Dealing With Some Crazy Personalities During Training

by Philosopher Paul

I've been really happy with my fortune so far but the first day I met my finisher, I got a little concerned. This guy was definitely a hot-shot and, when I told the other students about our first conversation they were actually laughing their heads off. They liked him, just like me, when they had first seen him but the crap he was saying was a red-flag that there was going to be some problems on the road. The first thing he told me was "Forget everything you learned at your school. "

"Ok, no problem" I thought, I hadn't learned that much to begin with. Then he started to say a lot of other things that were obvious exaggerations and I knew that I was probably going to have to keep my mouth shut or call the company for another finisher.

"I average about 65 miles per hour when I drive." he said to me as I started scratching my head and trying to figure out how that was even humanly possible. The trucks were governed at 65 so, either he was doing a hell of a lot of downhill driving or the two of us had a different definition of the term "average." Then he showed me a photo of a rollover that he had been in and told me a story of a previous student who had tried to jump from his truck because he was driving 55 miles per hour into a blinding snowstorm.

Pushing The Limit

9-hauler.jpg I honestly got along with this guy pretty well on the first couple days. He said his philosophy was to "push it to the limit" so I was comparing him to a Vincent Van Gogh or a Michelangelo type. Many of the greats have been known to have madness to their Art. After he showed me some photos of his wife's naked body and we began to pull out of the parking lot, he said he was going to break my fingers if I did "That" again. Don't ask me what "That" was. It had something to do with my shifting but, before I could figure it out, he was yelling at me to "Turn the wheel to the right!"

It was raining that first day. I was trying to take things slow and he was trying to go fast. He grabbed the wheel right at the start and yanked it to the right to show me that he was actually the driver of this rig. Get out of trucking right now, folks, if you don't think you can put up with this kind of shit. A lot of people would have gotten out of the truck right there and asked for a new finisher but they would likely discover that this is par for the course. Instead, I started to show an attitude of "no concern" but you also have to be careful of this. "No concern" will piss off your finisher just as quickly as "Too much concern." Of all the things I heard that day, "Relax! Get moving! Get on that guy's ass! Slow the fuck down!" were only a few of the select phrases. I started to settle in after about 300 miles and just act calm. This seemed the only way to get through the first 7,500 miles alive.

My Trainer Had Some Great Qualities Too (Thank God!)

Don't get me wrong. My finisher also showed a lot of good qualities. He told me that I basically wouldn't be paying for anything during the three weeks we were together. This had already seemed to be mostly true. He also showed me a photo of himself several months back and how he had lost over 50 pounds in the past few months. He helped me with a lot of things that his job didn't require and, probably my favorite thing was his philosophy of "Not complaining." I really admired this part of his character. We were hearing complaints from other truckers everywhere we went. My finisher would always be quiet during these times and wait to mention it to me later. Then he would say "Did you hear all the complaints from those guys? They are creating their own problems by having a bad attitude." He also didn't drink alcohol and he loved to help out anytime he could. I had to say that my finisher really had a lot of heart.

Ego tends to function a lot like the blind spot in a trucker's rear view mirror. It looks enormous to the cars around it but the trucker can't really see it. Yes,….every trucker knows it's there but it's an abstract awareness. The perception only comes from a tiny little convex shape on the passenger side door. I tried to keep my eyes on my own ego those first few days, as well as in my rear view mirror. I knew the dangers of forgetting my blind spot and forgetting my own ego at the same time. All in all, I felt pretty positive about my finisher. I only needed to keep my mouth shut and not to ask too many questions. Then we would start to develop a working relationship and get through the tough weather.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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