A trucker-in-training dilemma

I’ve been going back and forth lately with a decision I hope to make in the next few days. I think logic is telling me one thing and my heart is telling me another, and they are both pulling at me equally as strong.

Do I go with an over-the-road trainer for a week or two, or do I jump in the truck with Adam right away and hit the road?

I know, it doesn’t seem like a major dilemma, and it probably isn’t. But seriously… I just can’t seem to make up my mind, and it’s driving me batty. Welcome to my thought processes —

I honestly think either way, I’ll be fine. I can be ready. But…

I’ve been training with a local trainer, and it’s been great for experience. I’ve been driving on the highway, in the city, practicing cornering in new areas, dealing with traffic that doesn’t see me as a student driver (because it’s not written on my trailer!), coupling and uncoupling, backing… lots of really good stuff that I’ll need to know. But I haven’t been over-the-road yet. I haven’t dealt with electronic logs. I haven’t driven in mountains. I haven’t slept in a truck in a strange city. I haven’t dealt with eating and exercise away from home. I haven’t experienced weigh stations, scales, inspections or tolls. I haven’t had to… well, I don’t know! What else do I need to learn?

The thing that’s making this decision hard is that I fully trust that Adam can teach me these things – the things I haven’t learned about being over-the-road while working with a local trainer. But Adam also tells me what a great trainer this guy is that I’d be going with, so he’s feeling torn, too. He wants me to have that experience with the trainer, but he wants to be driving with me as his partner. We both want that. Bad. It seems like an easy decision, right? Go with the trainer for a bit, be patient, and then Adam and I will be driving together. Well, unfortunately my heart is screaming at me to jump in with Adam. NOW. I don’t know how much more emotion and stress I can take with this anticipation. We’re so close, and it seems like every week we’re almost there… and then it gets extended. Making the decision to go with Adam as soon as possible feels solid. And the bonus is that it allows us to feel excited and giddy.

I know Adam doesn’t expect me to be a pro at this right off the bat. I know he is willing to help me with things I need help with. But I also know he doesn’t want me to feel inferior in any way (he’s told me that). We’re in this together. A team. It would probably help me feel more comfortable having that “training” experience, but maybe it would be fun to just have those experiences learning and growing with him. Trusting him, enjoying letting him show me things and teach me from his experiences. I know he’s safe, he’s thorough, and he follows the rules and the laws. I know he would teach me right.

But what to do… I feel like I might be cheating myself out of a valuable experience skipping the company’s over-the-road trainer, but I also feel like I could be cheating myself out of a very cool growing experience for me and Adam.

I guess if I could choose a very specific path, I’d do one run with the company trainer. Something no more than about five days. Just enough to get a few nights on the road to get a feel for driving for hours, maybe some mountains, big city traffic, truck stops, diet, e-logs… Then when that’s done, I could go with Adam, but not run as a full-on team. When we’re running as a full-on team, we’ll be on opposite shifts. When he’s sleeping I’ll be driving, and vice versa. So if we ran kind of like one-and-a-half for a week or two so he and I can find a rhythm, a routine, and figure out our best ways to work together in this new environment… that would probably work. Ah, but what do I know!?

I don’t know if any of this will be up to me, anyway. I get the feeling that I could potentially have a say in what it is I want to do, but how much can I ask for? How specific can I be? I certainly don’t want to push it. I’m new here. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I want to help Adam, and I want to be as good as I possibly can be at this job.

A big part that is overwhelmingly leaning me towards jumping in the truck with Adam after all this thought, is that I worry he’s going to go completely nutso. He wants to be more patient, and feels sorry that he’s having a hard time controlling his anxiousness. I don’t blame him. He’s doing a job he already knows he doesn’t enjoy – he enjoys truck driving, just not as a solo driver. He’s been there. Done that. And he’s left it behind. He came back to finally fulfill his dream to team drive with me. And now he’s back there. Solo. It yanks at my heart to see him struggle through this part of the journey, and I want more than anything to make it better.

And it comes down to this in my mind, once again:

Either way, we’ll be fine. In a few weeks we’ll have it all down, just like any new job, whether I go with the trainer or not. So why not just jump in and go with Adam right now? Why not?

Tonight I love the unknown. Because sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a great joy in this great big little life…


13 thoughts on “A trucker-in-training dilemma

  1. Pingback: A trucker-in-training dilemma | operation CDL

  2. Many long years ago I was supposed to get a class B license. I was training for that at my company, had a permit, etc. About a week before I was to take my test I got a letter from the DMV saying I was to come in on such and such a date for my class A test! I was confused and called them up. Turns out I had accidentally gotten a class A learner’s permit and so that was what I had to take my test as, did I still want to go through with it. I called my boss and they said they could easy use another class A driver (I worked for a US Mail contractor at the time) and if I wanted to take the test I could go out with the trainer and get some crash-course learning. Now, I was not totally new to 18-wheelers as I had been a diesel mechanic for UPS in my past, (and thus had no problems learning the pre-trip inspection or any of the mechanical stuff) but I had never driven a truck with a trailer attached. I did two overnight trips with the company trainer and then went and took my class A test, and passed. The next week I was out on the road alone with a 53′ trailer behind me. To say I was petrified would be an understatement of the baddest kind. But, I kept at it and it was fine. I tell you this long-winded story to say that you too will be fine if you decide to go out with Adam now instead of waiting for more and more training. :)

  3. I would personally go with as much training as possible cause driving any vehicle out on our crazy roads requires so much more then is required. As it is now, anyone is aloud to drive a car with just a simple test, and we should all be as prepared as we can possibly be. Go for the training..

  4. You will be surprised how much you have already learned when you get out in the real world without your instructor. It’s a lot of common sense and nerves of steel. You know the basics. It will all become natural in time. Go hang with the hubby. You got to be out there everyday. Piece of cake.


    Andrea Dinsmore

    On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 8:27 PM, So Many Miles

  5. What’s another week or two in the long haul. You and Adam will have many years to support each other and even though there is some anxiety now this too shall pass. I say take the training while the opportunity is given. It think it could make you a stronger team.——–Chill. I also think the Gimpy Geezer is a wise man with his crazy sense of humor.

  6. Robin, I know you and adam are anxious…but, I would take the company training as every person teaches you something different and crosses your path for a reason. Adam will teach you things and you will get that chance to grow together. I know he’s struggling, but he should be able to see the longterm results and aim towards them. I guess, I boil it down to : Do something if you will regret not doing it; don’t do something if you feel you will regret it. You guys have all the time in the world to drive together. Grab opportunities as they fly by. :) Loveya girl! Heidi

  7. Adam can’t possibly learn/remember everything that he’ll be taught from the trainer. I think if you go with the trainer for a week, it will put less stress on Adam later. Plus, there won’t be nearly as many times when you question if Adam is giving you the right information. Finally, everyone learns shortcuts after they’ve been on a job for awhile. My vote would be to learn the basics from the trainer, then let Adam teach you all the ways to make the job easier.

  8. Somewhere along the way I came across the quote, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will keep you occupied, but you won’t get anywhere. Or, as Poppa Hambone used to say when he closed his late night Jazz program, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and down here on planet earth it is all small stuff.” Neither quote may be of any help, but something to think about. You have lived more life than I have even though I’m more than twice your age. Try to think of the longer range ramifications of whichever decision you make. What difference will it make in a week, month, year? After your decision is made, just go on in your full bore style and don’t look back. Be well. jim

  9. Wow, take it easy!! remember ” Patience is a virtue” awe never mind who ever made up that saying most likely sucked on a silver spoon and had their way paid through life. you guys are doing great, just look back a few months and look how far you have come already. Keep Rolling. Love You — Pappy —

  10. “Don’t be in a rush”. The response to that statement in my head was are you freaking kidding me!!!.

    I am in a very similar position to you right now. I am living the dream, I am where so many people want to be. I have wanted this job since I was 12 years old, probably earlier than that. Little kids wave to me as I drive past and it is awesome.

    So anyways, I gave up a job as a Heavy Goods Lorry Trainer and moved on. From effectively being my own boss, deciding my own working hours and organising my own work schedule to almost 5 months stuck in a classroom. I am now 6 weeks into my driving part of my course and 40% of my way through my hours. My boss comes up to me and says “Don’t be in a rush”. I want to be done. I want to complete this training and get out there, do my job on my own. They had someone yesterday who failed their passout for being in a rush and their knowledge was not where it should be. My boss thinks I could go the same way.

    Is it a big deal? Fail passout you may get a second chance you may not. Fail twice and out of a job that is not easy to get in the first place.

    I plan to be driving for at least the next 15 years, maybe even 30 years. What is a few more weeks still in the training phase.

    As ever Good Luck, keep smiling, you are still an inspiration. Thank you.

  11. I’d get as much “outside” training as you can now. Adam will teach you what he knows when the time comes. Be the best driver you can be. That’s the way to make a strong team.

  12. I’d say go with Adam. A couple of weeks with a trainer might teach you a few new things but there will always be more to learn on the road afterward anyways. You may always feel like you’ll need to learn more before you can start team driving which will just keep delaying your goal. Might as well get on with it as planned. Trucking is easy and you’ll be a pro in no time!

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