Last year, on the first of November, I enrolled in local truck driving school. Let me tell you that prior to this, the largest thing that I had ever driven was my Jeep Cherokee, I had never driven stick shift, and the only trailer that I have ever backed up was an empty jet ski trailer (of which I would learn later on is one the hardest dadgum things to do.) I am the epitome of being green.
Formally, I was a Jeweler and salesperson for a family owned jewelry store. The economy that has been treating us so good for the last decade had finally caught up with us. It was either pay me or pay the house for my parents. "FunkyFritz, you're still young, why don't you see if you can find another job..." Talk about an awkward way to get let go by your own parents.
So I begin my adventures. I passed through truck driving school with no problem surprisingly enough. I will give credit to my instructor though. He was a hothead but funny at the same time. He wanted to make sure we had a good experience but also wanted to make sure that we were doing everything right. I finished my schooling with a 100 on my road test (Which translate to absolutely nothing in the real world, lol. We were doing hot laps around my town.)
Being a savvy person, I researched all of the companies by checking out forums. I was aware that because of my fresh outta school status, most companies that would hire you would probably not be the best in the world... I found this particular site and decided on what I thought to be the lessor of evils.
I began with Werner at the end of the year in December at the Dallas Terminal. Pulling up to it, it looks like a prison system. After observing what goes on there at night in the adjacent truck stop and area, I'm actually glad that we had those fences lol. I began the orientation process the next morning. This unfortunately took much longer than planned... It seemed that everyone in the room didn't know how to fill out their application properly. I thankfully was able to get it right in the first try but many people couldn't get the hang of it for some reason or another... Blah Blah blah...
In short, I signed up for the Dollar General Account out of Ardmore, OK.
I waited about two days for my trainer to arrive.
Skills-wise and teaching, he was very good. He liked to shower which was another plus. The only downside was that he had a very heavy accent... When he'd get excited or anything, the words would just run together. He taught me little things that made the biggest difference and he really worked hard with me on my backing. All in all, I felt like I got lucky, considering all of the horror stories that I hear.
He took his hometime in Las Vegas where he lives during the week of Christmas. That was fun.. note to self- there are only oriental people on the strip in Vegas during Christmas. Dang Jesus haters.
I took my mid break and switched to 48 state... Took a little bit of muscling to get my Student Driver Manager to agree to this (He was a dick, by the way. Overworked? I don't really know.)
I got my second trainer and lucked out again... I had a fantastic old dude that continued to help me with my backing and was fun to be on the road with. I finished out my training with him and was dropped off at the Allentown, PA Terminal to get my truck.
This is where the headaches began...
I signed up prior, to get on the buddy system (or whatever its called). I was supposed to get my truck and get with my dispatcher and get a load going down to Dallas to pick up my teammate.... It took me nearly 3 weeks to get down there. During those three weeks, I was stranded (and like a fool) with no water, food, etc. for about three days at a consignee in NY. (Learned to pack food now.)
Whenever I finally get back down to Dallas to pick up my teammate, I find that I am now basically training him... And he didnt want to do a #### thing. He was incapable of lowering the landing gear. High hitched on a number of occasions, and during my short stint with him, jacked the trailer into both side of the fairings on the cab, severed an air line from jacking, all but ripped off the front bumper at a shipper (Nestle in Dallas, fell off the foundation) and somehow ruined our APU unit. In addition to that, his previous trainer did not let him use the Quallcomm... While I was trying to sleep, he would constantly bug me about stupid stuff. blah blah...
One thing that especially stuck out to me was the week my Fleet Manager was out... I got a rotating basis of stupid fill ins. At one point, I needed to figure out how to do a lumper load. (Never did one of these with my prev. trainers) and they offered absolutely NO help. I wound up finding a number that may be pertinent to what I was doing and got help that way.
Anyways bottom line, dont get a teammate.
When I kicked his ### off the truck, I got the best sleep ever. He had this nasty habit of engine braking and downshifting every gear as he came to a stop while I was sleeping.. Lovely.
I continued running 48 states and was given decent miles... One problem I noticed quite a bit was a mix up in Appointment times. Oftentimes I would arrive between 2-6 hours ahead of time and at one point I was 2 days ahead of schedule.
I made the best I could with them and left them not too long ago to drive for a company that travels around the country with a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial (The wall, like in DC) Set up in different communities and let them honor their veterans. I can't complain... 48' Trailer, Hotel every night (SHOWERS), and deal with nice people all the time.
Overall... my training experience with Werner was top notch... only because I lucked out and got two really good guys...
When I was solo, I was so-so... I suppose its really just normal headaches you deal with on a day to day basis with any other company. Depends on your attitude... I'm a pretty happy, good natured person and don't really let stuff stick to me.
####, I ramble don't I?
Don't flame, lol.
My Werner Experience
Another side note, my second trainer, the nice old man, went BALLISTIC when we crossed the NJ State line headed to Newark... Some kind of PTSD. lol. Sure enough, every time he'd ever been to NJ / Newark, he'd gotten lost. He made a wrong turn and we were in the middle of downtown headed towards the Holland Bridge... Low clearance bridges to our right, and downtown to our left. lol. That was an adventure to say the least. He was freaking out... I will admit, you gotta really really pay attention to the signs when you are there.123456 Thanks this.
Very nice write up. It was refreshing to read a posting with good grammar and sentence construction. Spacing the paragrahps out made it very easy to read.
Based on your writing style, it does not surprise me that you did not struggle to fill out an employment application while others did.
I've noticed that many of the most vocal complainers in this forum lack basic writing and spelling skills while those who have good written commucication skills seem to find a way to rise above the daily curveballs of the trucking industry. This is a broad generalization, of course, and I am almost certain there are many exceptions.Ops85 Thanks this.
I can certainly relate to the hotels every night, I'm posting this from a best western in Kentucky, running a new vacum truck down to texas where I pick up new Freightshakers and drive them back to canada. I decided to go to a drive away service carrier fresh out of school and have been enjoying it immensely compared to trying any one of the typical starter companies of which many a horror story has been written.
Good to hear that your rookie year like mine has been going well for you.
Fyi I am with a company called Drivestar, which for their shortcomings involving the odd wait on paperwork isn't half bad for a starter company. They do not offer any sort of training and rely on you to get down the road your self, so maybee not a great idea for somone like yourself as green as you claimed to be, due to my background in landscape construction I was able to wing it just fine.
They have both american and canadian divisions and don't exactly require you to be close to their terminal.
Anyways ill stop my rambling and wish you safe travels driver!