The "human Centipede" Theory Of Why Trainers Are Horrible To Their Trainees.

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The Persian Conversion's Comment
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I've read a lot of threads about the atrocities trainers will often inflict upon their students, and as I was reading the most recent one, it all of a sudden hit me: these trainers view human interaction as a real life version of the movie "human centipede." Let me explain.

Now for those of you who have never heard of the movie, well, I envy you. For those who have heard of it and never seen it, I say keep up the good work. And for those who have seen it... I'm sorry.

Without getting into the gory details, I will need to give a superficial summary of the film's premise in order to make my analogy clear:

There is a crazy doctor who kidnaps three individuals and uses them as involuntary subjects of his sick, twisted experiment. He knocks them out with a drug or something, and proceeds to sew them together into a human chain. Where does he sew them together, you ask? Well... Stop reading here if you are easily grossed out. I mean it, STOP NOW!

Not stopping? OK...

He...

Sews...

Them...

Together...

Mouth...

To...

Anus.

To the first person in the chain, he proceeds to feed all kinds of foods and laxatives and stuff in order to expedite the process of nutrients working their way through the newly created 3-part organism.

OK, enough of that, I think we all get it. Now you're thinking how in the world does this relate to truck driver training???

See, I believe that most of the "bad" trainers viewed themselves as the last man in the chain when they started out. In their head, they were the ones getting all the sh** from the people ahead of them in the chain. Their trainers were mean, the dispatchers didn't care about them, the customers were a**holes, etc. And because they were at the end of the chain, there was nothing they could do about it.

Now, as trainers, they view themselves as the middle man in the chain. Sure, they're still getting a bunch of crap from their superiors, but at least it's not compounded by multiple levels of a**holes. They're moving up in the world! And the best part? They have the satisfaction of knowing they can now give someone below them a bunch of crap. They figure, "I was in that position for too long taking sh** from everyone else, but now it's my turn to dish it out for a change."

Their ultimate goal? It's not to be the doctor, because that would entail too much responsibility. No, their goal is simply to be the first person in the chain. Sure, they'll still be force-fed by someone superior to them, but they'll be the ones to turn it all into crap and let it trickle down the food chain.

When I was in the Navy, I noticed this same pattern. Most of the senior enlisted guys were rude, arrogant jerks who seemed to take pleasure in causing their subordinates pain. It was because it had happened to them, so they reenlisted in order to work their way up to a position where they could do the same thing. The nice guys who treated everyone respectfully and considerately? They rarely reenlisted, if ever.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
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{Why bring that up? Roger Ebert gave Hum.Cent. ZERO stars. I want to unsee it.}

Serah D.'s Comment
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{Why bring that up? Roger Ebert gave Hum.Cent. ZERO stars. I want to unsee it.}

I swore to forget that movie, and I did, till now....don't know if I will sleep tonight!!!!

Frito's Comment
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Is it really that hard in this industry to say "hey bud, I see you're just starting out... Glad to have you along. We gotta get this trailer load of stuff from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible. I'm here to share my experience with you and perhaps build some confidence. Lets try and have a good time despite the limited space and see if we can't learn something. If you see something you're uncomfortable with or have a question about, please speak up and ask. Again, I'm here to help get you off on the right foot, now fasten your seat belt and lets hit the road. Wanna Gatorade?.”

Joshua C.'s Comment
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Is it really that hard in this industry to say "hey bud, I see you're just starting out... Glad to have you along. We gotta get this trailer load of stuff from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible. I'm here to share my experience with you and perhaps build some confidence. Lets try and have a good time despite the limited space and see if we can't learn something. If you see something you're uncomfortable with or have a question about, please speak up and ask. Again, I'm here to help get you off on the right foot, now fasten your seat belt and lets hit the road. Wanna Gatorade?.”

That's how it should be. Unfortunately, Males can be little drama queens too and from what I see, most these lease/trainers aren't training because they want to, but because they need to. It might sound like a good idea initially to have someone share your truck with you. But grown Men need their space and you have practically none during tnt. I'd never do it again nor would I ever train anyone in that type dynamic

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Frito's Comment
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Well somebody's going to have to do it. I've had some experience in the training department in another segment of transportation. There were certainly different approaches by different instructors but basic human decency was never a variable any new recruit had to concern themselves with.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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There were certainly different approaches by different instructors but basic human decency was never a variable any new recruit had to concern themselves with.

See, that's the thing with trucking. People have no expectations of us. They expect us to be out of shape, wear dirty clothes, smell like garbage, cuss, and be crabby. A sizeable percentage of drivers are just disgusting. And yet trucking companies keep letting them into company offices and sending them into customers with the name of the side of the truck. In any other profession our behavior, attire, speech, and attitude would be completely unacceptable for even a moment. If you walked into work one morning looking, smelling, and talking like these filthy drivers you'd be fired before you could even make it to your desk.

But truckers? Well that's all anyone expects of most of us. Unfortunately there are plenty of people out there who will live to the lowest acceptable standards placed upon them. As we've all seen.

There are a few companies that have higher standards for dress, conduct, and truck cleanliness. But very few.

Letting trainers get away with treating students like garbage and conducting themselves like pigs is just a reflection of how poorly a sizeable group of us have handled ourselves over the years. Companies are in fierce competition and they're trying like mad to keep driver salaries as low as possible. So it's a compromise they've always been willing to make. They'll bring in some sub-standard people and allow them to live and perform below the standards that would be expected of any true professional.

Is it really that hard in this industry to say "hey bud, I see you're just starting out... Glad to have you along. We gotta get this trailer load of stuff from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible. I'm here to share my experience with you and perhaps build some confidence. Lets try and have a good time despite the limited space and see if we can't learn something. If you see something you're uncomfortable with or have a question about, please speak up and ask. Again, I'm here to help get you off on the right foot, now fasten your seat belt and lets hit the road. Wanna Gatorade?.”

It's that hard if you're really insecure or you think like a caveman. You're either so primitive that you simply do the "establish dominance" thing by nature, or you're so insecure that you're always trying to degrade others to make yourself look better.

Interestingly enough I raise chickens, turkeys, and cows. They all act like that. There is no real mercy or cooperation. If you're strong you beat on the weak. If you're weak, you get beat on. There's no reason for it. They have a non-stop buffet of food and water 24/7. Doesn't matter. They're preprogrammed to establish and maintain dominance at all times whenever possible.

I think there's also more depression out there than you might think. A lot of these guys act tough but they're really stressed out over problems at home or their lease truck is losing money......could be a million things. I can't imagine being a miserable jerk, treating people like garbage, and going days without a shower if you're feeling great about your life and everything is going awesome. Sounds to me like someone who is kinda hitting rock bottom and has quit caring about anything, quit taking pride in themselves.

Drivers aren't going to be held to higher standards by the companies because the companies would rather keep wages down and recruiting opportunities high. And I don't see the drivers magically governing themselves and raising their own standards across the board. So I'm afraid we're kinda stuck in this rut. I guess all we can do is handle ourselves like true professionals and hope for the best from everyone else.

Frito's Comment
member avatar

Once again I appreciate your perspective Brett. I'm curious if whether it is a natural propensity of yours to have such insight into the dynamics of the human condition or if you in fact have some formal training in psychology? Despite what I continue to read I'm pressing forward with the CDL. I see it as a challenge and with an open mind I'm hoping to find a niche that appeals to me. However, as my research progresses and more and more voices are heard, my expectations continue to moderate. I have my eye on a few companies that appear to hold their employees to a higher level of expectation. I'm not afraid of a uniform, I've worn one for years, and I certainly know how to treat either a trainee or customer with courtesy and respect. My expectation is that I will either thrive or rapidly be eaten alive. Either way, as I've said, I'm up for the challenge and a new life experience.

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.
Chris the stick slinger's Comment
member avatar

Not so eloquent but very astute.

+1 persain

Stephanie D.'s Comment
member avatar

I find this post very interesting. First off I have not seen the movie based on my knowledge of the premise :) Secondly, my guy is doing his TNT as we speak and all he talks about is how many different trainers have tried to get him to go with them, with varying promises of more money, or home time, etc. Maybe he is the exception though, after reading this thread. Appreciate the insight! <3

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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