Ahhh, finally the last day of orientation. Today was a short day. It started off talking about being healthy while on the road. Little tips and tricks on how / what to eat, how to get sleep, and the companies overall view on sleep deprivation. This company seems to be very safety conscious. A good quote I heard today was "A truck driver's job is to take care of his or her equipment, and the most important piece of equipment on that truck is you."
They talked about dispatchers who may try and force you to run even if you don't feel like you could safely do so, and how to deal with that. Communication is huge at this company and is something I definitely like to see. I have home phone numbers to multiple people, including my dispatcher, my dispatchers boss, the head of safety, and several others. The head of safety gave us his home number and asked, "Do you know how many phone calls I've actually received at home in the past year?" The answer was zero. He humorously replied "You don't think I'd give you my number out if I actually thought you'd call me, right?" But the bottom line is they want you to feel like you can talk to anybody at any time. Doesn't sound like most drivers are taking advantage of this, though.
We then had a very long class talking about our health insurance benefits. This was so boring it was almost unbearable. We then had a class on permits, which was also a bit boring, but info that was pretty useful to know.
One of the more interesting classes was when they brought a dispatcher in to talk to us. It was really good to hear what dispatchers have to deal with everyday. A lot of truck drivers are quick to complain about dispatchers, but they do not have an easy job! Trying to manage the logistics of their drivers and customers is a tough job. It helped to understand where they are coming from and why they might do things that don't make sense to us. Very useful! Hey, any dispatchers out there, email Brett and tell him you want to blog. We need to hear what it's like out there!!
We finished the day off talking about truck maintenance, which was pretty detailed. Then we were able to pick up our employee ID's and meet our own dispatcher in person. My dispatcher seems like a nice guy and has been doing it for some time. He has me setup with a trainer and I leave with him tomorrow! Wow! So here I go. My dispatcher said California looks to be my first load, but he wasn't completely positive about it yet. He wants to get me into the mountains with my trainer before all the snow starts melting so I can get some experience driving in it.
It looks like tomorrow at 8:30am I'll meet my trainer and take his truck for a quick run on the training pad, just to get familiar with it. Then onto the highways I go. This is very exciting for me, I finally made it!
Until next time, drive safely.