2 stop load for 2 days, followed by a 479 mile load for 1 day and a 736 miles load that got held up for 2 1/2 days because of a 3,000 lbs overage on my tandems that were set at bridge law and a broken trailer only to have the load tcalled on Friday at our Joliet yard with no load til Sunday at 1pm that was only 753 miles for 3 days........To say the least I was frustrated but being promised that my next load would be a money run.

Welp at 4pm on Tuesday night (closing time) i get my "money run" 579 miles for 2 days. So I did what i never do and commited a NO to it. When my DM called to ask me why I explained my frustration as to the past weeks events.......that was greated with the following response "Take the load or I can route you to the yard to clean out your truck".......So I requested to be routed to the yard. 20 min later I was given a 975 mile run with 130 mile dead for 2 days to clean out my truck. Funny how that load wasn't available before hand right?

Now here is where my level head prevailed. I was 10 miles from a terminal when this conversation took place. Said terminal is 3 miles from my house. Said terminal also has my car parked at it........But I didn't do what so many drivers would do. I did not abandon the truck. Instead I made arrangements with a company 8 miles from our WI yard to start orientation. Woke up bright and early and picked up my load and headed towards WI. When I arrived I was meet with a whole bunch of folks that refused to let me leave. I have a new DM now after 2 1/2 yrs with the same one. I'm giving them one more shot to make it right. Not sure how things will go but ill make sure to keep yall posted. Welp enough about me. How are yall doing?

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.

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.

Tandems:

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".

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".

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Let me preface these remarks by saying that I think Red Gator is one tough trucking girl who has proven her worth to the folks at WEL time and time again. She's a runner who has always made it happen out there, and then she proved herself again as an awesome female trainer.

But... when you've had the same driver manager for 2.5 years and been doing great with them and you get a response like this from them there is usually more to the story.

So I did what i never do and commited a NO to it. When my DM called to ask me why I explained my frustration as to the past weeks events.......that was greated with the following response "Take the load or I can route you to the yard to clean out your truck"

Jetguy responded with this:

Sometimes you got to stick to your guns- like you did in order to get the miles

I do not claim to know what's going on over at WEL, but I do know that we as drivers some time just have a small picture of the inner workings at the trucking companies we work for. It makes no sense for us to assume that a perfectly great dispatcher has suddenly gone bad. I'm in no way saying Red is doing something wrong. But she herself used the words "burned out" in her post. She's been hitting it hard for a long time now, maybe she needs to take a break and re-assess what she wants out of this, and how to make that happen. Here is one thing I do know about this career, you don't get more miles by being demanding and threatening to leave. Sticking to your guns isn't the formula for success in trucking. Proving yourself day in and day out and continuing to do just that when your miles are down is how you get past a slow period.

Here's a tip for any newbies looking into this career. When things slow down a little make the most of it. I take the time to do something I want to do for myself. I might rent a car and act like a tourist for a few days, or take in a movie or enjoy a visit to a really nice restaurant. Go to a sporting event that interest you. The last thing you want to do is sit there in your truck and stew over how badly you are being treated. This will lead to nowhere but a different trucking job, and Lord knows there are the same kind of problems no matter which trucking company you go to.

Think ahead when you are a truck driver - recognize that slow times are going to happen, we can't all run 3,200 miles every week. Take some of that good money you are making during those busy times and rat hole it away into some kind of a savings that you can dig into if you have to when times are slow. I enjoy running real hard, but when it lightens up I try to make the most of it. The one constant in this job is change, and if Red cools down a little she will soon realize that the miles are back on her. Why did it slow down? I don't know. But this I do know, the time where she can barely keep up with what they are giving her will be back.

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.

Driver 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

RedGator's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Ive always appreciated your replies Old School. Let me add a few facts to the bigger picture. This is not the first time Ive had this issue. Fact is about every 6 months ive gone through this. Last year we lost one of our owners and after that the company as a whole started changing just not for the better. We have lost a lot of really good drivers that just didnt want to stick it out. We have also lost a whole bunch of our accounts. The DM thats I spent 2 1/2 yrs with is known for her bullying ways. I had just never put my foot down with her before. Ive pretty much accepted whatever and not questioned much but an average of 2000 miles a week just isnt enough. I dont work OTR to sit in truck stops. Its depressing. I am not to say that Im 100 percent right at all in this matter but if I was 100 percent wrong I wouldn't have had 10 ppl begging me to stay either.

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.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Now I was always one of the hardest running drivers you'd find out there. I always wanted around 3,000 - 3,200 miles per week. That was about perfect. Anything under 3,000 was a disappointment. To be clear, I always used paper logbooks, not electronic logs , so averaging those kind of miles was never a concern from a logging standpoint.

In 15 years I also had a perfect safety record and was late for an appointment time maybe once a year. I ran hard, I was safe, and I was reliable. Therefore I always expected to be near the top of the list when it came to miles.

But sometimes thing would get slow for a few weeks here and there, normally sometime between January and April which was always the slowest time of the year. When that would happen I'd keep on top of dispatch, basically with "let's go already!!! I need some miles!!!"

The first thing I would do is talk to any of our company drivers that I'd see throughout the day. I mostly worked for large carriers so there were plenty of drivers around during the course of my travels. Often times I would find that everyone was slow, everyone was complaining about low miles. When that was the case I knew it wasn't me getting short-changed. It was simply a soft patch in the freight, which happens at every company.

Redgator, did you get a chance to talk to a bunch of drivers at your company to find out if it was slow overall or if you were getting singled out for some reason?

If I found out things were slow across the board I would let dispatch know I was aware of the situation but I would keep campaigning for more miles. I mean, that's kind of like an Italian campaigning for more food.......everyone knows Italians always want more food! ( I'm Italian :-) ) So they would do what they could and I would endure it, begrudgingly.

But on the rare occasion I found out others were getting decent miles and I wasn't, that's when I'd start making phone calls to people I had gotten to know higher up the chain of command to see if they could pull some strings. And they always could. Because when you think about it, what else were they going to do? Here was one of their top drivers who knew for a fact that freight was available but somehow I wasn't getting my share. They would get me assigned a good load or two and give the heads up to dispatch to make sure they kept me rolling.

Did you talk around with other drivers? Were they getting good miles while you were sitting or were they struggling too?

You've been one of their top drivers for a long time. If there's freight available but somehow you're not getting your share then obviously "something is rotten in Denmark" as my Grandfather inexplicably used to say. It never came to this for me, but if I had found out I couldn't get my share of freight no matter what approach I took then I would have spoken one last time to one of the higher ups to say, "Listen, if you don't want my services any longer I'm fine with that. There are literally thousands of companies that would put me in a truck tomorrow. I know the freight is available and there's no reason I'm aware of that should keep me from getting my share. If I continue to find that others are getting good miles while I'm sitting then I'll take that as a clear sign you don't want me around any longer and I'll move on. If you want to keep me around, make sure I stay near the top of the mileage list. Simple as that."

At that point there isn't much else you can do I guess.

But honestly that never happened to me. It never got to that point. If miles were available then I was getting them. If they weren't then we all sat around waiting it out.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Brett and others, she did not tell them she was leaving or threatening to leave, they found out because of the applications (with multiple "s" according to the number of recruiters calling her). The dispatcher threatened her and she said "ok". It's more of "You want to fire me? Ok, I need the vacation." She did not threaten to quit if they did not give her more miles. She was exploring opportunities and they found out about it.

Redgator even decided to give them some more time. The thing is, she is in the drivers seat literally and figuratively on this one. She is one of the top drivers and she already has job offers. And she is a trainer to boot.

Redgator, I don't know whether you are right or wrong but that dispatcher, like you, can have a bad day. That does not mean that they or you can bring that to work. He/she probably about fell out of their chair in shock when you said to route you to the terminal.

You have sounded like you have been happy with the company over the last 2.5 years. That is also something to think about. The freight might have been slow for a few weeks but then they should have offered home time to people during those weeks. That would have left more freight for other drivers.

The whole thing is that you are not demanding something unreasonable. Just keep you running. You already know how hard it is to keep rookie drivers past their first year and you have been past 2. That says a lot about the company and the driver.

As for your burn out on training, take some time off from that. It sounds like you like to train but you also need your alone time. Well I may have a solution. Take the time off needed to recoup and refuel on the training thing. Then when or if you go back to being a trainer, instead of back to back trainees on your truck, skip a month in between. So, train for a month then solo for a month. You would be training someone every other month. This give you a break for some alone time that I think you are missing.

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.

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.
RedGator's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Larry I totally want to make this clear I really dont think rookies or experienced drivers should be combatative nor feel like they have the right to call the shots. Not unless your prepared to deal with the cconcequencces. Im in a unique position. From day one ive generally been liked and accepted by office staff and drivers alike. I work really hard on the formulation of all of my professional relationships. While most drivers deal with their DM and that's it I go and sit down and chat with everyone from the owner to the VP to recruiting to customer support. Why you ask? Because one day I will move back into the corporate world and the formulation of relationships is super important there. 2 i generally like most everyone at my company. I do not however take that for granted nor feel like im owed special privelages because of it Pat truly hit the nail on the head. I really dont think that she thought i would say ok. That being said I had all bases covered. I have plenty of money in the bank. I had another company willing to put me in a hotel paid for 4 days until oreintation began and my ex trainer lives 5 miles from our terminal and was willing to come and help me clean out my truck. Whether i stayed or went was irrelevant. I had all my bases covered. I truly do enjoy my company but sometimes i have a tendency to let my emotions overshadow the facts. I can like ppl just fine but at the end of the day the name of the game is money. You dont sacrifice all that time away from your family to bring home a "mcdonalds" paycheck.

Here's the big thing I am taking away from this (Experienced drivers, please chime in if you see issues):

- Being recognized as a top 10% driver in your company two years in a row affords you the ability to question issues and get results. I get Old School's message: Try this as a newbie and your miles dry up and you are out looking for another job.

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.

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.
Charles K.'s Comment
member avatar

Red(Green? LoL)Gator, I like your attitude. Keep your head up, "money run" is. By the corner!

Jetguy's Comment
member avatar

Wow RG that was a good read. Sometimes you got to stck to your guns- like you did in order to get the miles- and move on. GOOD LUCK. I just got my first Cdl permit and am getting ready for Prime orientation/training. Love to read OTR experiences from old timers 😉 like you.

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.

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.

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Good Luck Scott. You will be an old Pro in no time

Wow RG that was a good read. Sometimes you got to stck to your guns- like you did in order to get the miles- and move on. GOOD LUCK. I just got my first Cdl permit and am getting ready for Prime orientation/training. Love to read OTR experiences from old timers 😉 like you.

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.

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.

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Hopefully so Charles K. We shall see how things turn out.

Serah D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hopefully so Charles K. We shall see how things turn out.

Good luck RG. They had better deliver!!

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

The funny thing about grass is. Sometimes it IS greener on the other side. For your sake I hope things work out where you're at. If not I'm sure you'll be able to find a well paying seat somewhere else.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Let me preface these remarks by saying that I think Red Gator is one tough trucking girl who has proven her worth to the folks at WEL time and time again. She's a runner who has always made it happen out there, and then she proved herself again as an awesome female trainer.

But... when you've had the same driver manager for 2.5 years and been doing great with them and you get a response like this from them there is usually more to the story.

So I did what i never do and commited a NO to it. When my DM called to ask me why I explained my frustration as to the past weeks events.......that was greated with the following response "Take the load or I can route you to the yard to clean out your truck"

Jetguy responded with this:

Sometimes you got to stick to your guns- like you did in order to get the miles

I do not claim to know what's going on over at WEL, but I do know that we as drivers some time just have a small picture of the inner workings at the trucking companies we work for. It makes no sense for us to assume that a perfectly great dispatcher has suddenly gone bad. I'm in no way saying Red is doing something wrong. But she herself used the words "burned out" in her post. She's been hitting it hard for a long time now, maybe she needs to take a break and re-assess what she wants out of this, and how to make that happen. Here is one thing I do know about this career, you don't get more miles by being demanding and threatening to leave. Sticking to your guns isn't the formula for success in trucking. Proving yourself day in and day out and continuing to do just that when your miles are down is how you get past a slow period.

Here's a tip for any newbies looking into this career. When things slow down a little make the most of it. I take the time to do something I want to do for myself. I might rent a car and act like a tourist for a few days, or take in a movie or enjoy a visit to a really nice restaurant. Go to a sporting event that interest you. The last thing you want to do is sit there in your truck and stew over how badly you are being treated. This will lead to nowhere but a different trucking job, and Lord knows there are the same kind of problems no matter which trucking company you go to.

Think ahead when you are a truck driver - recognize that slow times are going to happen, we can't all run 3,200 miles every week. Take some of that good money you are making during those busy times and rat hole it away into some kind of a savings that you can dig into if you have to when times are slow. I enjoy running real hard, but when it lightens up I try to make the most of it. The one constant in this job is change, and if Red cools down a little she will soon realize that the miles are back on her. Why did it slow down? I don't know. But this I do know, the time where she can barely keep up with what they are giving her will be back.

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.

Driver 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

RedGator's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Ive always appreciated your replies Old School. Let me add a few facts to the bigger picture. This is not the first time Ive had this issue. Fact is about every 6 months ive gone through this. Last year we lost one of our owners and after that the company as a whole started changing just not for the better. We have lost a lot of really good drivers that just didnt want to stick it out. We have also lost a whole bunch of our accounts. The DM thats I spent 2 1/2 yrs with is known for her bullying ways. I had just never put my foot down with her before. Ive pretty much accepted whatever and not questioned much but an average of 2000 miles a week just isnt enough. I dont work OTR to sit in truck stops. Its depressing. I am not to say that Im 100 percent right at all in this matter but if I was 100 percent wrong I wouldn't have had 10 ppl begging me to stay either.

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.

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

Red, I think you know I'm trying to respond in a general manner that will help folks understand how all this works. I wouldn't pretend to know what all is going on over there and tried to say that. I don't know how to council you specifically, but I do know they will be missing you when you're gone. I am still getting phone calls from Western Express begging me to come back.

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