Need Advice

Topic 8621 | Page 1

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N's Comment
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A friend of mine just started his training program with Werner. He has been with a trainer for about two weeks now. About 5 days into his training his trainer, who is an owner operator , started getting frustrated with him because the trainer felt as if he was not picking up on things as quickly as he should have. The main issue is shifting (he learned on a 10 speed and this truck is a 13 speed I believe. The trainer keeps changing how he should be shifting constantly which is confusing him. The trainer stated that he was probably going to have to drop him in a couple days when they got to the next terminal. My friend was dropped off at the terminal and called his manager to see if there might be a possibility of a new trainer and the manager said no. Apparently the trainer changed his mind because after 3 days of rest the trainer came to pick him up at the hotel and they were on the road again. The trainer said that he was doing better this morning but this afternoon is again threatening to drop him. Is there any advice on how my friend might be able to handle this situation appropriately? Also what is the chance he could be let go of he is dropped by the trainer? My friend understands that the trainer is an owner operator and that damages to the truck can come out of the trainer's pocket and he does not want to make mistakes but the constant bad feedback is messing with him. His confidence is completely shot at this point.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Christopher J.'s Comment
member avatar

A friend of mine just started his training program with Werner. He has been with a trainer for about two weeks now. About 5 days into his training his trainer, who is an owner operator , started getting frustrated with him because the trainer felt as if he was not picking up on things as quickly as he should have. The main issue is shifting (he learned on a 10 speed and this truck is a 13 speed I believe. The trainer keeps changing how he should be shifting constantly which is confusing him. The trainer stated that he was probably going to have to drop him in a couple days when they got to the next terminal. My friend was dropped off at the terminal and called his manager to see if there might be a possibility of a new trainer and the manager said no. Apparently the trainer changed his mind because after 3 days of rest the trainer came to pick him up at the hotel and they were on the road again. The trainer said that he was doing better this morning but this afternoon is again threatening to drop him. Is there any advice on how my friend might be able to handle this situation appropriately? Also what is the chance he could be let go of he is dropped by the trainer? My friend understands that the trainer is an owner operator and that damages to the truck can come out of the trainer's pocket and he does not want to make mistakes but the constant bad feedback is messing with him. His confidence is completely shot at this point.

First of all which company is he with and yes he can request a different mentor and ask that he be trained on a 10 speed

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

N's Comment
member avatar

He is with Werner and he has already asked and the manager said no but since the situation is not getting better it is probably better that he asks again for a new trainer right? It seems like it is not a good situation for either of them. He is more worried that if the trainer follows through with his threat of dropping him that Werner will fire him.

Old School's Comment
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Lee, this tale about "your friend" has put me into some mental gymnastics. I've got to tell you that it sounds bizarre to me, which I will explain to you in a minute, but first I want to answer what seems to be your main concern or question which has to do with whether he should try to ask for another trainer.

Here's the way this almost always goes down. The trainer is going to be asked by the suits in the office "What is going on with this guy?" Then when the trainer tells them "He just isn't catching on, I've given him plenty of chances, but I just can't seem to get through to him." The game is over at that point. They know this trainer, he may not be perfect, but he was good enough for them to consider him a trainer, and that mans that he has a decent track record at this company. "Your friend" has nothing to stand on - he is completely untested material - he has no record with the company, and as far as they are concerned he is just one more rookie driver who will probably quit within the first three months anyway, so they might as well cut their losses now instead of dragging this all out. He won't get anywhere by trying to blame his lack of success on the trainer, because the trainer has a history with other rookie drivers that they know about.

Do you see what I'm saying? The trainer is already tried and tested, the new guy is nothing, nobody, he is completely disposable. He was given a chance to prove himself, which is what this training is more about than anything. I had a crazy trainer who was constantly yelling and trying to rattle me. I had to show him that I had nerves of steel and to be honest with you I just simply ignored him most of the time which only riled him up more. Some of these trainers think that threats will cause you to bear down and do your best, but if they see their behavior is messing with your mind and your concentration then they automatically think well this guy just doesn't have what it takes to make it out here. The biggest challenge faced by any new driver is the mental game that is played on them out here. When a new driver first goes solo, that is where most of them get defeated. The trainers know this and they are definitely testing you on your mental toughness. Can you keep your cool when things are not going your way, can you function professionally in a difficult situation that is fraught with pressure?

Most new drivers think their training is to teach them how to shift gears and back into docks - and well, that is a small part of the big picture. But a more thorough education will be to run you through the mill and see if we think you can make it or not. I'm puzzled that "your friend" hasn't gotten the hang of shifting yet. I promise you I can take someone out here and have them shifting gears in about ten minutes. Now they won't be experts, but they will have an understanding of how this works and be able to move the truck down the road. Then within just a few days they will begin to start polishing their new found skills and getting better with each day.

Okay, here's what seems bizarre to me. If "your friend" was dropped off at the terminal because the trainer thought he wasn't going to make it, and they already told him he couldn't have a different trainer, then there is no way they would put him up in a hotel for three more days. He would have been sent to the bus station and told to figure out how he is going to get home. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but that doesn't sound right - someone is confused on why they were dropped off.

His confidence is completely shot at this point.

It takes a lot of confidence to be in charge of an 80,000 pound vehicle out here in all kinds of stressful situations. A trainee needs to demonstrate that he has got what it takes to handle the pressure, and sometimes the trainer is the only source of pressure during that training period. He needs to be confident that his trainee can handle himself out here on his own. When you are with a trainer it's too easy to just look to them to know how to handle everything, so they will often times put pressure on you so that they can see how you function when they are not being helpful. You have got to be able to think on your own feet, and fast.

I'm more inclined to say that "your friend" needs to buckle down and realize that the first three or four months of this job is gong to be like being on the inside of a pressure cooker - the heat is going to be on. Now is the time to show the trainer what you've got. It's game on, go big, or go home.

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.

N's Comment
member avatar

Thank you

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