Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


trucking lifeWoman Truckers

A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker

Oct
19,
2008
235

10/19/09     One Year Exactly from the original post of TruckerDesiree and 130 posts later!!  From that scared and frantic student contacting Allen for help, to one of the most determined and influential women in trucking today…offering advice and empathy to all who need it.

**YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!**

If you would like to read Desiree’s Journal from the beginning, please scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN to the bottom of the page. The journal begins as comments, in chronological fashion.

Click on the Blue Words “see older comments”If you don’t do this, you will miss the first few months of the journal.  Thanks,  Donna

This Journal will soon be available in book form.  We’ll let you know when it’s complete

10/19/08

Allen and I have the honor to communicate with so many people every day. Although we haven’t met the majority of them, I feel a camaraderie between us and them just the same. Trucking can be a lonely lifestyle in itself, but our websites, truthabouttrucking.com and askthetrucker.com, have introduced us to some of the finest human beings around. We receive letters, gifts, prayers, and friendship from many of our loyal subscribers.

Recently I started communicating by e-mail with a woman by the name of Desiree. Her e-mails describing her life as a truck driver were so detailed and graphic, I felt like I was living the experience right along with her.  Her stories were those of courage and integrity and Allen even used one of them in his new version of The Truth About Trucking 4th edition.

I  invited Desiree to post some of her stories here, and I hope all of you find them as intriguing, entertaining and fascinating as I did. These stories represent  similar experiences that so many other woman truck drivers have lived.

Some of her stories can definitely give you some insight on how trucking companies “value” women truckers.

When I asked her to how she would like to share some of her stories here on our blog, she answered with this reply,

“Well I’d like to start, by starting from the very beginning and navigating my way thru the trucking school scam and thru the individuals that I teamed with and was trained by, because there are already tons of funny stories… but great learning experiences. From weight management to hygiene I’ve been collecting and fine tuning this lifestyle to make it work.”

Okay, Thanks Desiree. It’s all yours now!

Donna

© 2008 – 2016, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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235 Responses to A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker. - Post a Comment

  1. Desiree

    Hello, My name is Desiree and let me first say its an honor to be asked to contribute to this site. Entering the trucking industry as a single woman with no background in trucking or prior knowledge of the industry made for many unfortunate missteps. Being a person who has always utilized the internet to learn new things and gather information, I was fortunate to find Allen and Donnas site http://www.truthabouttrucking.com However, I found it AFTER the $4000.00 was paid to a CDL Mill. At that point though I knew it would be up to me alone to question everything on the surface that was being presented to me to make trucking seem like the deperate need for more drivers was partly a scam being perpetuated to get paying students. True, there are plenty of jobs and this is really what I wanted to do so pushing all fluff aside the recruiter tried to feed me, I simply said to myself, “Self, do you really want to be a trucker?” and the answer was “YES!” I was willing to take whatever lies they told me to learn this profession and have a chance at a new life. I looked at it as if I was joining the Army and there was no turning back, NO QUITTING! With the tuition already paid and non-refundable I was going to get every last cent of my moneys worth and learn a new job. Tuition reimbursement is part of the 1st selling point when they get you to hand over the cash. My girlfriend paid in full upfront but many of the students took loans and paid part in cash, many were workforce/unemployment referrals. Clearly there was a difference in motivation level between those who paid for school themselves and those who were being paid for by the system. The promised tuition reimbursement that the company who recruits you pays is UP TO a certain amount and is paid over a longer period of time than anyone tells you. For instance, the company I went with pays $125.00 a month over a period of 2 years! No on tells you that to get all of your tuition reimbursed you may be committed to a crappy company for a very longtime…more to come 🙂

  2. Desiree

    Continuing on Tuition Reimbursement …. be aware if you got the loan to pay for school your payments will start coming due immediately during your training so any hiccups in the schedule and you are behind and getting collection calls when you are trying to learn. Its very distracting. Allens suggestion to use a Vo-tech or community college program is really good advice. I wish I had known before. True, it may take longer but you won’t be thrown out on the road in 2 or 3 weeks with barely enough skill to hold the vehicle between the white lines! .. Let me say that I am writing this from my little Palm PDA so only a certain amount of text will be in a comment so for now they may need to overlap into two for me to complete a thought. Also, I am solo now FINALLY!!! so I am writing this during my breaks, bear with me as I try to get get you up to speed on some of the Do’s and Dont’s I learned on the road so far.

  3. Daniel G

    Reading your words has convinced me that I should try to start a new life by going to school. I have Allens book and am reading it as we speak. Hopefully I retain alot of the info inside when I choose a school. I have a question for you if I may. Do you like it out on the road?

  4. Desiree

    I love it out on the road!!! Everyday is beautiful scenery and colorful people. But you need to be ADAPTABLE! some people simply are not good travelers. I traveled a lot for pleasure and moving cross country and I often told friends who were starting new relationships, if you wanna get to know someones true nature drive accross country with them. A persons true charcter is quickly revealed when you take them out of their comfort zone. When you start out with your trainer or have a team required phase to complete your student phase you will quickly see that patience truly is a virtue. Being organized will help you be able to live on the road and beable to conduct some semblence of your homelife. I plan to go more in depth in the coming days on this but in short, happiness on the road has some factors. Do you have someone waiting for you at home? Small Children? Parents you are close to? Being away from home when someone is ringing you on the phone on a late winter night and they say they are enjoying a backyard barbeque or worse you have a disagreement with a spouse, child gets hurt whatever this stuff eats at you unless you have strong support at home to manage things. Emotional head games while you are far from home are tortuous. I am single, my kids are grown and I don’t maintain a residence. I did end a longterm relationship which was difficult to do when I needed someone to talk to during my rough spots in the student phase. I’ve seen many men have to go home from training because either their wives couldn’t handle it, kids were crying for daddy to come home, babies being born and heartstrings pulled. Yet, I’ve met many couples like me who are empty nesters and loving it. Going to the bathroom, washing up, showers, entertainment, eating, health all these things needs to be managed to effectively have a quality of life and do your job well. The freight must arrive ontime intact and I guarantee you will feel much better if you are rested & refreshed from good planning in advance.

  5. Desiree

    I love it out on the road!!! Everyday is beautiful scenery and colorful people. But you need to be ADAPTABLE! some people simply are not good travelers. I traveled a lot for pleasure and moving cross country and I often told friends who were starting new relationships, if you wanna get to know someones true nature drive across country with them. A persons true charcter is quickly revealed when you take them out of their comfort zone.
    When you start out with your trainer or have a team required phase to complete your student phase you will quickly see that patience truly is a virtue. Being organized will help you be able to live on the road and be able to conduct some semblence of your homelife. I plan to go more in depth in the coming days on this but in short, happiness on the road has some factors. Do you have someone waiting for you at home? Small Children? Parents you are close to? Being away from home when someone is ringing you on the phone on a late winter night and they say they are enjoying a backyard barbeque or worse you have a disagreement with a spouse, child gets hurt whatever this stuff eats at you unless you have strong support at home to manage things. Emotional head games while you are far from home are tortuous. I am single, my kids are grown and I don’t maintain a residence. I did end a longterm relationship which was difficult to do when I needed someone to talk to during my rough spots in the student phase. I’ve seen many men have to go home from training because either their wives couldn’t handle it, kids were crying for daddy to come home, babies being born and heartstrings pulled. Yet, I’ve met many couples like me who are empty nesters and loving it. Being single has made me a target for predators not so much on the road because I keep a low profile but in our own terminals where I falsely believed everyone was a professional. You need to examine what your “must-haves” are then figure out how to adapt it to the road. Eating, bathroom, showers… and do the best job possible also.

  6. Desiree

    My CDL Mill – As I mentioned once I discovered I’d been duped to signing up to a CDL mill I pressed myself to take higher initiative to get what I came for. My first day there were 30 students. Each day there were noticeably less. The first 3 days when crammed for our permits by taking practice tests over and over. The same questions but put in different order. I was the only girl in this class and sat alone and quietly answered the questions and took each set up for corrections to the instructor. Quickly impatience grew from the menfolk who I discovered many had difficulties either reading or language barriers the prevented them from comprehending the test. Let me offer anyone this piece of advice. Just because this job is Truck Driving does not mean that is all you are expected to do. You have to read road signs, maps., LOGS!! You need to be able to function when something unexpected happens like some teenager whips in front of you loses control of their vehicle flips and takes out 2 other cars. Maintain your composure and not freak out. This job is a huge responsibility and gratifying. Do not try to rush either through your test or your destination because rushing makes you forget details which make you make simple stupid avoidable mistakes. Overlooking one simple re-wording of a question and get something wrong that you really do know the answer to. Every tool you use on the ground utilize behind the wheel. The repitition of taking the test repeatedly was a way to help the brain memorize the questions. Changing the order, slipping in a different word occasionally pushes you to zero in on what precise questions you need to work on. Don’t be impatient! 30 students quickly dropped to 15 just in the first few days not because the test is hard but because they didn’t anticipate more than driving a truck would be required. Within the first week the herd thinned and a few guys who saw I was getting each test better scores they started asking for help. Still, by week 2 only 7 remained to go to the driving course.

  7. ronald inabinet

    Great reading! Just the sort of stories I need to hear as I contemplate my “career” change!
    give me more,more,more!!

  8. Desiree

    1st time behind the wheel – After complteting the test, skimming through logs, a day of map reading and routing I was feeling very confident. The guys all werr having trouble with the paperwork aspect that would be required of us as Truckers. I read maps well and have a very good sense of direction. This is a timesaver so if you are considering this line of work start now by understanding the legends on a map, road types, mile markers, how to tell north,south,east and west. The sun rises is the east and sets in the west. its simple to tell what approximate time it is from the sun with a straight stick in the ground using its shadow. sound stupid? If you just woke up an your co driver has you so lost in the boondocks that you don’t know which way you should be traveling, knowing where that shadow is cast will quickly tell you which way is north. Then refer to your maps for the proper roads to get back on track. I will touch more on this later. BUT moving on to our first time behind the wheel… some of the guys never drove a stick, I never heard of double-clutching and none of us knew the answer to this question… How many spark plugs does a diesel engine have? The answer, NONE ! a diesel engine dosent have spark plugs. Now you might think everyone knows that. it was a real confidence booster for me that these guys didn’t know diddly so the playing field was level, which meant I was gonna smoke these dudes. The trucks were old and rickety but we were so happy to get behind the wheel. We saw little of any instructor from that point on. Its was kinda like this “Okay there’s the trucks, go practice.” We basically all took turns and coached each other. My friend who never drove a stick still calls me every few days to catch up with me and says ” Can you believe, I couldn’t drive a stick and now I’m out here solo and loving it!” We just made lemonade from lthe $4000.00 lemons we got from our CDL mill and we just kept adding sugar … that was 12 months ago and its getting sweeter every day.

  9. Desiree

    The Driving Course – Well like I mentioned before we were set free on the driving course to basically teach ourselves. We took turns doing our inspections and quickly implemented a system among us of teamwork. One person named the parts to be inspected from memory as required while the other walk alongside checking them off. Then we switched, kind like a relay team. Now of course there’s always one in every class, the loudmouthed know-it-all, I called him JabberJaw, so I will refer to him as JJ. While the majority was trying to create a system we could all learn what we came here for he was forever trying to throw a monkey wrench into the process. People, a bad attitude is contagious! Consider the source before you jump on the band wagon with someone who is always critiquing something they know nothing about. The best advice I’ve heard about Trucking is from longtime experienced drivers who say “… as soon as you feel you know everything about trucking, you should quit!” meaning you are doing the rest of us a diservice because as many experienced drivers will tell you that they learn something new everyday. Once our inspections were complete we took turn hooking/unhooking to trailers and then doing our backing straight line, alley dock and paralell. Because the nature of the CDL mill is to continually have a new class each week there is some overlapping. Some students from the previous week are testing out when the next class arrives at the course, perhaps even a few from a class before that who failed and had to stay over a week. This gave us the opportunity to ask them questions, such as, “Is this for real?” This was my first chance to meet 2 other women who were preparing to test out. 1 lady had been a rider with her boyfriend for 3 years and was finally getting her CDL. The boyfriend was clearly disappointed with the lack of instruction she was being given so he patiently sat on the course and offered her guidance. We easedropped and like hungry dogs jotted notes and resumed our practice.

  10. admin

    Desiree,

    THhs is so good,. People are writing in telling me how much they’re enjoying this.

    Hey everyone…tell Desiree here by posting a comment. She can’t read my e-mail…:)

    Donna

  11. Desiree

    Be a Sponge – Absorb information BUT consider the source! JJ had an authoritive answer for everything but he was the kind of person who just likes to hear his own voice, a Bully. Our School did have a few silver linings, as a graduate we would be permitted to park our trucks in their secured yard on our hometime. In S. Florida that’s big. Also, it meant sometimes 5 or 10 trucks of former grads were coming in/out and we quickly took to swooping in on them to pump them for information. There are only a handful of companies that will take a student driver just out of school due to insurance reasons. That means you have limited companies that will hire you but those few training companies are eager to recruit you. Everyone is getting paid here, and frankly I don’t care as long as I get what I came for, a new career and the experience I need to take it to the next level. I am of the understanding that the government pays subsidies for each student trained. As a student starting out you should be prepared to be paid very little. I had already downsized in my life so I was able to survive whereas some people with no backup plan who were already behind in mortgage /car payments and believed recruiters selling the best case scenarios. One friend from CDL school, Anthony who is single has no car payment, stays with his Mom for hometime has saved over $7000 in less than a year, while another person I know ended up losing his house in the first few months because as students we simply do not make enough and won’t until we get some experience. so its a two-way street, yes these companies are making money off your cheap labor BUT you are getting experience so be prepared to be frugal in the beginning. Also, this was the first chance I had to ask about trainers. I was told to REQUEST a a female because I am female. Not to long ago this could have meant a delay as long as 18 months to fill such a need but there are starting to be more available. I took my tidbits of info to Google and began reading up on training companies.

  12. admin

    Hi Everyone,

    Desiree posted this under a different post by mistake and asked me to put it here for her.

    You can read it also in:
    http://miketestsite.info/truck-driver-training-automatic-or-manual/

    Desiree:
    Truck Driving seemed perfect for me because I get into my work and I don’t stop. I rarely even got up to use the bathroom from my desk. I was totally sick of all the office politics and gossip though. Ladies and Gentlemen, trucking can be as petty as junior high school. Worse than an office I’ve worked in with a bunch of hormonal chicks! I don’t want to jump ahead to much but my next piece of advice is this be careful who you mouth off to because you might run into them again down the road! In my life sometimes a former nemises reaapears and I am their boss but in the case of JJ, we ended up going to the same training company and although 5 people specifically requested to go to a different orientation than him hoping against hope to never see him again, it was inevitable that eventually we would cross paths.

    Donna

  13. Steve Marshall

    Great observations and comments, Desiree. You seem to have covered most of the bases regarding CDL schools, training, etc. Between considering your experience and reading Allan and Donna’s books on the trucking industry, anyone contemplating trucking as a career will be well prepared for the challenges the industry wil pose. Finally, I’ve also looked at numerous trucking schools; some of the best seem to be in-state vo-tech schools. Here in Virginia, one vo-tech school in he Shenandoah Valley only charges $997 for a three week CDL course for Virginia residents…pretty good deal IMHO! Looking forward to more of your posts!

  14. Desiree

    Thanks Steve, I”m so happy to know that this information is benefiting someone out there. Also, Thanks so much to Donna for helping me with some technical difficulties I”ve been experiencing. … I wanted to conclude CDL school and the post was lost in space so I will recreate it here as best as I can remember.

    What happened in the last week was we were desperate basically because we were left to guess at what we were doing with regards to the backing. By this time were were being taken out on the streets on Miami for actual driving in groups of 3, taking turns each couple miles. The road instructor was actually good but we did not have access to him for our backing. I took my single day off from school and went shopping for a TOY 18 Wheeler to help me visualize what was going on back there. I took it to school and , indeed it not only helped me, us and them communicate but it also helped me study the pre-trip because I was able to see different parts and jar my memory to name them. In the final days were were truly in a panic because we did not feel ready to drive but we had all been recruited to training companies and would be expected to drive in just 1 week! This was last December 2007, winter.
    I had an added challenge because we were led to believe there were only 3 suitable training companies. The one I was going to had a policy that after we completed the time with our trainer, we would need to drive as a team for a period of time.
    I was certain that due to the size of this company they certainly must have some method to team people together and being that I was a female, certainly they would not recruit women and put them into a potentially harmful situation. Money was definately a factor because rumor was that this company paid the best for students and had the best trainers. In hindsight it appears that perhaps I made a few more bucks than say my friend Robert or Anthony but I think it all evens out in the end.
    Freight has been tricky this year because of the economy , basically though as a student you should expect to make very little for the first 6 months. Like 250 a week. The biggest paycheck I got during training was 750.00 and that had a BONUS for running through Christmas.
    My particular company pays bonuses but Anthony’s does not but he makes more CPM (cents per mile) overall, so you see it evens out IF you meet the criteria. Safety Bonus, Retention bonus and the 6 month 80,000 mile team bonus. That means NO accidents/Incidents, no quiting, no strangling your team partners and hoping you run 80,000 miles in 6 months.
    I have received everyone of my bonuses. I know some people who have had to fight tooth and nail to get theirs but I did not have any problems. Maybe because the chain of events that I am about to share here eliminated some of the headaches some drivers had trying to collect.
    I was prepared though for a fight so I kept detailed records of my miles, that is miles you are being paid on the trip. I kept records if I was not rolling because of freight not being available, time wasted on reteaming or being rerouted into our home terminal.
    I was in a few very bad situations with male co-drivers but I had a dilemma, with no way to locate other available female potential drivers I had to suck it up and do the best I could with what was available to choose from OR not get a paycheck, fall behind in the 6 month timeframe and forfeit any right to the bonus.

    I quickly saw that you have to be part lawyer in defending your case. You have to document for yourself because corporations are in business to make money not spend money. If you don’t turn in your motel receipt the company just saved money. It all adds up for them and for you so you must be ULTRA responsible and keep every single solitary receipt.

    I”m getting ahead of myself now but what I”m pointing out is they are not trying to hold your hand to teach you how to jump through their hoops to get your money. YOU take the initiative so when they assume you don”t have it together , you just go BAM , here it is, now where’s my MONEY!

  15. Desiree

    Hope every one had a great Halloween! I am enjoying a much needed 94 hour restart in Arkansas.
    I started my week in Laredo, learned a valuable lesson on finding a parking spot early in Texarkana, watched my beloved PBS in Kentucky under beautiful trees, took a shower and got a massage from a fabulously strong asian lady at the TA in Jeffersonville,Ohio had my favorite Venti Latte at Starbucks on the I-90 turnpike then traveled south through beautiful upstate New York and Pennsylvania on some state highways that made my poor truck and me sweat from fear that we might not quite make it up the hill pulling 43,000lbs but we did it! My routing came after we left civilization and the falls colors and pumkins lining the driveways kept me so preoccupied I did not realized my engine was sucking diesel from going up and down through the valleys so I barely made it to my fuels stop on “E” but I got a roomy spot for the night, so thats always a plus. Things are looking up but it was just last December when I accepted my certificate from CDL school and was off to the company who recruited me. I still work for this company despite all the horrible things I’ve encountered so I don’t want to mention their name because my hope is they will correct the way they grossly mishandle the growing number of Women entering the trucking Industry. What I liked about them in the beginning was they don’t push you to drive in unsafe weather conditions. I just wish they didn’t push you into “OTHER” unsafe situations and hope I can help others.

    I was nervous arriving at Orientation because I really did not feel my CDL school gave me enough experience to drive and in a few short days I would be on the road in Winter driving. Turns out, mostly everyone is nervous because over 50% are in the same situation. Still I’ve always been a safe driver and I did not want to make a mistake that could potentially kill me or anyone else. I wanted to do a good job.

    As soon as we arrived from the bus station, (oh yeah, time to swallow your pride and ride Greyhound) they took us in groups of 5 for a road test. I was thrilled to learn I passed and they are in general jost looking to see if you can hold the truck in the lane. Cool, I could do that but a scary thought that the general public may not be so excited about.

    Orientation was a big production, very organized and I like that. My first job was McDonalds and I worked for Disneyland so I love Organized, if only everyday was like orientation day…sigh..

    One of the first things we were told was meet people here at oreintation because once you are done with your trainer you will need to team for 6 months so pick some one now. WOW! I wasn’t even remotely expecting that one on the first day! Everyone started turning to the person next to them and hooking up like it was no problem.
    My Orientation was 80 people, all men except for 5 females. 1 female was very loud and disruptive like JJ from CDL school, she did not pass her road test on the first try, 3 females were married and were there with their husbands, 1 female was my roomate and she was an experienced driver who was coming to this company to be a solo driver, and me.
    I knew only one person from my CDL school who I really did not care for much because he too was a loud mouth who gossiped constantly. I think I decided to call him “Tony”. We agreed to team but I was hesitant because besides the obvious dislike I had for him he had some health concerns.
    When you are in a team you are putting your life in another persons hands. Same for a Trainer, they are risking their lives with a total stranger in control of this massive vehicle. You MUST sleep to work your shift therefore you must trust the person driving. On a team truck, the truck is always rolling this was never made clear to us in school. Alot of students do not understand that they will be driving 10 -11 hours a shift and then the other person Trainer/Team Partner is driving while they are in the sleeper. If you can’t sleep, you won’t be able to drive your shift. You must feel comfortable with your team partners driving, judgement,and for me health.
    Many of the women I have met out here have maybe a boyfriend, Father that drives but I had never actually been on a truck except in CDL school. But I did grow up with this story.
    My Grandfather was a Trucker, well he would have been my Grandfather if he had lived. In about 1944 when my Mother was 5 her Father was killed when his team partner tried to “beat the train”. Growing up hearing this story made me afraid of crossing railroad tracks alltogether but now becoming a Truck Driver I really felt the brevity of the story. My Grandmother is 1944 was left a single mother with 4 children under the age of 7 because poor judgement by my Grandfathers co-driver while he was sleeping.
    Choosing a team partner I felt should be something the company should provide a little guidance. I do not think it is something to just grab the first person and go with but because everyone was quickly pairing up and I didn’t want to be left with no one I told Tony I would team with him once we completed our training.

    My female roomate that was going solo told me that she had had difficulties when she was teaming with her Brother and Boyfriend because they constantly tried to undermine her judgement. She told me not to worry that if I got into a bind just ask someone for help. It was great advice because I imagined if I asked someone for help they would yell at me and say “You dumb girl!, go home and bake cookies, you don’t belong out here!” but it hasn’t been that way at all. There are only 2 kinds of people to me, helpful people and A-HOLES! unfortunately, I met mostly the latter my first few months on the road.

  16. Desiree

    You all know I MEANT a 34 hour restart not 94 I hope…. duh… Fingers moving a little to fast today.

  17. Desiree

    Teaching is an art. You may be an expert at doing something but the art of sharing your expertise to another person requires patience. You will make mistakes, hopefully not life threatening mistakes and your trainer is there to correct those mistakes so they do not become life threatening. No one likes to be critizied but if you were in the Army and your drill seargent yelled in your face you’d take it because if you were in the Army you do what your told or get a court marshall. Everyone I have met so far that drives a truck has a very strong personality. I have a strong personality. What happens when you put two strong personalities in a closet?
    During your training you are not in your element so do not try to exert your personality over your trainer who is trying to teach you. Do what they say UNLESS they are pressuring you for sex, telling you they will ruin your career if you don’t do what they say with regards to sex or violence. Some women report a hostile atmosphere of nitpicking from their trainers when they refute or ignore advances. Talk to your trainer and LISTEN for clues. Are they talking more about their relationship woes than driving? Do not discuss your personal business. You are there to drive ! Being corrected by your trainer is GOOD, being publcly humiliated or abused is not. Some trainers, many unfortunately, train because they cannot make enough money driving solo in the first few years. They are not concerned with putting safe drivers on the road. They are in it for money and ego. Power is very corrupting, whether it be trainers, dispatchers,management there are some real issues in trucking because power over another individual is in the hands of someone who is abusing it.
    You will be nervous and scared and that may draw unexpected outbursts from you to control the situation. A good trainer will be patient and even though you might not like them personally you will come to respect what and why they are teaching. Once you are on your own, hopefully they become a mentor you can ring up for advice when you have a question.
    I have a few friends who are trainers and they are my mentors because I had a trainer who was in it for the money and had no real intrest in my success. She was a good driver but she did not want me to be. She wanted someone on the truck to do the things her health was preventing her from doing. She told me to do things that were unsafe and illegal. There are not a lot of choices when you are assigned a trainer. I thought my willingness to learn would show through and win her over but in talking to other persons who know this gal, she’s simply not interested. She had a rather serious pill problem that I did report when she did not wake up one day. Another drive team from our company saw my staggering trainer and called our safety dept. But nothing was ever done. They only cared if the freight would be delivered on time. No concern that my trainer consumed 10 lortabs in less than 12 hours and could barely walk. She intended to leave me at a truck stop short the shifts I need
    ed to pass but I called and demanded someone tell her to drive me to the terminal. Trainers often are not logging their students hours properly so they come in to test out and find they do not have enough segments. Two guys I know were out 40 days through Christmas and come time to test out found the trainer had them logged for 17 days! They had to go back with another trainer. This goes on all the time. What is the trainers success rate? Can you talk to any of their former students? I now know a few that get rave reviews but they don’t train females. Companies that are having financial difficulties (all of them with this economy) have become government subsidized mills. They are getting paid for each student they train from the government. Student are a dime a dozen, they are coming in droves but most don’t make it. If the student quits there is another one right behind them and another payment by tax dollars to the company. In addition, students are moving freight for .14¢
    per mile in some cases so the companies really don’t care about longterm. They are trying to keep their own heads above water. Because I persisted I did not quit when my trainer turned out to be a dud. I did elect to go with a 2nd trainer, a man. This is where you have to be flexible people, I was dead set against a male trainer but it was only for a week. He was patient, kind and never looked at me wrong or made me feel uncomfortable. He could use some housecleaning and it would have been hard for me to live in those conditions all month but I am so grateful I was able to finish my training with him. Culturally, we were quite different and I believe he takes a lot of crap because he is East Indian but he is a good man who is undervalued because of his race. I also am writing variations on this topic on http://www.womenintrucking.org on the Advice to New Truckers forum.

  18. Desiree

    I have been asked about specific questions one could ask to prevent trainer issues but unfortunately, trainers are assigned. My profile was marked that I had gotten off my trainers truck. To a glancing eye that can mean anything. The truth was she brought me in early desperate because she couldn’t get anymore phone call refills across state lines which numbered all ready 4 in l month!

    Next issue was to team for 6 months to get my experience and a 80,000 mile bonus. I wanted to put this in a story form to help men and women prepare their own list of “Do’s & Don’ts “. When I was preparing to go to my company I found only two stories that were relevant for my particular situation. I had no background in Trucking, Father or Brothers to get advice or guidance and I wasn’t coming to it as a couple. I had imagined I’d be harrassed some but I have a thick skin and worked around some rough characters. I joked to my friends ” I already talk like a truck driver” meaning my mouth can use some soap when I get fired up. Like I said before, I figured once I showed my work ethic and determination I’d be left alone. That was wrong because as a team student I was fresh meat to persons with the same or little more experience than me and who actively sought females to “get on THEIR truck”.Let’s pause a moment though before I move onto my team phase.

    Even though you cannot interview your trainer as you would a potential team partner I think asking them a few direct questions can help determine what sort of character you will be dealing with. One question leads to another and if you listen carefully you will be able to identify a few things.
    How long have you been driving?
    How long have you been training?
    What do you like about training?
    I have met trainers who have not been driving long or teaching long but they are wonderful teachers and are not burned out so don’t judge someone based solely on time. Its really a matter of, Do they care or are they just in it to make money. If that’s the case you will need to take more initiative to get from this trainer what you need to pass.
    Initially, I reluctantly agreed to team with a Tony from my CDL school because there we no women to choose from in my class of 80 people.

    I tested out first, waited for him for a week all the while trying to wriggle out of the agreement. His explosive temper made me not want be around him but from school I knew he could drive and read a map. Everytime I tried to initiate the conversation that we should find someone more suited to our temperment he begged and pleaded and reminded me that I “gave my word”. I felt obligated even though I’d waited a week and he came in to test out and wanted to take hometime, another week. First rule as you will see, don’t be so accomadating. I unfortunately broke it time and again trying to make the “Team” sucessfull. I was broke and our driver relations department suggested I go out on another truck to get started with a temporary co-driver. Why not? Tony even came with me to interview potentials at the companys daily “Team Meeting” which we quickly dubbed “The Speed Dating Room” all drivers looking for a partner must attend and talk to others to team up based on geographic location and smoking preference. No guidance is given to be sure you aren’t getting onboard with a potential psycho which most are. This company is primarily teams so if you want to eat you get a partner and go.

    Only 7 people to choose from that day, all men, Tony and I picked a guy who said he to needed only a temporary partner. A single dad who just wanted to run hard to take care of his son. He hoped to get in the trainer program. We made it clear I wanted to work, not goof off and I was not trying to meet any men. Next step, go before the single person everyone must sit before to be seated on the truck. A female I will call Ms., she clearly did not like the people in this room. Her treatment of them was consistently poor. Clearly not someone who seems to like working with humans but she perked up when this guy sat before her. He told her I was seating on the truck and he was having resistance getting in the trainer program. She asked him a few questions which he answered that his dispatcher thought he had an “attitude problem”, she typed somethings up in the computer, seated me on the truck, we got a load and he was approved to the trainers program in just a few hours.

    Once I was on the truck he was different. All he talked about was sex. How good he was, how big it was. Tried to show me pictures of his ex’s vagina on an on and on….. I was polite because I needed a paycheck that week so I just went in the sleeper. When I’d come out he would apoligize profusely but eventually he drifted back to the topic and the further west we got the more he was pressing me about a potential relationship. At first it was silly, I have a Daughter his age but he was serious and getting more persistent esspecially because I refused to discuss my dating prefrences. I was communicating through texts with Tony, my boyfriend and another male friend and they were all upset but I felt he wasn’t a threat just annoying. I was preturbed though that he kept going on an on about how his intentions when he became a trainer were for one thing, and I quote “I gotta get me a female on the truck”
    By the time we made it to Arizona he blurted out that I must be a racist because I wasn’t responding to his come ons . At first I laughed but as the day went on I became infuriated because I take racism very seriously and for someone to throw that word out because they aren’t getting laid really pissed me off.

    My guys friends and mostly TONY said “get off the truck now!” but I was in the California desert. When he came out of the sleeper I told him “Listen, you CANNOT say these things to Women, esspecially if your intention is to become a trainer” I told him that he could become a liability to this company by trying to discuss these things and not every women is as patient as I am. I told him he could really get in a lot of trouble behaving this way. He was overcome with regret and apoligized yet again agreeing he was totally wrong. Now, I went to the sleeper and emerging yet again I found he was this mean, angry person. Yelling and snapping at me. Doing things to intimidate me and scare me. I asked after our load was delivered to be taken to our terminal but he flatly refused. This is another indicator. In talking to girls who have had these situations I found there is a pattern where the male co-driver often refuses to go into a terminal even when its just a few miles away. I believe it is an attempt to isolate and further manipulate the female. We finally got into a screaming match and and yelled for me to “… Get the F off HIS truck” red flag! If you don’t own it, its not yours but they think it is and the company often sides with the first screamer or person with more experience. I was shaking so bad driving to the terminal I could not hold the steering wheel steady. I could not shift gears. For my own personal safety and that of others I got off the truck. But I was labeled again. Our safety dept. Got me a room and told me I had to write a statement for HR. BIGGEST MISTAKE! Then I had to call Ms. To tell her why I got off his truck. It was uncomfortable because she clearly liked this person. HR took a brief phone statement and told Ms. To have money available for me to pay for the room another night. That did not happen and I was further humiliated when the motel kicked me out of my room with all my bags because my companys reputation they said. Ms. never was reached on this a no one of the 8 persons I reached by phone could help me until I got ahold of 1 dispatcher. Not my dispatcher just one that does his job and apparently the job of others also. After a day or 2 another truck was sent to bring me into the home terminal to meet Tony who was back from hometime waiting on me now.

    I was temp. Teamed again with a girl who I liked and I would have stayed teamed with but her driving scared the piss out of me. The reason this drama is so long is that these characters appear again and again through the six months and have some sort of hand in the attempted derailment of my new career. This girl, I will call TJ was a good girl but she had many “incidents” that I was not willing to risk being involved in. They were poor judgement calls and she lacked patience because she was trying to hard in my opinion. She sought help yet did follow the advice. She had trouble listening , her own mentor told me to NOT consider permantely teaming with her. So after our 1 week together routing back to Tony we lost touch for a few months.

    Once I arrived I’d hoped we could seat on a truck, forget what had happened and move on. The HR lady said she didn’t need anything more from me but Ms. was adamant that she would not seat me in a truck unless I went to HR to make a formal complaint. HR kept saying they didn’t want anything. I went back and forth and finally took a long statement in which the HR lady totally blew me off. She actually would not even take it from me or meet me. Instead she sent an assistant who read the long statement and said ” What part exactly offended you”? Oh Brother! Get me out of here, I thought, just let me work. HR then cleared me to be seated on a truck by Ms. who greeted me with her usual chilliness. I was now labeled a troublemaker racist who made a HR complaint for sexual harrassment and had 2 trainers. Get a scorecard out to keep count because this was just the beginning!

  19. Allen Smith

    Des,

    I find this totally amazing…that this is allowed to go on.

    EVERYONE must read these posts.

    Donna

  20. Desiree

    Finally, we were going to get our own truck! Tony had spent the time at the terminal shmoozing and had somehow finagled us onto a certain dispatchers board he had met in a “Smith System” class. I met the young man and I was immediatley impressed by his professional manner. He knew how to use the computer applications, communicate and came from a trucking family. I felt is was a stroke of luck because you don’t really get to pick your dispatcher either. My 1st trainers dispatcher was the best but he managed the trainers, 2nd Trainers dispatcher was non communicative and showed disintrest in being effective at his job. Word in the company was he catered only to a certain demographic , which I actually am a part of but I don’t like pandering. I wanted to be treated fairly for a good job. Dispatcher 3 also non communicative and did not answer a single call during my crisis and urgent need for help. Here I was finally getting assigned to a truck with Tony with competent dispatcher 4, I will call him ACE.

    Our first assignment, “Recover” the truck we were getting seated on. That’s code for “go locate this truck that former disgruntled employees have abandoned and probably have vandalized or defecated in because they are mad at the company and repo it without getting into a confrontation”.

    I’m a truck repo girl now? My question was “What if they don’t want us to take the truck?”

    Answer ” Oh, just call law enforcement so it doesent get out of hand” .

    Ok, whatever… So the company rents us a car and we drive to N. Florida and arrive late on a Saturday night to a neighboorhood that dosent look like they take to “outsiders” to kindly. Of course the truck was initially nowhere to be found, it had been moved and the satellitte was giving us innaccurate coordinates. We scoured this neighborhood petrified someone was going to come out with a shotgun thinking we were “casing” the neighboorhood. Then we spotted it hidden in a dark dead end in front of a lone house with 6 cars on the lawn. Tony handed me the keys and said “OK, go get it”
    “ME? Why do I have to repo the truck from tweaker town in the middle of the night? …

    What if it didn’t start? What if smith and wesson was in there ready to jump out and kill me? What if they let their dog crap on the drivers seat
    tand I sit right on it?”
    All of this and more was going through my mind as I crept up to the door and put the key in the lock. The hair was standing up on my neck anticipating shots to ring out any second and hit me in the back. I jumped in, turned the key and it started! We peeled out and got our Truck, no dog crap but it was disgusting inside. I spent the next day scrubbing it top to bottom, TV,CB, we got needed repairs and we were rolling.
    Tony liked to gossip and although I knew he and JJ from CDL school were aquaintences I did not know they daily had a “one up you” session. JJ was in the class ahead of us, everyone from our CDL school who came to this company specifically asked to NOT have to attend the same Oreintation as JJ. Tony enjoyed provoking JJ, I felt he was potentially a threat. No one would team with him and he was esspecially irritated that Tony and I had teamed up. Later I found Tony had been instigating several myths about me which JJ was circulating. JJ was apparently also telling Tony special code words he could use to insure that he would be in control. I did not know this at the time.

    Tony did not try to hit on me but there were other things that occurred that are also a pattern I’ve come to see in men a little older. Its a different sort of intimidation. First, he gave me a laundry bag for “our” laundry. I never even washed my husbands clothes! The paperwork and Qualcomm, I assumed responsibility for without question because I like neat writing but when I heard him on the phone telling everyone he had his own secretary, I was not amused. At truck stops he had to draw attention to himself that “we” were on the same truck and I found later he was telling people I was his wife and how he had to carry most of the burdens of the job, me being an inferior female and all. Of course, he never said this to my face. Truth was, he didn’t want to do any night driving because he couldn’t see well. Yes, wait until the last possible second to tell me you are blind, great! He was very excitable, every snag was high drama for him.” Oy yo mio, what are going to do!” he would fret and worry aloud, pacing and freaking out, meanwhile I would deal with the problem and we would be on our way. Then he would get on his phone to call everyone he could think of to tell them about the predicament…”yeah, bro, guess what just happened to me…”,whether it was repairs, snowstorm what
    have you, Tony did not have quick instincts in a crisis, I do. Although after he was done whining he would eventually help me and would get ourselves out of whatever situation safely, he began to grow resentful that I was leading the charge and not panicking. He seemed to want me to freak out but I am a problem solver. It began to eat at him as each day passed and I was not needing his assistance. This became another recurring theme. Why do people rejoice only when they see flaws and get seething angry when someone is doing good?
    Each day I was learning more about myself and feeling proud of myself learning this new thing so far out from my element. Teaming with everyone of the partners I had brought forth these nit picky personalities when they couldn’t find anything wrong with my job it was “your logbook is on the floor, that’s bad luck” ,” your blanket is hanging over the edge of the bed too far”‘ “one of your hairs is on the floor”,”you wrote your name on the first line but I’ve been drivng 2 months longer than you so my name should be first” , ” you take too long to shower”, ” Truckers can’t have pink wallets”,”your hair looks to frizzy today, you should put oil in it” What the heck does it have to do with driving I thought! Every little thing. I complied with all the pettiness but bad weather and poor judgement is where I draw the line.

    My company has a firm policy that we DO NOT roll on ICE. Good policy, too bad people who come from carribean islands and have only rode scooters or driven in S. Florida have no clue how dangerous it is. Tony and I butted heads on 3 occasions over ICE. Twice he had beligerantly told me how he knew what he was doing and for me to mind my own business because I was inferior girl, him tarzan! Thankfully, before it got ugly a mandatory shutdown came over our Qualcomm. That was then HIS cue to find the closeest liquor store and get a quart of tequilla and drink the entire bottle alone and stay up all night.
    Tony had also begun to imply he had a special friendship with our dispatcher Ace, I was certainly off on the wrong foot and felt I wanted to melt back into anonimity. Lots of drivers were doing lots of things they were not supposed to be doing. I had already a good taste that no one in house cared much for my opinion that was clear by how I had been treated and Tony told me that a girl who had been raped had been routed in just before I’d come in and the company quickly swept the situation under the carpet but the guy was not fired. Even from a trainer I was told “unfortunately, it happens all the time and they don’t do anything about it. They hope the girl quits and everyone goes back to work” I was nervous because I knew that formal complaint was in the computer so I was labeled a “troublemaker” Tony knew it also. If I quit I’d wouldn’t get my experience I needed, my bonus, my tuition reimbursement, and what about my personnel file? There was tension growing. Another guy who knew me from orientation had been calling to see how our team was going. He said his team partner had to quit for medical reasons. His name will be Mag (short for maggot) Ironically, he met her (Bella) when she had to get off HER truck because JJ! Mag said JJ and Bella had a huge blowout and he had come to her rescue really. She had to be hospitalized and was unable to remain his co driver. Mag said JJ was crazed and they had almost got into a fight. He said JJ was bragging about raping his ex-girlfriend on his hometime, how much he hated me, that I smoked crack, he was going to kill me… Mag said he just went into the misoginistic tirade. Mag seemed very helpful to this girl and I knew JJ was crazy. Meanwhile we hit a 3rd night of ice and I shut the truck down. Tony was furious. I didn’t want to argue so I stayed on the upper bunk but he began to drive anyway, a big No-No! It was about 4am when he attempted again the ground temperature was 29 degrees, ice fog ahead going into donner pass, not a single truck on the road and a sheet of ice in the truck stop where we were parked. I calmly told him that if we waited “…until 9am when the sun came up the temperature would rise above freezing and if he insisted on rolling now I will sit up here with my seatbelt on but if we die it will be because of your pride and impatience because this load is already 2 days early, we do not need to rush ” HE WAS LIVID! He got out of the truck and slammed the doors I hadn’t seen him this mad before but he did not attempt to drive until sunup. When he did though you could tell he was still mad as we screamed around the curves of the summit. He was raging, I was scared.We arrived at the very same terminal I had my last problem at in Central California. I got my laundry and went to do my wash and he shouted out “What are we going to do about this? I can’t work with this! ” I said “OK let’s reteam”, I was off the hook! He had been adamant we could not breakup the team but this was my out and I took it. I figured Monday when Ace came in we would just arrange to reteam, simple. WRONG!
    See there is a secret boys club and when they detect they might have to answer “…what happened out there?” they have developed a code to head it off by crying wolf. While I sat doing laundry seems Tony was on the phone saying he felt “unsafe” around me. Qualcomm message, “Desiree get all your things and go to motel ASAP” why? I called and spoke to a female weekend manager who said Tony was afraid for his safety and I had to immediatley pack everything and get off the truck. I asked Tony” did you call and say these things?” “I don’t know anything” was his reply. I told him he needed to call and straighten it out, we can resolve this in the morning with Ace like adults. He walked away not wanting me to hear him on the phone, he was flat out lying to get the truck! I had a lot of stuff, I had paid for everything to make the truck comfortable, he had 2 little bags. I said “What kind of a P@?&Y are you?” THAT, was the unhinging like no other! Tony screamed ” I’ve been to prison, no one calls me that! I will show you what kind of “P” I am! “Yes, I see” I said. That was the extent of the conversation between us but from what I gather he reported ME that I was “Dangerous and he felt “unsafe” PLUS ” I was a “racist and already had been on 2 trucks AND had to have 2 trainers!!!” He was determined to make a scene and carried on like a baby for several days trying to have me removed from the truck but I refused to be treated like a dog. Eventually, because Tony continued to make repeated allegations against me, some to this day I am unawate of causing much confusion. Ace had no choice but to have both of us unseated and ride the greyhound all the way back to the home terminal. Tony was mad but I was glad because they were trying everything to humiliate me but I stood my ground. I did nothing to deserve being tossed out like this. I stored my belongings and took one weeks worth of clothes.. Mag had convinced me to team with him and that he would never treat anyone the way Tony did.

  21. Desiree

    Just a brief thought came to me when today a Woman I had met during my training called me today. She wanted to see how I was and inform me she was experiencing the “starve out” process because our company is trying to implement a policy where all drivers have a Hazmat Endorsement. She has one but her team partner/fiance’ does not so the already scarce frieght is being prioritized to hazmat teams. This lady has 9 years experience. As some of these training companies make money off the students cheap labor .14¢ CPM now requiring hazmat to a yet to be known qualified driver over and experienced driver? I don’t know but it does not make me rest easy knowing how many students are churned into the system each week and knowing the are being shuttled through WITH hazmat endorsements to be given priority over experience? WOW! I just don’t think the general public would much appreciate that knowledge much. Our solo fleet has been “downsized” on paper but that means “starved out” for the driver. Last year trainers got priority miles to hook students but the changing climate has made it apparent that the cheapest labor (lowest paid teams) are moving freight and hazmat. Hmm…

  22. Cruz Mom

    I’ve enjoyed these stories from Desiree. This is completely off topic but I need to know if she’s from a beach town in California located between Malibu and Santa Barbara.

    If so, please give her my email and ask her to contact me. I heard yesterday that she was a lady trucker and was blogging and in trying to track her down, I came across this site. I hope so much it’s her.

  23. Desiree

    Its her Mama Cruz! Brandon has my number. xoxo Desiree

  24. Allen Smith

    So glad you 2 found each other!

    Donna

  25. Desiree

    At this point there was certainly a climate where I felt certain persons were intent to humiliate me. That was certainly the way it was implied when I was informed I would need to ride the Greyhound from Pomona, California to Tennessee.

    Mag had campaigned furiously that I team with him should things not work out with Tony.

    I had seen female drivers and spoke to a few but at least 3 were simply tired of the treament by the company and just quit.

    I felt like that’s exactly what they wanted.

    With another 80 or so students arriving each week all bright-eyed and bushy tailed ready for a new career, dosent it stand to reason that everyone is expendable?
    So I rode the bus accross country to team yet again with Mag who insured me he would NEVER act in an unprofessional manner. He said he just preferred a female teamate because Men were always competing on who drove further and it was aggravating for him.
    He answered all my questions correctly.
    Do you have any accidents?
    Do you swerve over the rumble strip much?
    Do you know to pull over when you are sleepy?
    And this trick question.
    How much space is available for storage?
    This is a character issuse, I use it as a gauge to see if how they answer.

    A girl I recently spoke with who had just had problems with a selfish teammate told me she wouldn’t care because she didn’t have much stuff anyways.
    Regardless its important because someone who has their stuff everywhere and gives you 2 shelves is not welcoming you onboard 50-50.

    Mag on the other hand wanted to give me more than half and I had to tell him no.

    He was over accomadating ANOTHER red flag! But I did not realize it yet.

    Another thing I did not know was that he had 2 females get off his truck under mysterious circumstances.

    There were many people “in-house” who knew including the person who seats and unseats drivers to trucks. The same person who buys your Greyhound ticket or arranges payment to your motel room if you are stranded, that would be the girl I’ve referred to earlier, “MS”!

    Unbeknowns to me at the time as I was keeping a stiff upper lip riding the bus to be teamed with Mag,
    Another girl was having an “incident” unfold at the terminal that had to do with him.

    Here I was emailing and calling “MS” while this other female, “Bella” was there in person trying to get some justice for herself because of things Mag had done to her.

    Mag had led me to believe he was some sort of knight in shining armor for Bella when she had a run in with JJ. That was not true but I did not know it yet.
    Had I known any of it I would NEVER have gotten on that truck.

    At least 3 persons in this company knew I was on the bus to team with Mag when he had prior allegations made against him for violence and drug/alcohol abuse on the job and did nothing to prevent me from getting on his truck!
    I arrived to a wave of gossip because Tony had arrived on the bus the night before and spared not a moment to tell everyone about the running tally I had.

    Even the elderly gentlemen who picked me up on the shuttle from the bus station that evening turned to me and said “your having a lot of troubles out there I hear”. I never even met that guy before but he knew me.
    There were some who said “Dont worry Desiree, everyone can see what they are trying to do” but then there were those who thought they could further capitalize on my vulnerability. Such as, Mag.
    The company sent a clear message to these guys ” Its a free for all” you can do whatever you can get away with because our mission is for you to quit anyways to make room for more students.

    I was scared I would never get my 6 months experience. Notes about me in the computer, gossip amongst the dispatchers who all sat in proximity to each other. I did not know a single person I could ask for assistance.

    Mag kept reassuring me everything would be okay.
    I had begun having recurring nightmares of being attacked.

    My belongings were left in a storage container in California and I just had 2 or 3 clothing items because we were supposed to get a load back to Cali for my stuff.

    I had to trust this guy, Mag, a 26 year old guy who was convincing me I was finally safe and could concentrate on driving.

    One of his reassuring remarks was how he was “friends” with the outbound guy “Smag”.
    Turned out “intimate” friends as well. Seems Mag and Smag were engaged in a little wife sharing for freight.
    Is there any normal people left in the world who just like to talk about the weather?

    I don’t want to know, I don’t care, its not my business and he’s making it up is what I’m thinking. Then I meet the guy in outbound, in our terminal and he openly jokes and talks about it! That night, he comes out to our truck banging on the door at 3am to see if Mag can get me to “come over to meet his wife” .
    This is the company representitive a person in immediate distress would go to first for assistance!
    When we finally got a load out of crazytown, Mag began telling me what great guy he was, great listener yada yada yada… Then how his dispatcher TOLD HIM not to team with me because the talk and computer notes on me.

    Mag said he was going help me get through my 6 months so I could get my bonus and experience.
    He was not pressing me about my personal life YET,but he kept talking about his relationships. I really didn’t care, I didn’t ask him questions he just rambled on and even though I was half listening it didn’t make sense what he was saying.

    Later it made sense when he turned out to be psycho but I wasn’t on an episode of “Blind Date”, right?
    He kept telling me he was a great listener if I needed to talk to him about anything. I didn’t and if I did I wouldn’t tell him, I barely knew him? Who else would you trust to drive a semi while your sleeping?

    The loads we were getting were terrible miles and all ready late for pick up with no way to deliver on time.
    Mag said it was because of me. He said the dispatcher was doing it on purpose so I’d have service failures.

    I called ahead on every load, smoothed things over ahead of time with the shippers/receivers so even if we were being delibrately sabotaged I had implemented my own damage control. I killed them with kindness so even when they wanted to be mad they just resisted because I communicated with them and solved the problem.

    I learned something else though. My company had a terrible reputation for being late and some of the contracted times varied greatly from what the drivers were told so when the drivers arrived late, they were actually TWICE as late without knowing it. Not good for business!

    Much like the hotel/hospitality industry, the sounding board is the person the customer sees ,even though many people are behind the scenes.

    If your room is not ready, toilet breaks, reservation lost, and all those porno movies you never watched you naturally ring up the front desk clerk who actually knows very little about any of those things. But they are the face of the company.

    Truck driving is more than driving, its public relations when customer service made or entered incorrectly the agreement for the freight.

    If you are late, haven’t brushed your teeth or showered for a few days and have a nasty attitude its hard to win confidence back with a client who has had it with “your” company.

    I knew about these things from the hotel industry and that’s also how I knew about this logistics application.
    We made notes and flags on guests. I’ve seen it abused and misused by persons who were “undertrained” in the hotel industry and I was seeing it in the trucking industry.

    Mag was telling me things about me that no one should know. He said Smag had access to my information and he knew that the company wanted me gone. He said because I was listed as a troublemaker I was his only hope, he would stick up for me and tell them I was a good driver. He said I was the best team partner he had because I worked hard and I was determined to learn everything, not give up like some people do. Some people? I’d never really gotten a clear answer, a little late now but…. Why did those people get off the truck?

  26. Allen Smith

    Des,

    You left off at the best part.
    Why did they get off his truck ? What did he do to them?
    The suspense is killing me.

    Donna

  27. Desiree

    I wanted to and a few additional sites and methods I began to utilize in addition as this thing unraveled further.
    They are:

    http://www.thetruckersreport.com

    for the best and worst companies which unfortunately I found my employer was on the latter.
    This prompted me to investigate further into the publicly traded companies, alarming me further by the dramatic decline in value in relation to other companies.

    All SEC filings are public records but you must be able to read SPIN to understand how rosy and sweet smelling garbage can be packaged.

    Next I found

    http://www.safersys.org/CompanySnapshot.aspx

    I’m not sure how accurate and timely or the basis of the information is but you can inquire a companys safety rating.

    Then for my hazmat:

    http://www.hazprints.com is the TSA site so you can submit you application online and have your fingerprints submitted from anywhere while your one the road. Not all states participate so check it first.

    For the test itself, the best FREE site I found on my PDA is

    http://www.enfield-ct.net/hazmat-test/

    This is a federal test so the questions are relevant for all states but each state has different amount of questions they give on their test and different amount of wrongs you are allowed. I have given this link to 6 people and they all passed. A couple of them had studied and failed the test several times before but like I said on my blog REPITITION but then ZERO in on the ones that are giving you trouble and disect every word until you understand it. Move the order of the questions around so you aren’t just memorizing the order, AND read your state hand book for good measure. I found Floridas test had 2 questions that were in the state book. Good Luck!

  28. Desiree

    Some of Mags answers were changing about why his former teams had ended. He also led me to believe that the girl who JUST got off the truck was the same as the 1 I knew about. But turned out there was 2.

    When I asked him why he told me that 1 was married but had lied to him and they were having an affair. He said his moral conscience forced him to bring her in to reteam. With Bella he said she wold get drunk and beg him for sex in public and he was always having to calm her down. He said it embarrassing for him because she carried on in public when familes were around.

    Well none of that applied to me because I was here to work, not to fratinize. Again, I was crystal clear the I was not interested in anything but working. “Oh yes Desiree, I’m going to do anything to keep you happy on the truck.”

    This bothered me because the first few days with the other guy he was very courteous about the music volume, bathroom stops, parking in well lit areas at night BUT then when they start realizing they aren’t getting a response its volume cranked, doors slamming, banging on the shower door to hurry,parking where you can’t find them at night so you are walking all over the truck stop wandering around trying to find your truck! NOT SAFE!

    Overly accomadating is a set up to make you comfortable and dependant so they can pull the rug out. Mag soon displayed other issues though. He got lost, which happens of course but he would have “Fits”. He would get infuriated with himself and go crazy. When I later met Bella she told me he would beat himself in the head! There is something wrong with someone who punches themselves in the face and I hardly think this is the sort of person ANYONE should be teamed with.

    Mag was also pushing himself to hard. One day I drove about 30 miles more than him and he said “Well, that will never happen again!” I didn’t do it on purpose, it just worked out that way but I’d seen it with all the drivers I’d been with, they are always trying to “out-do” one another. If your competent and can drive your maximum legal shift, great! Somedays its nessesary, sometimes its not. A good team you help each other out. If you create a “pissing contest” atmosphere you start breeding comtempt.
    In Mag’s zeal to “show me” he could drive more than the legal amount I watched the stupidity that occurs that causes accidents.

    He refused to let me take over but when I was able to get him to stop so I could use the bathroom he passed out cold on the steering wheel while the truck was running and in gear! I had to physically shake him to wake him up while he was strapped in the drivers seat!

    Another thing with men is they sleep harder than women and I was finding that I was having to wake them up for their work shift like they were my kid. I did not come out here to babysit someone who has not come to the crossroads of life where you take it upon yourself to get an alarm clock and USE IT!
    For the most part though, besides the obvious immaturity the living environment was calmer with Mag.
    Until we hit the desert and the weekend had arrived.
    My company all but shuts down after M-F 6pm, there are people there but there are so many trucks and so many fighting teams, they have become desensetized. Basically, if you don’t have a load Friday you won’t get one until Sunday or Monday. No one after hours wants to hear about problems with the team IF anyone even answers the phone.

    When we arrived in Dallas, Mag was upset for two reasons. He wanted me to go to his cousins house to shower and I flatly refused. He got completely irritated and started screaming “What, you want to take a shower at the Pilot where all these dirty truckers jack off!” Like he just flipped his lid all of the sudden and blurted out crazy comment I knew I was screwed again. He was another “nutbag”!

    I went for a walk and when I returned he apologized and said he was sorry and that sometimes “… He was like a girl who has a period ????”

    WOO-HOO CRAZY! If my PMS ever gets this bad I hope some good samaritan would take me out on the back 40 and take me out of my misery.

    To try to show me how sorry he was Mag called the Dispatcher about me trying to get us better miles. He told him that I was a good driver and worker and to trust him and give us a chance. The dispatcher wrote on the Qualcomm, ” I’m taking your word for it.” and then we got a good load to California 5 minutes later. Coincidence?

  29. Desiree

    Well Goody, I’m finally getting to Mag’s meltdown.

    See we finally got a good load, high security all the way to Central California,cool.

    But once we got into New Mexico Mag announced with no forewarning he had no more hours to drive his shift and we needed to shutdown.

    This happened to me with a female co-driver also. It occurs from manipulative people who do not communicate and want to stall for time. OR they are burning their hours because they don’t know what they are doing.

    On this particular day, Mag claimed he had run out of hours and I said “no problem, I will finish my shift rest for 10 hours and resume driving”.

    That was not what he had in mind though, he wanted to stop at a casino to watch the NCAA Finals. I understood we were not suppossed to go to casinos because my company more than frowns upon it. When I protested he called one of his “friends in-house” who told him it was no problem. What do I know? I was a student team driver with no friends in-house and plenty of people who didn’t like me according to Mag.

    While at the casino Mag started drinking long island ice teas. ALOT of them. After the game I wanted to eat at the buffet and go to bed, I had not rested from my shift.

    While eating another driver I knew called me to talk about how many miles they had that week. Mag got totally mad because he said the person was lying about the amount. “Who Cares”, I said. Mag started bugging out looking around the room saying “Sshh, keep your voice down.” the thing was that I wasn’t talking.

    He kept saying it and then he said he thought I was a whore for talking to other guys!!!!!! I just looked at him and said ” You are weird man, I’m going back to the truck” I got up and left him sitting there and went to the truck.

    Mag yelled out “you don’t walk away from me”. I was kind of laughing because I don’t even know this kid. As I continued to walk he yelled behind me “you think your p”@#*y is to good for me don’t you?, that’s what you think, isn’t it?” I just ignored him because I knew he was drunk. He had consumed about 4 or 5 long island ice teas by this time and he was smashed.

    Few people have their facilties after consuming this much alcohol so I was resisting participating in any sort of an arguement with a drunk volitale person I do not know. I listened quietly as he ranted and raved on.

    By this time, we were in the truck and my hopes for sleep were obviously not going to happen. Mag carried on and on screaming that he had been VIDEOTAPING me while I undressed behind the curtain. He said he had the whole truck wired and took his camcorder and pushed it into my face.

    Then he said he had been taking my PDA while I slept and saw private texts and photos I had been exchanging with my boyfriend.

    I was furious and screamed in his face that he was crazy.

    He kept screaming at me and I screamed back so close to his face and so loud the truck shook.

    Mag started crying and screaming “You made me cry Desiree, you see these tears, you made me cry” but he was still drunk and crazed.

    He grabbed my clothes from the closet, I tried to block him but he was able to grab my few clothes and he threw them out on the ground.

    I got out of the truck to pick them up and when I lifted my head, Mag had a spray bottle and was spraying me and my clothes. At first I thought it was water but it was bleach!

    I saw the qualcomm sitting on the seat and reached up to grab it and send an SOS to my company. I cradled it it my left arm and tried to type for help but he dropped the bleach bottle and grabbed the cord on the qualcomm.

    He was yanking the cord with all his strength from inside the truck trying to yank it out of the box. I held the cord so it wouldn’t rip out. He was desperate though, I could see it so I set the qualcomm down on the seat and walk to the front of the truck.

    I had little battery on my phone. I was shaking, stunned. I called my company first, they said call 911 then my phone died.

    Another trucker was standing nearby and had seen the entire incident and said ” Here, use my phone”… I called 911 and they said “walk into the casino and go to security” I walked to the casino and up to the security desk.

    I spoke to a younger man and explained my co-driver was drunk and threw my clothes on the ground and threw bleach on me. Before I could finish, Mag came rushing in behind me and went to the older security guard.

    The guy I was talking to told me to have a seat and he went to confer I guess with the older guy who was talking to Mag.

    The the trucker who let me use his phone walked up and said ” your co-driver just told them that you are a “LOT LIZARD”!!!! and he had to throw you off his truck!”

    “What?” the older security guard starts walking toward me and says “come on” the trucker witness starts to speak up and tell him that he saw the incident but the security guard tells him to take a hike. Seems Mag reasoned that my witness could do him in so he told the security guard that the trucker was a customer or something so the security guard was very rude to him.

    We walked back to the truck where my clothes and belongings were strewn on the ground and I started to tell him how it was that Mag got out of control but he told me to be quiet. HE REALLY THOUGHT I WAS A GIRL WORKING THE PARKING LOT!!!

    He took Mags word and wouldn’t let me talk. My phone was dead, Mag would not give me my charger or my wallett. ” I kept saying I’m a truck driver, I work for this company”, but he didn’t want to hear it.

    Then I said ” I need my wallet and charger”. Mag didn’t want to give it to me. He was protesting he didn’t have it, but I knew he did.

    The security guard told Mag to let me get my stuff. When I climbed onto the truck and he saw me retriveing my odds and ends from actual cupboards I think he realized he “F” ‘ed up. “Yes, I said, I really am a truck driver, I work for this company.”

    He kind of shook his head and looked at Mag who was falling down drunk and on the phone to our company screaming “Everything everyone says about her is true! She really is a racist and she’s crazy”. Then he put the phone to his side and said ” Your Fired Desiree, My friends at COMPANY NAME said you are fired!”

    Then he started saying “She’s got my keys to the truck” over and over, freaking out. The security guard said told me to give him his keys. I said ” I don’t have them”

    Mag screamed “Yes, she does she’s lying” I pointed to his foot and said “You are standing on your keys” and he was. THATS HOW DRUNK and OUT-OF-CONTROL he was.

    The security guard now realizing the real situation said ” You really are not safe here with him and I can’t take you into the hotel for liability reasons” I told him I understood, after all, I worked in the hotel industry for many years.

    But what about the high- security load we were under?

    Mag had no hours to drive, no drivers license because he lost it, he was so drunk he could barely walk. They were going to kick him off the property which meant he had to drive the truck.

    The casino was outside the city and located on an Indian Reservation so the jurisdiction of law enforcement is quite different. I could have state officials come and impound the truck with the freight and have Mag thrown in jail but I didn’t think my company would need that headline.

    I was confident my company who prides their safety would do the right thing by me and to get the freight delivered ontime.

  30. DougOntrack

    Hey Des,
    Another person from that yesteryear beach town in California located between Malibu and Santa Barbara here…Ok, I’m hooked…Your art of storytelling has me enthralled.
    My brother Jim was a trucker who went thru the CDL Mill here in WV.
    (His career lasted 5 yrs)
    Through communication from Jim at the time…I can relate to a bit of what your describing here… albeit his was from a gay mans point of view…Many similar obstacles to encounter but massive homophobic prejudices involved.
    (Anxiously awaiting the outcome of the “Mag” incident.)

  31. […] If you are anyone interested in a trucking career, looking into truck driver training, are already a truck driver, or just interested in knowing what is still allowed to go on within the trucking industry, then I believe you will benefit form these journaled blog posts. […]

  32. Paula Ballard

    Hey Dez: I think someone should offer you a reality show…you could even do your own stunts. Great job on the blog.

  33. Desiree

    On the 13 mile drive into town was the first time I ever
    shed tears about these ordeals.

    I had a few unexpectedly roll down my face when I
    had to leave the first truck that I’d “recovered” and
    cleaned. I laughed quickly at myself, ” Desiree, you
    have tears for a truck?”

    But here in the desert when the security guard drove
    me and my few things, wearing my bleached clothes,
    the tears came pouring down.

    I apoligized to him for losing my composure and just
    said ” I finally found something I love to do in my life
    and its being taken away, I’m so tired. I’ve worked so
    hard for everything in my life and I have no retirement”.

    I was overwhelmed by the notion that my hard work
    might not pay off. My trucking career was monopolized
    with all this drama.

    I was working as hard or harder than anyone I had
    been on a truck with. I had never said ” I can’t do it”
    even in stressfull backing situations I had not
    permitted myself to get upset and let someone else
    do it.

    I climbed in dirty trailers and swept them, inspected
    them in blizzards, figured out how to use cables to get
    Tony and I out of a snow bank .

    I was proving TO MYSELF time and again that I could
    do it!

    Yet, something entirely unrelated that I felt had
    absolutely NOTHING to do with my job performance
    was going to take it all away.

    Bruised Egos had been regarded more highly than
    my work ethic. Because I DID NOT sit and talk to
    these guys about “girlie” stuff and frankly I talked very
    little at all unless it had to do with the truck. I had in a
    way instigated their meltdowns.

    They had permitted themselves to think their was a
    challenge, I was a curiosity that made them un
    -focused on their job. It had back-fired on them but I
    was being punished fo it.

    I was focused on learning not socializing and quite
    simply it pissed them off and they wanted to get even.

    The security guard helped carry my things into the
    Flying J outside Albuquerque. I plugged in my phone
    and I called my company foolishly expecting them to
    be frantic about MY safety, but the first question they
    asked me was “Why DID YOU break the Qualcomm?”
    its so hard to express in words how the stinging I felt
    from that slap in the face.

    I felt broken and defeated. I was
    exhausted,humiliated,dumbfounded and speechless.

    I had written 2 statements that had been entirely
    ignored. ( One Trainer Evaluation and the HR
    complaint “MS” told me I had to submit to be
    assigned a truck) I had done what I was told, I’d
    followed the protocols. There I stood smelling like
    bleach with a bleach spot in the center of my shirt with
    only $2 in my pocket being accused of breaking the
    Qualcomm with no evidence to support such an
    accusation.

    Of course they wanted me to write ANOTHER
    statement and even when I protested because
    nothing ever happened anyways they insisted.

    Nothing went smoothly, the motel clerk had trouble
    operating the fax, my company lost the initial
    tramsmission so rather than deal with the clerk I
    wrote it in email but they accused me of changing my
    story so back to the clerk, all night this went on.

    Then my wrist started to swell up and turned red, it
    was hurting bad. I had not noticed or perhaps the
    shock of it all, I had not felt the pain until morning.

    I emailed the photos of all my bleach spotted
    clothes and injured wrist to my company and received
    a call that I had 2 hours to take a drug test.

    How do you get 35 miles in a strange town in 2
    hours on a Sunday with $2.00?

    I happen to love the show “The Amazing Race” so
    this sort of dilemma I approach as a challenge that
    requires patience, thought and strategy.

    Precisely the sort of thing trucking
    requires, “Common Sense”.

  34. Desiree

    I needed to remain calm because what my company

    was requesting was infuriating.

    I accepted the absurdity as a performance challenge.

    Stranded with no money , I requested an advance to

    take a cab to the clinic for the drug screen, good

    enough except I couldn’t get the advance off the card

    when the ATM’s are all broken and Comchecks were

    not accepted.

    Running out of cash on the road is part of trucking life

    as a student.

    The cab driver , a former “OTR” driver, was luckily

    familiar with advances/comchecks and drove me to

    another truck stop several miles away to cash the

    check to pay his fee, which totaled every dollar

    advanced me to arrive just inside the 2 hour deadline.

    The medical clinic was located in an area of town the

    was on a hillside. There were no other types of

    businesses around , just doctors offices so being that

    it was Sunday it was a ghost town.

    It cost me all of the money to get there across the

    valley and in my quest to arrive ontime I had not

    considered how to get back to the room.

    Well, actually I did mention to my company that they

    may not be giving me enough money for a roundtrip

    but they said they couldn’t give me anymore until I took

    the test.

    Seeing how it was so far out of the way and how much

    extra I had to pay to get the money off the card it

    seemed like they would agree to calculate for a

    roundtrip?

    Now I was on the otherside of nowhere. I called for

    more advance money but I was put on hold for 30

    minutes. Considering the cab wait, the company wait

    I could be sitting on the curb for hours.

    The medical clinic had opened only for my specimen

    and the technician was already gone, so I started

    walking toward the tallest buildings I could spot on

    the horizon WHILE emailing the safety department

    from my PDA.

    They might not want to deal with you on the phone but I

    know they were sitting and looking at that computer

    screen.

    I also remembered to bring my phone charger and

    sure enough I needed it 2 miles into my trek.

    Emailing and google mapping had drained it. I made it

    to a fast food restaurant and plugged it in before the

    battery died. I raised some eyebrows with my bleach

    stained clothes walking in for some electricity

    siphoning.

    On google maps I spotted an amtrak icon located a

    few blocks from where I was.

    Seemed to me where there were trains there would be

    buses, bums and cops so before the manager came

    around the counter to escort me out, I unplugged my

    phone and walked out the door.

    Was I a genius? Well not entirely, I was wearing flip

    flops on the excursion and the blisters had

    surpassed the raw flesh stinging into full blood flow

    on both feet.

    I’d walk a block, sit on a bench and let the pain

    subside and walk a bit more until I made it to the

    information counter inside Amtrak.

    I was directed to the correct city bus schedule to get

    me as close as possible to my destination, pilfered a

    little more juice for the phone and waddled on my

    bloody stumps to the busstop across the street.

    I’d never been to downtown Albuquerque. Its was quite

    interesting and I might have liked to enjoy the

    attractions “Get my kicks on Route 66” IF I had more

    than $1. But, on this trip I needed it for the bus.

    I settled into a seat up front by the old people and

    handicapped remembering my Mother’s advice when I

    was a girl.

    “Sit up front so the driver can help you find you correct

    stop. ”

    Mine happen to be the “end of the line”, more walking,

    at least another mile.

    Now the wind was gusting and the desert sand was

    blowing in my face. The blood on my feet had dried

    and the dirt mixture was caked between my toes. I

    was filthy from head to toe. I licked my lips and felt a

    bump. The desert sun had blistered it. I was half

    expecting to limp by a skeleton any second vainly

    reaching out with his comdata card or still holding his

    cell phone to his skull waiting for someone at his

    company to answer the FRIGGIN phone on the

    weekend!

    I was in the final stretch, one more dirt lot and past the

    adult boutique I’d be safe in my room.

    “Honk, Honk… Hey honey, you need a ride? You sure

    look good!” See the home stetch was where

    girls “walk a track”.

    A final gust of dust and sand scooted me along and

    into my motel perfectly sychronized to my email

    replies. “How much more money do you need to get

    back to your motel?”

    All that and I still had a dollar to hit the vending

    machines, to bad everything was priced at $1.25.

    Monday was a new day, up to this point I had left it up

    to the formal chain of command to handle things with

    all my faith and trust that “something” was being

    done, investigated,researched, validated.

    It was clear to me to many people were talking and

    discussing issues HR had said were confidential.

    I was fully confident also that because the Mag

    incident occurred at a Casino that it was most

    certainly recorded entirely on Video suveillence inside

    and outside.

    The HR department could simply make one phone

    call to the Head of Security and see with their own

    eyes what happened.

    I refused to go to the hospital for my wrist injury

    because I was already battling every other label that

    was placed on me. “Workers Comp” claim is another

    scarlett letter I did not want.

  35. Cate

    Unbelievable..I am investigating becoming a female trucker and am now not sure I have the personal moxy to withstand this kind of abuse from men AND YOUR EMPLOYER. You are one tough cookie. I can’t wait to hear more about how you wouldn’t be beaten down!!!

  36. Desiree

    Dear Cate:
    I am glad you posted. I hope I am not discouraging you because I am solo now and I am so happy.
    My girlfriends literally saved me from a debilitating depression , housed me , fed me and paid for my CDL Mill.
    Turns out I didn’t need meds I needed a purpose.
    I am floored by how this experience has brought my back from the brink.
    My girlfriends who last year were privately whispering that I may not ever be the same are now cheering me on saying
    “The bitch is back! watch out!”
    Its brought my 28 year old Daughter and I closer and my company is changing for the better. Its a cool job!!!

  37. Desiree

    I wondered if Mag was being sent for a drug test somewhere.
    I wondered if anyone asked to see his drivers license, gave him a breathalizer test or if “his friends” simply let him drive off in the truck drunk.
    Mag had wanted to go to a different Casino to try to buy drugs, at least that’s what he said.
    In his ramblings he often talked his drug use but I had not actually seen it, he most definately had a drinking problem though.
    This brings to mind more questions that should be asked of a prospective team partner. “Do you drink?” “Do you gamble?”
    Normally, I would not jugde someone for what they do in their spare time but I’ve learned this since I came to trucking.
    If they gamble or enjoy cards they are going to want to stop at the Casinos that are virtually everywhere now.
    Where there is casinos there are bars and you NEVER KNOW what personality will emerge when alcohol is involved.
    In addition, Mag tried desperately and vainly to include me in his Long Island Tea drinking frenzy but being older and wiser I’ve had a bit of experience with guys HOPING I’d get drunk and “Friendlier”.
    “Word to the wise”, don’t waste your time, I never get that friendly. If I haven’t warmed up to you in the first 10 minutes it will NEVER happen!
    I had been passive but now I was angry.
    I spent a great deal of time talking to girlfriends, some of whom were not so sure I should even go to CDL school and become a trucker for fear I could get hurt by predatory men.
    Yet, those same friends now were encouraging me to stay and fight for my Professional Driving Career.
    My “confidential” statements were ignored by HR but being blabbed and further embellished throughout the company by “Tony”, “Mag and Smag”, dispatchers I didn’t know.
    I began emailing and making calls early Monday. I wanted to know WHY everyone is trying to capitalize on my former “uninvestigated” complaint the one I was TOLD to submit.
    I also reached out to a person I that I sensed had a deep level of “integrity” and I began to tell him what happened with Mag.
    I will just say that I was stunned when he KNEW about Mag, and “MS” knew the person who would be seating me on the truck.
    “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” “How could this happen?”
    I said.
    ” If I had known any of this I would never have gotten on that truck!”
    I don’t wish to go into depth about what was said but it was enough to see there was a major communication problem occuring in this company.
    That failure in the communication chain was also fueling a sub culture of lower level thugs inside the company.
    Perhaps it was not a grand conspiracy but a little power in the wrong hands that was unsupervised, unchecked?
    Being a student your chain of command is your dispatcher. In my company the dispatchers who deal with students have 100 trucks in each fleet and 2 people on each truck that barely know what they are doing and barely know each other!
    These student team dispatchers range from “outstanding” to “slacker” .
    I had no luck communicating with 2 of these young male dispatchers and the conversations I heard between Mag I knew it was no use.
    I had emailed pictures of my bleached clothes and injured wrist.
    I then called HR to inquire why my personal business was public knowledge.
    I did not want to discuss the Mag incident with the same line of command, that was not working.

    Then an email arrived from “MS” saying she “…needed to know what happened between Mag and I BEFORE she could get me a greyhound ticket.”

    Did she really need to know? She already knew more about Mag than I knew. She knew 2 girls had gotten off the truck with him. She knew they were hostile situations. She knew and never did anything to prevent me from walking into the “lions den”!

    I didn’t take it personally though because her reputation IS notorius. Overtly selective of who she helped and the majority who she dismissed.

    I replied to the email and thanked her for her concern but declined to comment on the incident saying only “HR has already handled the matter, I just need the ticket confirmation”.

    A few moments later a confirmation arrived but the town she bought it from was 150 miles away!

    I forwarded the email to other persons to validate what I suspected.
    The ticket was corrected by another department within an hour.

    Later that day I spoke to a manager who oversaw the department. He seemed confused and during the conversation he said ” why dosent anyone ever tell me what’s going on?” He had kept referring to me as being in that small town 150 miles away where “MS” had bought the ticket from.
    I said “No, I’m in a motel on the outskirts of Albuqerque” he said “Well why am I picking up the truck satellitte in Grants, NM?
    I held my tongue but I wanted to say because ” I have not been on the truck since Saturday and Mag obviously must have driven drunk to the Sky City Casino to score crack, maybe that’s why!”
    In any case, he really was trying to help but clearly he knew very little about what really going on. It seemed like he wasn’t getting any facts about the issues just the computer notes on me and advice from HR and “MS”.
    All my things were still stored in California from when “Tony” had his hissy fit.
    I wore my damaged clothes on the bus ride west.
    When I arrived at our California terminal I spoke to the safety department and asked ” Isn’t there anyone in this company who keeps track of the girls so they are not being abused and tossed off like trash when these guys lose it?”
    No one had solid answers just vague expressions.
    One person handed me a card and said “Maybe you should give him a call” the card was for a Trainer who was on the “Executive Council”, let’s name him “ED”.

  38. Donna

    I was laid off from my job in Feb. of this year and the county I live in paid for me to attend truckdriving school since I was a displaced worker with a good work record. I graduated in Sept. and I have my cdl but I haven’t found a company yet. I have really enjoyed reading your stories, but like Cate ,I don’t know if I can handle all this mistreatment. I would love to have any advice on a good company to work for-that will hire a newbie and how to manage life on the road with so little room and so little time for grooming which is certainly different for women. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us.

  39. Desiree

    Dear Donna:
    Getting your CDL is the first component, to becoming a Professional Driver.
    Most people due to the financing arrangements and family responsibilites go straight to their training company with days of getting the certificate. I think the sooner the better because the skill needs to be practiced and because so many student are coming from the CDL Mills it nessesary to get them going before they forget the little bit they did learn.
    I am generally writing this blog from my Palm Centro PDA in an email which I send to my Daughter who posts it for me. I don’t have a laptop right now and I am able to get on the internet but some sites are to difficult for me to navigate with such a small screen and the capability is limited.
    Here on http://www.askthetrucker.com there is some information about different companies and I have posted a few links in previous posts to sites I myself used to get information about training companies and companies I can go to when I am ready.
    I was eager to bridge communication to a site called http://www.womenintrucking.org on a message forum titled “advice to new truckers” and it has not gone as smoothly as I had hoped but I persist as I do with everything.
    Allen and Donna Smith from this site have encouraged me to keep plugging away and introuduced me into other networks and I would love for these experienced new readers to contribute their opinions on good training companies and bad ones.
    I know there are 5 main ones, and several smaller ones. The biggest training companies are not nessesarily the best. There is a sacrifice of quality for quantity of students , and vice versa. These big companies recruit anything breathing they can potentially get a tax incentive to hire.
    I still work at my training company and something extrodinary is occuring. They are having to examine what their business model HAS BEEN in the past. Before the economy was publically tanked, my company was experiencing a multitude of ISSUES it was quietly trying to correct. I am seeing some good changes as QUALIFIED people are being moved into departments where they might do some good. Overall, the trucking industry is experiencing a slow down. Some “starving out” is occuring to drivers with bad service records and accidents. Some schools may announce a freeze on students here shortly. Some companies who were always hiring are not going to be hiring for awhile. MY company which is primarily a training company now consists mostly of Trainer/Student teams and Student/Student teams who are required to do 6 months, most quit.
    My two friends from CDL school Anthony and Robert went to two different schools and had a shorter period of required teaming after getiing of their trainers truck. Robert is now a trainer at the company and is very happy. Anthony drives solo now after 3 weeks of required teaming for the “refrigerated” training company het went to and he is very happy. We all stayed with our companies from training because you need your experience to go to a good company and if you company jump it reflects on you. Esspecially now it is difficult because the cash cow for these CDL Schools and companies has been the government and the thriving economy.
    I meet just as many people who love their trainers who had bad experiences. Id like to see a “Good Trainer” network because I know there exists excellent trainers of both sexes but how to find them and what company do the train for. We could do our own “starving out” to bad trainers if a word of mouth system existed.
    Keep in mind when you do YOUR research that YOU SHOULD not take any ONE PERSONS word exclusively! There is a lot of complaning but find out WHY? Maybe theres more to the story that meets the eye. Whats the worst complaint? Pay? Safety?Treatment? Whats important to you.
    What about you? Are you a good traveler? Do you lose your temper when you are in an uncomfortable situation? How will you react if you have to sit in a truck during a snowstorm? Have a tire blowout? Have to use the toilet RIGHT NOW! Whatever the situation, KNOW THYSELF.
    If I sit around and THINK what I cant do, I usually can talk myself out of anything but if I HAVE TO to something. I WILL DO IT! I don’t want pump 123 gallons of diesel when its freezing cold outside but I DO IT! I don’t want to harp on everything that comes up I didn’t expect because what the real question is, is What sort of person are you?
    I have had lots of money and luxuries in my life a very comfortable existence. I have also had an overdrawn bank account, no food, 2 kids, no husband, no job and unable to work. I don’t want to use a cardboard box covered with a sheet for a coffee table, BUT I WILL, and depending on the sheet, they look quite nice.
    My own personal journey right now has been to get connected with reality again and appreciate the little things in life. Good friends, fresh water, clean toilets, laudry facilities.
    With wireless communications you can go anywhere and be connected to friends and family instantly. My personal regimine is that I wake up early, write, listen to NPR, walk, eat healthy food. Ive lost 60 lbs sice I started driving. I am able to take better care of myself than I had been for several years. I use some products in the morning to keep myself FRESH and feeling good even if I cannot manage a shower, which I take every other day but I have had to go as long a 5 with some team partners who refused to stop and let me have one.
    I walk at shippers and receivers because many of them have an area that is appropriate. I do not walk at truck stops because it is not good to advertise you are a lone female. I know a few Starbucks now acroos the country I can get pretty close to and I walk the remaining block or so. I rent movies for a $1.08 from the “Redbox” at Walmart, they can be returned to any location. My little Magnoxox TV scans for local channels and DTV so I get a few stations wherever I go plus it has DVD of course, its just connected to the antenna. I eat mostly dry storage foods in single packs foods like tuna lunch kits, Special K bars, applesuce, raw almonds/cranberries, 100 calorie snacks, bottled water with those sugar free flavoring packs I add myself save on space and soda is bad, EVEN diet soda.
    I read good books, when Im stranded at a truck stop I might get a massage if they have one of the little asian ladies there who does massage. Some have chiropractors now, chapels, TV rooms. I do not socialize at truck stops. I get what I need , go to the bathroom and I am very self-entertained with my comfy hippie den Ive decorated on a shoestring bugdet. Sometimes, Im sporting a lovely french set of nails and enjoy a french pedicure at walmart supercenters. The chair is a great massage and way to relax after a longhaul. During the FEMA loads we did for the hurricaines this summer when we evacuated to a walmart and everyone finished parking in a storm pattern and was standing around complaining I headed straight to the nail salon to get in the shiatzu chair and read up on what in the world Britney’s up to now!
    So my advice is, use the information available to make the best decision for you. Decide what you like and want to incorporate into your life on the road BUT don’t try to do while in training. In training, LEARN to drive, its not a time for your personal needs. As you move forward, then start building the sort of life you want to have and fine tune things.
    I will continue on with what happened next in my story soon. I have to get back visiting my girlfriend and go pick up my next load. I got an unexpected break on Thanksgiving to see old friends in North Carolina and now Im headed to Arkansas.

  40. Desiree

    I have a few other items I want to address before I move on with my story.

    One thing I wanted to say in my reply to Donna and any other aspiring trucker is that your greatest allie is “COMMON SENSE”, if you have that and a willingness to listen and learn, you will do great.

    The other thing I want to say is that in writing this blog I wanted very much to evade LABELS that human beings tend to place upon each other to try to catagorize one another.

    If you read what I write you might draw a conclusion about me.

    If you saw me and never spoke to me you might draw an entirely different perception of me.

    If I was dressed up , dressed down, talking,walking,eating,cussing … You might say “Oh, those things happened because she looks like this or talks like that”

    What I have found is many of my experiences have happened in a manner to men, women who are of different colors, may not be considered attractive, do not come from one certain background or education level.

    I didn’t want to paint a picture of me and lose the focus of what the true underlying issues are.

    I am a complex person, I am a Mother, I am a Grandmother, I am a Truck Driver, I am a newsaholic, I am a high school dropout, I am college educated, I have conservative views about some things and tree hugging views about other things. I’m from a multi-racial family but you would never know it to look at me. I am lots of things so I can’t be labeled and stereo-typed under one catagory and neither can you.

    So I write this with the hope that when you read my story you will suspend judgement of what you have concluded already about me or anyone else and focus on the pattern of abuse that emerges and then perhaps we can attempt to correct it with thoughtful consideration.

    How does that sound?

    I got quite a tirade from someone who grossly misinterpeted my mission here so even though I wanted to touch on this subject earlier, I was compelled to pull over and write.

    That post on another site has mysteriously vanished from the forum but it came directly to my email as do other vanishing posts.

    That is sad because I wish everyone could have seen how damaging assumptions are to solving a problem that affects many people, not just one type of person.

  41. […] encourage you to read her posts. So, get a cup of coffee and get comfy, ’cause there’s a lot of […]

  42. Angie

    I have spent years in school and working in the private sector to be downsized because of this economy. Now, I have been forced to take a series of underpaid jobs where my education is devalued and I am not satisfied with my life. My oldest brother was a trucker for a number of years, but quit due to health reasons. He has since passed away and I do not have him here to get advice from. Fifteen years ago, before I started school he wanted to teach me to drive so we could drive as a team, I wish I had taken him up on that offer, but college seemed the best choice for me at the time and has served me well.

    Now, I am contemplating a whole new career and I am seriously considering becoming a trucker. I have been completely enthralled with each of your blogs and will be doing my research before making any decisions. I am so glad that I found this site, as I was wondering what life would be like for a woman in this field. You have definitely enlightened me and I will take everything you’ve experienced into consideration as well. Luckily, I have family, or friends in just about every state so, I do feel that if I make this choice and things happen, I will never be stranded anywhere long. Thank you Dez, for sharing your experiences and Donna and Allen for hosting such a great site. Enjoy you break Dez, I can’t wait to read more.

  43. Desiree

    Continuing on with the story….

    So far I had not taken any hometime.

    The reason was two-fold, my residence was in Florida and there is no freight coming out of Florida.

    When you take time off you may not get there on the dates you scheduled, and when you want to return you have to wait for a load to get out of there. Going to Florida is a death sentence for the pocketbook; unless you are driving for a “reefer” company.

    ( For my California friends a “reefer” is a Refrigerated trailer , so no wise ass cracks from Beavis N Butthead!)

    The main reason though was when you have troubles like I did they (company) try to get you pissed off enough to quit and go away. No one wants to bear the responsibility to help you find a suitable team partner.

    If I went home the company would not be obligated to me. I needed remain under their responsibility.

    I came to Oreintation in Dec 2007 and the Mag incident happened in March 2008.

    I still had until August 2008 to complete my required team phase.

    Believe me, they tried to convince me to go home. I called and emailed someone everyday to tell them I needed a FEMALE team partner and ” I was willing and able to work”.

    I felt they bore the responsibility because it is THEIR policy of required teaming that was the problem.

    I have no service failures, no accidents, I drive my shift, Therefore, the thing that was holding me back was a lack of a suitable team partners.

    It occurred to me that every time I went into a terminal I met several people who were having to “re-team”.

    The 6 month period was a relatively new format, we were the guinea pigs.

    To me, it did not seem very cost effective to have so many trucks in limbo all the time being routed in for fighting teams.

    I felt that teaming was a useful tool if implemented correctly. Perhaps, planning ahead for the inevitable blowouts that occur the company should say team for 1 month with 6 different people.

    I learned something from every team partner about what to do and what NOT to do. It made me bombproof.

    The question really is “Does the company WANT you to be successful?” I was testing that by placing the problem on them.

    Its a unique situation because you aren’t just working with a total stranger. You are trusting this stranger with your life. You are living with them in a very small box.

    Smelling them, hearing their conversations with their family, seeing them cry when they get lonely for their kids, listening to their music, sometimes having to give them a few bucks to eat because they sent all their money home for bills.

    I’m not against teaming. I am against teaming with no responsibility by the company to keep people safe.

    I was required to be educated and sign a document for the “Highway Watch” system to keep an eye out for terrorists with an emergency number to call.

    How about one when I’m standing in the desert with bleach on me because my company dosent seem to see the urgency and if the government is their meal ticket, perhaps they should include a stipulation that if they recruit the student and the student is a competent worker they have a right to get the experience they need in a safe environment!

    My inquiring mind wondered why someone was not taking note of all female students to network them.

    It was obvious all the from the start that all the different cultures had networks and cliques, why not the women?

    “MS” was technically the person who could facillitate such simple database seeing as she seats everyone on the trucks and is who everyone has to go to when they reteam. Yet, she had proved time and again that she was not interested in her job unless it suited her personally.

    If you’ve ever been to a University you might be familiar with the “Ride Board”. During the holidays and school breaks people place a card to share fuel for a ride home.

    This would have been a great way for me to find other females who may have gotten off a truck a day, a week before me and were also looking.

    I kept meeting women who were walking out the door totally disgusted with the treatment they were getting.

    Even though they didn’t come back, I kept in touch with some of them.
    It gave me strength to hear their stories and see that that COMPETENT women were quitting while the liars and babys were being promoted to trainers!!!!

    I decided to call the number on the business card I was given and contact “ED” , the Executive Council member and see if he could help me.

    Ed likes to be called “Dad” by the way. He listened to about 3 lines of my plight and interuppted me to tell me he was going to help me. He told me lots of girls had been put in successful teams by him and he had the direct line to the VP’s who took his word as gold.

    He told me not to worry because from now on I was “one of his girls” and if I had any more issues to say, ” I’m one of Ed’s girls” and I’d see a difference in how I would be treated.

    WOW! I thought! I finally have a connection to help me finish my six months of teaming. I was so very grateful. At the end of our conversation Ed said he required only one thing for his help. That I bake him toll house cookies, not to hard and not to soft. He preferred them baked a certain way. I agreed, he was saving my life. Why not cookies to show my gratitude.

    A few minutes later I got a call from a lady from Oregon who was looking for a team partner. She had been having trouble with male co-drivers. She was divorced, kids were grown and gone,just like me. Perfect!

    Coincidently, she knew Ed and said he helped her quite a bit. I was thrilled, my life was turning around. Her name will be Lily, as in “Lily the lying, lazy, lunatic”

    The strange thing was that Ed never mentioned her to me until I brought her up. Then he was very inquisitve about me on a personal level. He wanted to know my measurements, how tall I was, how much I weighed.

    I thought he might be trying to figure out if I was healthy because I’ve seen plenty of truckers who are not and have difficulty doing their job because of it, such as my trainer. But my measurements was weird, right?

    Still, I kept it to myself because I was finally going to team with a female, YIPPEE!!! Lily was on the dispatcher “ACE’s” board so now I was going to be assigned to him.

    Getting me to Lily was not the easiest task though because she was in Tennessee and I was in California with all my stuff that had been stored when Ace had Tony and I put on the Greyhound just 2 weeks prior.

    I was not leaving my stuff behind this time. I wanted to catch a ride on another truck and I was so fortunate I ran into my 2nd trainer, the east indian man at the terminal.

    He said he was on a load leaving that day to go to Tennessee!

    When I asked if I could go with him I was told “NO”, I had to wait for another student who needed to route back to Tennessee also to re-team, a guy!

    I said “Please, I really do not feel comfortable getting on another truck with a man I do not know”.
    Ace asked me as a favor to help him out.

    See the thing is once you make a complaint to HR your not supposed to talk about it. Ace knew rumors and derogatory remarks that had been placed in my computer screen. He didn’t know what I had actually been through. If he had, I don’t think he would have asked me to get on another truck with another unknown man. But that’s the screwed up system.

    I was privately experiencing nightmares since the first incident. Tony knew it and made fun of me. Then he told people I was crazy to cover his ass when he became paranoid I would tell about his drinking/drugs/safety issues.

    Mag had been taking my PDA and reading my private texts with my boyfriend and looking a pictures we were sharing that were between US, if you catch my drift.

    I also had two pictures that were 10 years old my boyfriend had attached of me from a magazine. Not nude pictures but racy, but NOT for the general public either!

    Mag may as well have been snooping in my underwear drawer. He violated my private things while I slept.

    I was definately edgy and paranoid. Having Ace ask me as a favor to wait on a guy was tough for me but I said “Yes, as a favor to you, I will” I still wanted to prove I was a good sport, a team player.

    I said but Ace, ” is he….?” Ace replied ,”Sane?, yes he is sane” I said “OK, I will do it.”

    Ron arrived the next day. When he saw me he said to Ace ” Why can’t I keep her?” he meant it in a nice way.

    The truck was absolutely filthy! It took me 45 minutes to find the floor. There were bags and boxes of food everywhere.

    Ron was a bit agitated because his team partner had stolen some of his things before getting off the truck and quitting. His checking account also had money missing.

    Before we would be routed to Tennessee, Ace was letting Ron handle some personal matters in Central California. I was patient, I understood, I even helped out by doing his taxes for him online at Kinkos.

    I saw how helpful Ace was to Ron. Ron had lots of problems and would sit and write these long complaints on the Qualcomm, then “Voila'” , he got what he wanted.

    I never bitched and complained. I did what was asked, kept my mouth shut and did my job.

    The statements I’d written were ignored and so far as I knew never investigated.

    Here Ron would bitch about every little thing and they were responding?

    Hmmm …. I took note.
    Ron was cool but I knew after a few days it might get tense.

    See, guys mistake… Actually more than just guys, PEOPLE mistake kindness for weakness.

    In my case, I was underestimated. It was assumed that I was all “girlie” but looks are deceiving.

    I treat people with curtosy and respect and foolish people think that they can take advantage of me by cornering me. But see, I only LOOK harmless, I bite when cornered.

    I wish it were not so but the truth is those guys thought they had me all figured out and how to take advantage of me. When I stood up for myself they were shocked, they had no idea who they tangled with. I didn’t want Ron to get confused by my general friendly demeanor and think it was an invitation for something it was not.

    I wanted to hurry to Lily before Ron started getting stars in his eyes.

    Some girls don’t even see it, I didn’t at first. Until I started talking to lots of women about the patterns. Then I saw what was going on.

    The women may not even be the guys type in normal circumstances but the proximity of the conditions brings forth an intimate reliance on each other.

    Men simply have a difficult time accepting that a woman can thoughtfully help you with your logbooks and not want hug and kiss afterwards.

    Some men are so convinced all women want romance that these small gestures of humanity are misconstrued as intimate moments of a budding relationship.

    Then when the guy is rejected he is embarrassed so they retaliate. “Shes Crazy” , not crazy enough to screw them of course.

    Ron and I completed his personal tasks but we were having trouble getting a load east.

    We were getting along fine but he started wanting to buy me things when we stopped for breaks. It made me uncomfortable but he didn’t understand.

    I just didn’t want to be in this situation any longer.
    I’d already been crystal clear to 3 guys that I was out here to work not play and all 3 ignored me and continually tried to play games thinking they were making some headway to winning me over.

    I was acutely aware of it by now. I was frustrating them. They were not listening. They thought it was a challenge. I saw it as a ticking time bomb.

    The loads we were getting kept us out west. Ron was bring me sodas, fruits, donuts, … I felt bad, he meant well.

    For a week we were back and forth from Texas to California. We were sitting in Flagstaff with no load. Lily was waiting for me. I called Ed and soon after a call from Ace.

    Ace said get all your stuff, another truck is coming over I-40 in an hour headed to Tennessee. I was going to catch a ride on it.

    Just in the nick of time, Ron had just brought me 4 vitamin waters and a coffee cake!

  44. Desiree

    Dear Angie:
    I just set up a twitter account to help people get a glimpse of what I do on a day to day basis.
    Donna and Allen introduced me to this “social media” network and I am completely and totally in love with it!
    I went to college late in life because I was a teenage single mom. I have 2 kids, also now on twitter. (AmbersNRG,Lost Koncept is my son)
    At 35, I was able to begin community college then went to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. I Majored in International Business with a minor in accounting.
    Pretty good considering I dropped out of school and at 15 had a Daughter with only a 6th grade math level.
    I didn’t finish my last year for my degree because I just couldn’t do the corporate thing.
    My blue collar origins made me confident I could handle the rigors of the trucking industry.
    I truly felt I’d been involved in enough bar fights that I could handle myself with the men.
    I’ve learned though that my college education has served me best out here.
    My accounting skills, communication skills, being technologically savy, understanding cultural differences, knowing how corporations operate, being familiar with computer logistics programs, stock markets, marketing, service.
    I apply principles from the Hospitality Industry and I find many similarities in moving freight.

    Good planning and good service.

    This week I was able to see 5 old friends in different places.

    Some companies complain that new truckers think this is a travel agency, I’d rather let responsible drivers have a little leeway so they aren’t bored and out getting in trouble at truck stops.

    Its taken me a year to be able to start making a life out here.

    I love it because I like to go places, I don’t care where. The idle policys are getting tough and its cold now.

    There is starting to be many former professionals coming to trucking.

    I think its a very importent time for truckers to let the outside world have a glimpse inside this private misunderstood world.

    It give you a greater respect for truckers because what they do affects all of us.

    They bring your food,water,clothing driving all night, in all weather and people don’t understand how much effort is put into getting those shelves stocked at their favorite place to shop.

    This is a thinking persons job. Its challenging and requires many skills.

    Let’s all go for ride now.
    Follow me on Twitter….
    I’m TruckerDesiree

    http://www.twitter.com/TruckerDesiree

  45. Zack

    Thanks Desiree for sharing your experiences. I appreciated very much your tenacity and resolve in sticking to your decision to make it in the trucking business. You have given me and I hope all that read your experiences, the resolve to make it as well. You have reminded all of us to NEVER,NEVER GIVE UP! Thanks again and best wishes.
    Zack

  46. Desiree

    I appreciate you Zack, because I’ve been so misunderstood as to why I’ve kept forging ahead.
    I’ve been called a racist, all “girlie”, a militant feminist, a snobby bitch, a know-it-all…. troublemaker… WHATEVA Y’all…
    I’m just a girl who grew up in a land that I believed was all for one and one for all.
    I think every one should take the extra mile to be helpful to others and stop pointing fingers.
    If you want to do something do it.
    If someone says you can’t , don’t listen to that person.
    Find someone who will listen, someone who points you in the direction to take the next step to your goal.
    There are lots of good people in the world its just hard to find them sometimes when all the assholes are in charge.
    PS. My boyfriend says I’m not a feminist, I just talk to much, sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. so take that!

  47. Donna

    Desiree, Since I last had time to sit at the computer, I accepted a job with Prime Inc. I hadn’t had the time to investigate as much as I would have liked, with the holiday and all, but I felt I was running out of time. I am supposed to leave Dec. 15th for Springfield Mo. I am in s.c. so I won’t get there untill Tuesday the 16th and I start orientation on Wed. I will,after orientation, be considered a “B” seat driver with my trainer untill I get 60,000 miles. I asked if I could request a female trainer and was told that I could not . I am really nervous-who starts a totally new career at 46 yearsold- but reading all that you take the time to write has helped. I know that I want to do this and I am not afraid of hard work and I do listen very well, hopefully I will get a good trainer that wants to teach me what I need to know to be the best I can be, and if not, I hope I can be as tough as you . I will take all your advice with me and when things get tough I will tell myself that I have to get over, under, or through it and never give up. Thanks and keep in touch.
    Donna

  48. Desiree

    Dear Donna:
    Please keep in touch with us and let us know how its going.
    Are you able to access the internet on your phone?
    I use the Palm Centro PDA from Sprint.
    I have color touch screen, email, internet, google maps,sudhoku,TV with CNN and the weather channel I can go on and on about this gadget.
    I have unlimited everything text,calls,internet for $99.00/mo (and if anyone runs down to sign up I will take the referral fee 🙂 tee hee)
    I am connected to Twitter throughout the day live and so are other truckers .
    Its been great.
    Just go in with the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best.
    I’ve met some women who are wonderful friends with their male trainers.
    My own adopted mentor is a male trainer who I met last Febuary.
    I call him from time to time for quick questions about my logs, he tutors me when I see him in person with my backing which I still have not mastered the “S” thing.
    We are all rooting for you Donna!!

  49. Desiree

    and PS … Lots of people start new careers at 46 and beyond.
    When I went to UNLV I had people in my classes who were white collar executives who were brodening their business skills for the global economy or had been down sized and starting over in their 50’s MEN!
    Homemakers who wanted to finsh college and people from so many countries.
    Forget what society tries to make you think you must do to be the norm.
    The world is abnormal. I’ve met some very cool women and men out here starting new lives in their mid 40’s and 50’s.

  50. Desiree

    Seeing how some of you are actually about ready to start your training.
    Be prepared! Don’t overpack during your training but make sure you have what you need..
    Esspecially if you have a male trainer.
    Who wants to ask a strange man to pull it over for tampons?
    He will probably appreciate being on the “dont ask don’t tell” system also.
    Take emergency pads because unforseen accidents happen.
    Women have “special needs” because sitting for long periods brings its own “challenges” for the plumbing.
    I don’t have a bunch of time this morning to write but you can direct message me on Twitter.
    http://www.twitter.com/TruckerDesiree
    Also, one thing about Trainers and Truckers in general.
    They are very forthcoming with what they think is the best way to do a thing.
    Even if you know there is a different way to do the same thing, just do it their way and don’t question it UNLESS ITS UNSAFE.
    Otherwise, you start undermining there authority and you need them on your side.
    Don’t piss off your trainer because you feel your an adult and “you know better”
    Truckers may not always tell you something in the most “Diplomatic” tone of voice.
    Just listen to the mesage. Are they knowledgeable? Then use what they are offering.
    Of course if they and screaming and yelling and berating you, that’s not a good way to learn.
    My trainer friend just got a student who had to get off a truck from a trainer who was calling him racist names and grabbed the wheel while he was driving!!!
    Use the other sites I’ve mentined to make a packing list and you are most welcome to direct message me for extra tips or moral support.
    Sometimes its just reassuring to talk to someone who can relate.
    They don’t have to fix it or bark orders. Just listen.
    Be safe…… Desiree

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