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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

    My next temporary co-driver was a rather large woman.

    She was just a few weeks into her 6 months teaming phase.

    Her name was Lena.

    Lena had been a school bus driver before becoming and “Over the Road” driver.

    Her first co-driver had simply quit while they were under a load. He just got his stuff and went home one night.

    Her second co-driver was a woman who created drama during the entire 2 weeks they rode together.

    Lena couldn’t understand why the lady was so overdramatic but later she found the she wanted to team with a guy she had met.

    That’s another thing, lots of people do “shack up” on a whim. Its just they do it so underhanded. Just say “Hey, I met someone I like and I want to give it a try.” Instead, these people throw fits and make public scenes, they write messages on the Qualcomm behind your back and delete them so you never know they have been making allegations about you.

    Lena was a sweet woman, she drove me back to our home terminal and I finally met Lily.

    I felt so relieved to have put all those bad co-drivers behind me. I could now relax and concentrate on my backing and shifting.

    I had been operating in survival mode.

    Since the day I tested out I had been left in Cailfornia twice, had to take the Greyhound back to Tennessee, left in Albuquerque just a few days later, Greyhound to California where my clothes were from the previous time I was off the truck.

    It had taken my company 16 days to get me from Albuquerque to my clothes in California and to Lily my new team partner they set me up with.

    Once I finally got on the truck I started my battle for layover pay. I felt I more than deserved it. At the very least $50.00 a day for the misery I’d been through. Still, they refused. Ace said “no way”, call “MS” and “ask her” he said. “AS IF!…”

    I asked someone else and someone else, everyone said ” Its not that you don’t deserve it, its just that they won’t give it to you.”

    “WHY?” how could they justify having me being left in the desert the way I was? How on earth can you convince someone who had worn the same bleached clothes for several days and 16 days later was finally transported by THEIR transportation company to return to work!!

    I had every friggin day,date,time,truck number,receipt,fax copy, statement, email reply correspondence,extension of every single “YES” man and woman I’d communicated with over those 16 days.
    and with no further adeiu…. I got my layover pay…!

    I thought for sure at some point someone would be trying to investigate what happened.

    Corroborate my story, something? After I had gone for the drug test I’d made a police report, faxed it.
    I mean I covered every base to make it easy for my company to “catch the predator.”
    They did nothing.

    In fact, Mag was reteamed with yet another girl by the time I made it to meet Lily.

    I didn’t know but I was to busy trying to move on.

    I talked to Lily several times on the phone but when we met she seemed distant.

    She had been waiting for me about 10 days at the terminal. But had been without a team partner for a longer period of time. Existing on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

    She had 2 prior men as co-drivers. She said one had Arthritis in his shoulders and couldn’t drive team anymore cause he could not sleep when the truck was rolling.
    She said he treated her bad and whenever she did the paperwork he would throw it away and redo it.

    I thought, “what a jerk.” Lily also had not been taught how to use the Qualcomm.

    She was in her 50’s, she said her husband left her on their 25th wedding anniversary. He gave no reason.

    Of course, I felt like I wanted to watch out for her. I thought maybe this was the reason everything happened the way it did.
    I was supposed to meet Lily.
    She needed a friend.

    Lily had some quirks, she would rock back and forth and talk to herself and then burst into laughter.
    Kooky, but she drove straight.

    I supported us the first couple weeks because she was so broke.

    We liked most of the same foods.
    It was cool.
    I had decided to finally request a few days off in San Diego with my Son.

    Lily said she needed to see a dermatologist so she would tag along and do a few things.

    She had let on that there was a flirtation between her and “ED”, I thought it was cute. She seemed tickled as a school girl for his attention.

    We were getting good loads. Ed was calling his friends and keeping us running. He would call me on my phone and say “Where do you want to go? east or west?” then beep..Load Assignment. It was great, esspecially after the crappy loads I was getting with Mag.

    Ed called us several times a day. He and Lily texted all day long.

    Lily was a steady driver. Her backing was good. We helped each other, Life was good…. Or was it??

    Lily wasn’t a take charge sort of person. I’m flexible, I’m sort of a “Lead,Follow or get the Hell out of the way” sort of girl.

    I will lead but I’d rather follow unless I’m following an idiot.

    I immediatly saw that Lily needed help with directions and reading maps.

    I didn’t mind but there was something more. When I said “we turn right at the next street” , Lily often would say something like “OK, you mean go straight?”

    That’s a problem… But, its cool… We just needed to backtrack.

    Lily had trouble reading a map, the Qualcomm, street signs.

    Before I went to the sleeper after my 11 hour shift, I would write out step-by-step directions for her in letters she could read.

    I had done the same for Tony and Mag.

    Lily was a smoker also. I don’t smoke but I’m not too bothered by it if the person is clean about it.

    Tony smoked also and I accomadated him as I did Lily by asking that they NEVER throw a lit cigarette out the window, smoke in bed or any other fire hazardous behavior.

    Lily rolled her own ciggies, her hands weren’t quite as steady as one would like. Our truck had a constant layer of tobacco on the beds,floor and brown nicotine stains on the doors and windows.

    Lily wasn’t concerned with keeping the truck tidy. She didn’t care much for showers. Sometimes she simply refused to stop for one. We regularly went 4-5 days without showers!

    I just was so happy to not be on a truck with a man I did what I had to do to keep her happy.

    Lily didn’t know how to use the load locks, she had trouble with the landing gear, the trailer doors… But she drove straight and kept it upright between the white lines.

    I had to do a little more work, get a little less sleep to help her through her shift. I had to buy her food most of the time. It was a little like having your independant minded grandma on the truck.

    She was feisty enough to attempt the tasks but in the end I did it and I really didn’t mind UNTIL I saw she was playing me like a piano.

    It took me awhile and still then I didn’t care because I needed her also. I still had 3 months of team driving to complete before I could go solo.

    Our freight kept us busy, seemed like as soon as Ace went home at 6pm, Ed was ringing us on the phone have our loads changed around. We were getting better loads, more miles.

    I was glad and so was Lily but it was wearing her out. Ed kept making her think he was going to “rendevous” at one of our delivery or pickups but something always changed on his end.

    She seemed exhausted and disoriented besides being hurt that she kept getting her hopes up to see
    Ed and it was taking an emotional toll on her.

    One night we got several pre-loads that were meant to get us enroute to California for my 1st hometime.

    Lily was agitated because she couldn’t understand the overlapping pick up times were confusing her.

    She was exhausted but Ed had arranged the load plans so she was determined to make sense of them.

    She did not want my help but she wanted to explain something to me.

    Lily told me that “Ed” said we should only be “on duty” 10 hours from the moment we start our shift, regardless if you were driving, waiting to be loaded…whatever.

    And, Ed said that Lily would drive from 1pm to 11pm and I would drive from 11pm to 9am. Lily even drew a picture of a clock as a visual aid to help me understand better.

    It was true I was puzzled. Clearly her intent was for me to drive all the night shifts. Like Tony, she was attempting to feign innocently that it slipped her mind to bring it up earlier. But that wasn’t whay was confusing me.

    I sat stupified as Lily patiently tried to explain how her paper clock worked. Finally, I gave her a hint.
    “But Lily,” I said ” there are 24 hours in the day and you’ve only accounted for 20″

    Lily huffed at me ” you are just not paying attention”.

    I was paying attention all right. Lily wanted me to drive all the nights and Ed had helped her cook up a way to make me think they were working in my best intrest.

    Lily was “dropping the ball” trying to explain how nice I was being considered. I just went to bed and got up to drive the next day.

    About 5 hours into my shift, Lily was impatient with me. She felt I was not smart enough to understand her well thought out schedule. She wanted me to stop driving, so I did.

    If I would have finished my shift she would have had to do the night driving. I let her have her way without discussion.

    I should have been resting but she kept calling me out for help. She didn’t know how to get money for the tollways, she got lost in every city. I calmly came out from the sleeper to get us back on course and tried to get back to sleep.

    Lily needed me for other things as well. To help her make Dr. Appts., look things up on the internet. She became quite demanding. I felt like I was her servant.

    She complained about an infection in her teeth, renal failure,skin cancer. I had her Dr. Appts all lined up for when we arrived in California.

    Ed was going to meet her there. She spent her small paycheck for new clothes to see him. I felt she was excited and nervous.

    I was getting run down from babysitting her everyday in everyway.

    I was beside myself with exhaustion by the time we made it to San Diego. I just stared out the window. Lily interupted my thoughts when out of nowhere she said “Whats wrong with you? You seem like you have a stick up your ass, you seem like a bitch”

    The comment took me by suprise. We had not fought or bad words before. It was a weird outburst from nowhere. But that was just the first of many to come…..

  2. Desiree

    Lilys personality was changing towards me as Ed seemed to be convincing her he carried a great deal of clout in our company.

    She kept implying that Ed was pressuring her to decide on a suitable retaliation against her former co-drivers.

    I never recalled anything so awful in her accounts that would prompt any vindictiveness.

    She had them kicked off the truck with Ed’s help.

    In hindsight I guess she was trying to make veiled threats at me. I wasn’t catching on.

    In California, I spent the majority of my hometime taking her to Doctors Appointments. Ed was in California just an hour away and stood her up again.

    She was sick though. Lily had a skin biopsy, her teeth were really infected and she was so disoriented, it was urgent she she a dentist.

    They took her right away and pulled 3 teeth. The previous night she laid on the floor of a motel room. So sick and debating going to the emergency room.

    She needed rest, I NEEDED REST! She was wearing me out!

    I got her persriptions and soft foods to last a couple days and my phone rang, it was Ed.

    He couldn’t reach Lily and he wanted to tell us we were getting a load to Georgia to come see him at the “Trucker Championships”.

    I said “Ed, Lily is really rundown and she’s sick, she’s just not focused to drive across the country.”

    How unfocused was she you ask?

    Lily was so unfocused that she urinated in an old coffee cup in the truck but forgot in the span of time it took her to pull up her drawers. Then she took a big swig of it thinking it was her morning Java!

    I didn’t share that story with Ed. I didn’t want to tell him his chick needed 3 enemas to get off the floor, that she might be having septic shock.

    I was trying to be polite.

    He dismissed my opinion and continued to press the issue by calling Lily.

    She perked up, she wanted to roll. She wanted to see Ed.

    I called Ace and said “I’m not driving with her in the shape she is in.” Ace agreed with me that for her own good we were “off the board”.

    Ed called me back and told me to never call my dispatcher for anything without consulting him first.

    That totally went against everything I had been told by my company.

    Ed was an “Executive Council” member but he was still just another driver.

    Let’s just say it was a very long weekend that deteriorated rapidly from that point on.

    Ed apparently did not like his toes stepped on. He did not like Ace before this incident and I’d inadvertedly placed the two at further odds.

    Ed set about having his “in-house” friends read up about me in the computer notes that had accumulated.

    Lily was sick but would wake up from her rest long enough to call me every cuss word she could muster, WHILE eating the food I brought her.

    I just let her ramble on because it was plain to me that Ed was an Egomaniac and Lily truly believed he was some bigwig that would make my head roll.

    I think she believed he was going to ride up on a white horse and carry her away.

    He liked saving the day for her and she liked creating a drama so he would.

    By the end of the weekend I’d discovered Lily was taking notes about my every movement trying to catch me doing something she could report.

    She was looking in my logbooks and Ed was calling her about the remarks he could glean from his “in-house” contacts.

    Lily told me she would be “firing” Ace as her dispatcher Monday and I would be “getting the hell off her truck”..

    She was quite smug and confident that Ace and I would be very lucky to have a job because that’s what “Ed” told her.

    It was kind of sad to see this woman be so ignorant and beligerant when I could see this dude wasn’t gonna come save the day for her.

    She was so caught up in it. Since this , I have met 3 or 4 women who have let their personal lives interfere with their driving career.

    Ace and I tried to explain to her that Ed did not have her best intrests at heart. She just couldn’t accept it.

    In the final week Lily did everything she could to be uncooperative.

    She simply refused to do her job. She didn’t want to help with anything. She sat and made notes on every move I made on a notebook.

    It turned out she had her CDL since 2006 but was turned down by Swift because she couldn’t turn the landing gear.

    She didn’tunderstand the paperwork or Qualcomm and when I helped her she said it was because I wasn’t giving her a chance to do it.

    When I left it for her to do she never touched it and would say “I will do it when I’m damn good and ready”.

    I think she had trouble reading and comprehending so she lashed out to divert attention from her real problem.

    In the end it was apparent she wanted a caretaker not a co-driver.

    Ed’s snooping turned out to be considerd a federal crime. The log department advised Ed to “Cease and Desist”. He is no longer an “Executive Council” member.

    Lily was still convinced Ed was the glue that held our company together. Ed had encouraged her to file a formal complaint against me.

    We were routed into our terminal and there I was DEFENDING MYSELF to the same HR lady who had NOT conducted any closure to my previous incidents.

    They were so eager to find something wrong with me they took Lilys complaint VERY seriously.

    With 4 company represensitives their they hung on Lilys every word about how I MADE HER unhook the trailer by herself in our final week, made her map a route …. ALONE!, and by far the worst infraction,I had written my name on the first line of our trip sheet NOT ONCE… BUT TWICE!!!!

    The room was silent.

    I looked around the room at everyone of the witch hunters and I said “and you know what? Once….I wrote my name on line one BUT I Signed….on line two.”

    I got no laughs….but it was so unbelievably hysterical to me that not once had I ever had such an intrest in any of the things I’d been thru But for this nonsense it was like a 3 alarm fire.

    The HR lady told Lily she was 100% wrong and if she ever did something like this again… She would be written up….? Written up?

    How much money does it cost to bring a truck into a terminal for a supposed emergency that is not an emergency?

    Just thinking aloud again….

    I felt a little vindicated for about 45 minutes.

  3. Melanie

    Well, I’m pretty sure that the question that I will ask anyone that I would team up with is: “Have you done any time in jail?”

    And I think I DID understand your story. I would have told that Tony guy I was going to call his probation officer. lol

    And I would have never set foot on a truck with that loser again.

  4. Melanie

    Okay I have read more and I am totally amazed at what you are willing to go through! Good for you that you stuck it out. It really sounds like the corruption is not with the higher ups (which is amazing and actually encouraging) but with the lower level, um, people that have never had any power in their lives so give them a little and look at what happens.

    I was thinking about what I would do if I had to train for 6 months with a total stranger, and one thing that I thought of is that everything would have locks on it, and I would make sure I had my essentials fastened to my person at all times. Your blogging confirms it lol.

    I have traveled a lot (I backpacked through England when I was 38) so I know what it’s like to sleep in a train station or walk miles with blisters on my feet. It builds character, actually.

    Anyway, I am going to get back to reading. And I am DYING to hear what company you work for, girl.

  5. Desiree

    I’m trying to glide through this story choosing only the highlights to get my point across to you about the complexity of the issue.

    Even the company never knows who they have hired. Until one of their trucks turns up on national TV on the “To catch a Predetor” show.

    There are background checks but over half of the people I met at Oreintation had been to prison for a great deal of time. Mostly drug related but some more serious.

    That is to be expected because this is a solitary job. Its why I was drawn to it, but as Women entering the field with greater frequency they should understand that there are people in their own companies who live on the fringes of society.

    If you are in a company that has a team requirement you have no idea what a persons background is. You are going on what they tell you.

    I knew Tony had been to prison for drug trafficking but you figure if the company hired him knowing that. I knew him from school, the other recruits had much more serious crimes on their records.

    I knew he was beligerant because I’d been to CDL school with him.

    I didn’t know when he had his ass in a sling OR RATHER thought he did that he would act like a baby and threaten me with his ” I’ve been to prison, I will kill you.” Tony did not scare me, but what he did was spread a lot of rumors about me that had long term effects.

    Some people have observed that they see age as a factor. That was my initial conclusion. The guy who said he wondered if I was racist for rebuffing his come-ons and Mag were in their mid-20.

    But Tony was my age. He didn’t just blurt it out like they did but apparently he thought I would eventually come around. That is what I gathered from the remarks he was making behind my back.

    The lying and manipulations I was not aware of were just as detremental because these guys are acutely aware of how easily the can tarnish your reputation in this male dominated industry.

    Once you have got that label on you its hard to shake. If you are in a company like me where there is little interaction between the management and drivers those rumos and unsupervised childishness explodes.

    Every week another 80-100 students who know nothing about trucking get introduced to this junior high school atmosphere. They are left to each other to find out what and how things work.

    It all comes down to poor management. The company permits this behavior and it fuels the well known notion that you can get away with anything you want because the company does not want to lose the tax credit or government subsidies they get for each student. They sweep issues under the carpet betting the drivers aren’t smart enough to do anything more than make threats of a lawsuit.

    I still have 3 more team experiences to share.

    I felt it was worth mentioning though that because this was the first time I was not off the truck somewhere on the side of the road,I should share some of those final moments.

    When you can’t stand the other person but have to be trapped together. When you are getting routed in but not fast enough.

    Lily would sit on the bottom bunk and blow smoke from her ciggarettes up along the back edge of the bunk so it went in my face.

    She pulled over during her 10 hour shift ( she refused to go on duty any longer than that) up to 6 times to shop for this and that.

    She was “burning her hours” so we failed on a load. She was delibrately sabotaging our freight delivery.

    She would never help me with the tandems even if she was sitting in the jump seat.

    I eventually became so stressed I called the man who I’d spoken to before about Mag.

    He has a calm nature and I needed some guidance before I strangled her to death.

    He told me what I was obligated to do and what I was not obligated to do and from that moment on I did not go out of my way to help her. His name will be Sam (because he is cool like Samuel L Jacksom)

    Sam instructed me by phone where I could draw the line by technical policy. That was why I had stopped doing many of the tasks she had made the complaint about me for.

    In those final days she did everything to try to make me lose my temper but I did not.

    She wanted to provoke me so she could make me seem like I had wronged her.

    Ed had since told her everything he could from the computer notes so she would say things like ” you deserve to have bleach thrown on you and be left in the desert”.

    She said some of the very same things Mag had said about me being disliked in the company and called a troublemaker for making an HR complaint.

    She thought she was provoking me but she was actually giving me quite a bit of ammunition to stop this runaway train. To “Sieze Control” of this situation that my company had permitted to spiral out of control.

    In the end, Lily was removed from the truck. Ace told me by phone that I would be keeping the truck and I cried.

    I was not getting tossed off like garbage this time.

    I had 2 people that believed in me. Sam and Ace.

    I was so mentally exhausted from keeping a stiff upper lip. The news of me keeping the truck made it all the tears come down.

    I still had another meeting to attend and I needed to find ANOTHER team partner! UGH!!!

  6. Desiree

    Melanie-
    You hit the nail on the head!
    It is precisely the problem.
    People who have never been anywhere or done anything have to much power over the lives of men and women who are transporting freight and hundreds of miles from help.

    WARS are lost from broken supply lines!!!!

    That is how importent freight is to be transported to its destination and its importent that the transporters of the freight have good comunications with their company for support.

    I have also done a bit of travel through Italy and the south of France. Catching a train, missing a bus, being stranded on a platform all night with a half slice of bread and half of a peach.

    Pickpocketing gypsy children preying on Americans snapping photos.

    Travel makes you resiliant and tolerant. You have to be.

    You definately seem to be on the right track.

    Thabks for reading, there’s more to come. 🙂

  7. Desiree

    Of course I was stewing a bit because what became clear was that more effort was being put into finding something wrong with me than to investigate what the 3 “boys” were involved in.

    At this juncture I was not aware co-driver #1 had been made a trainer nor did HR apparently.

    HR lady did tell me she had “just closed that case” and that he said things about me… She paused…. But HE DID ADMIT WRONGDOING! (Hmm, no computer notes on him? He still became a trainer?)

    Walking into the terminal one afternoon I was stopped by Dave,an African-American guy who said “Hey, your the girl that was going to team with “so and so”. ( I never named him, sorry) Dave said ” I was there the night everyone walked out to reaffirm with that guy that you were not looking to “play”.

    I said “Yeah, well he nagged me for a week and then called me a Racist for not “doinking” him”, I told Dave how the guy wanted to be a trainer to get only women on his truck.

    Dave said “He IS a Trainer now and I know someone who had to get off HIS TRUCK!”

    Dave shook his head, I shook my head…. Here it was May and no one had followed thru with that incident from February!!!

    I don’t know what exactly happened but I know he was short-lived on the trainer board BUT because some people don’t do their job properly this dude slipped by because he had someone looking out for him “in-house”.

    I recently saw this guy at our Pomona Terminal and he had the “cajones” to say “Hi, Desiree, Are you doing OK?”

    I turned and looked him straight in the eye and said “YES, YES I AM.”

    See this guy has no idea what kind of steamroller he started for me.

    He really is just not the sort of person who has any “human skills”.

    But he is a good driver.

    He doesn’t know any better and only does what he knows. I really think if someone took him aside and “educated” him, perhaps he could shape up, maybe.

    It was really JJ, Tony, Mag the 3 drama queens who continually gossipped like sissies and by coordinated “brown-nosing” in-house that permits this sort of thing to happen.

    Smag, MS, Ed these people who have a lot of power over student drivers they can harm with a comment or keystroke.

    The HR department who has so many “incidents” occuring and is SO OUT OF TOUCH with DRIVER ISSUES that they simply scoot you out the back door hoping you will quit I suppose.

    No one gets fired because then they would have to pay unemployment and lose the tax credit and whatever else they are cashing in on from cheap student labor.

    On Page 32 of my Company Policy Handbook the rules seemed clear.

    I was not only coerced into making a HR complaint but now one had been made against me by Lily for harassing her.

    According to the handbook and investigation should have been done. It also states if the person who made the allegations turned out to be making false claims they would be terminated.

    Lily went on her merry way. She never did hook up with Ed. Last I heard she was raising hell on some other guys truck when he expected her to “pull her own weight” which she could not.

    I was 2 up out of 3, still no investigation about Mag. This thing with Lily seemed more importent to my company than doing a little homework on Mags trail of former co-drivers.

    I had still the dilemma of finding another co-driver.

    I only knew 3 other people. TJ,Lena and Ron.

    It had been since February that I’d spoken to her, I wondered if her driving was better. I took a chance and called her.

    She seemed curiously guarded on the phone. “Why haven’t you ever called me?” she said. ” I heard you got fired”

    I said “Me?, No, That’s weird” I didn’t want to ramble on about all the events so I just cut to the chase.

    “Are you teamed up right now?” I told her I was looking for a girl to team with. She said “No, I just got a new team-partner this week, I’m hoping its going to work out”

    Then she started talking about her team partner had encouraged her to stay at her house in Atlanta while her took a load to Nebraska and she was confused how he was going to come back to get her because the company didn’t even know she was off the truck. Her new partner convinced her he “would take care of it” and “not to worry” because he had friends “in-house”.

    TJ kept mentioning that her co-driver had lost his drivers license and had to get a replacement in Kentucky even though he lived in Florida. A bell went off in my head.

    I said “TJ, is your co-drivers name MAG?” …. “Yes”, she said “he’s the one who told me that you got fired!”

    TJ went on to in form me that Mag had gone on a campaign with his “in-house” buddies to say that I got so drunk at the casino in New Mexico that I lost control of myself and had to be escorted out of the building and when I went back to the truck I was begging HIM for sex! TJ went on to tell me Mag said that when he refused to have sex with me that I had a fit and THREW MY OWN CLOTHES OFF THE TRUCK AND SPRAYED THEM AND MYSELF WITH BLEACH!

    I laughed at the perposterous story and said ” I hope you realize how ridiculous that is TJ”

    TJ said ” I told him that none of it sounded like the Desiree that I know” BUT Mag told TJ some very hurtful things he said I SAID about her.
    She was confused.

    The truth was that when I drove with TJ besides her scary driving she did a couple things I did not like.

    She had asked me to be honest with her and tell her what was wrong with her that she couldn’t keep co-drivers.

    A thing that bothered me was that she urinated in a container while I was driving and then brought it out front and let it spray out the window.

    It was disgusting and I told her so. Not only the urine that sprayed into traffic, all over the door but the smell when she was doing it from her “un-showered” person made me gag for a period of time while I was trying to drive up “The Grapevine” in California.

    I’d told TJ how I felt and she agreed it was an unessesary bad habit seeing as we had plenty of time to stop.

    I made the mistake of telling Mag before I knew what he was. He harped and embellished the comment and hurt TJs feelings in order to create doubt in her mind about me.

    That’s what predators do folks. They sniff out your soft spots and insecurites and they gnaw at them.

    They plant seeds of doubt in your mind while they engage you to trust them and only them. They try to isolate you from outside information. Until you are their “zombie”.

    I could hear in TJs voice she was not sure who to believe. I didn’t want to stir the pot because TJ needed to work. She’s has a little 8 year old girl.

    I know she needed to make it work with Mag so I just told her Good Luck and Be Careful.

    Always the optimist, I felt it was just a matter of time until the hammer came down on Mag.

    He had told me he lost his drivers license in March. He didn’t have it since then? I’d told at least 5 different people in my company and he was still without it in May!

    There were other things also. Some of the things TJ said to me were similar to what Mag had told me about the other 2 girls that had gotten off his truck.

    Mag was looking like a real psychopath to me.

  8. Desiree

    I wanted to quickly note to potential Trucking Students that there is so much more expected of you besides just driving.
    Some of the things I say in my story may make you cringe in disbelief BUT you need to be prepared should you be faced with these uncomfortable scenarios.
    Going to the bathroom is an event.
    Cleaning trailer that have debris left in them.
    Having to sleep in a moving vehicle.
    Counting freight as it is loaded.
    Vehicle Inspections, Stuck trailer doors, stripped landing gear.
    If you are already in poor health you should think twice before you become a Trucker.
    There is some climbing and lifting that requires elbow grease.
    Its not brute strength but I’ve met some folks who were not able to climb into a trailer OR even climb up on the cat walk.
    You need understand that and the recruiters are selling school for commission.
    They don’t care if you don’t make it.

  9. […] A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker | AskTheTrucker.com […]

  10. Desiree

    I’ve not been able to catch you up on my story because the grim economy has compelled me to accept every mile possible before imminent layoffs occur.

    My Twitter page has been getting some rather prominent followers and the exiciting thing is other drivers are networking online to give a glimpse into this mysterious existence.

    My link is above and my personal email is TruckerDesiree@gmail.com

    I continue to try to forge civil communications with the WIT forum but I am a new trucker THEREFORE considered an unwelcome outsider, despite the fact that I am a Woman also.??

    They have also set up a Twitter page to follow Ellen getting her CDL.

    Any aspiring student male/female should take a look at what will be expected … Its much more than Driving.

    I will be adding another installment to my story this weekend while I wash laundry in between loads while I’m out here OTR
    Desiree

  11. Desiree

    .. where was I? Ah, reteaming…again. Well, TJ was out, Lena had just reteamed with a guy, so she was out.

    I was going to have to attend the dreaded 3pm team meeting.

    One thing that Ace told me was that I was being portrayed in a bad light, a “Personality Problem” so if my next team partner didn’t last for my entire 3 months left of the team phase, I would be fired.

    I was PISSED!!! Here I’d met people who had fights with their teammates every other week but they were saying “I” would be fired. Another tactic to intimidate me.

    I have excellent relations with people who are former employees,employers,co-workers,collegues. Many for 15-20 years! Like I said earlier though, I’m not one to walk away from a Bully. I’m motivated by them. I question them. That generally exposes them and bullis, like cowards usually scream the loudest when they are losing control of a situation.

    I still felt lost though because there was no system in place to help me locate a suitable match.

    I’d asked the questions but even company reps. admit, predators LIE.

    I didn’t wear revealing clothes. I didn’t talk about my personal business. I never spoke as openly as I do here or on twitter. I never joked around to be extra careful to not invite unwanted attention.

    I didn’t ever get “fixed” up or indicate I wanted to “socialize”. I wore baggy mens clothes and kept my hair in a ponytail. It was stressful to have to be learning this way.

    Anyone who knows me will tell you. I am a nice person but you have to know me. I am not eager to meet new people, I am a loner. I am polite. I say hello if you say hello to me. I hold the door for people. I say “Thank you” if they hold it for me. THATS ALL!!

    I was actually told I needed to be more of a bitch on one day and NOW I have a personality problem?

    They were trying to intimidate me for their own failed system. Which is no system at all.

    I didn’t know where to begin to interview a new teammate.

    I’d been “thrown under the bus” by Tony who I’d gone to CDL school with, Lily who I fed and shuttled around to the Doctor.

    I felt no one could be trusted.

    I went to Sams office for a private talk. I was upset that THEIR system had allowed this to occur.

    I told him I understood there are labor laws and privacy issues BUT they should have a policy that if a guy has a string of women getting off their truck it SHOULD be cause for concern! Furthermore, no person with a criminal record for violence should even be permitted to team at all! Let alone with a Woman!

    These guys SHOULD NOT be able to go to the next team meeting to TROLL for students who are fresh meat off their Trainers Truck!

    I told Sam I’d appreciate it if at the very least, IF I ran a name by him, Perhaps he could PLEASE give me some indication whether I should KEEP LOOKING, even if he just tapped his foot on the floor 3 times,

    See, sometimes the company knows and like one guy in safety told me. Sometimes they are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as soon as they leave the terminal.

    That is why MORE TRAINING should be REQUIRED for any opposite gender teams.

    The way it is now it is a free for all.

    Anthonys company FORBIDS opposite gender teams if you did not come to the company as a couple.

    Now, you MUST understand how disoriented you are as a student trucker. You are learning all this new stuff and trying to manage your life from a bag. Your guard is up but in YOUR OWN COMPANY??? YES!!!!

    So many students come and go, no one really cares about you or wants to talk to you because 75% of each class, each week won’t be around in a month or so.

    With my agreement made with Sam I went on to the Drivers lounge to prepare a list of questions to ask prospective teammates.

    I really wanted a girl, even though Lily was a pain in the ass, the overall mood was so much calmer.

    A man called me and said he was given my name. He needed a co-driver. He was older, in his 50’s, married. He had been teamed with his brother but he had taken a leave.

    I told him I was really looking for a female. He sounded nice though. I couldn’t trust my instincts anymore. I was really confused.

    I sat with my head down. There was no one to ask for help. No support system.

    That’s when “Bella” walked up. She introduced herself. I’d never met her . I only knew the stories Mag had told me about her.

    The SAME STORIES I’d just heard TJ say he said about me.

    Bella was hopping mad because Mag had stolen some of her things and the company was not helping her.

    I told her what happened to me and she was even more furious.

    There were some common threads of behavior and characteristics in Mag even though the outcomes were different. It showed a pattern.

    Bella said “come on” I followed her. I thought, why not?

    First, we went to HR but the lady couldn’t see us. Suprise….

    Bella and I got in the elevator and she was talking so much I just followed along. We arrived on the FORBIDDEN 3rd floor. We were standing in front of the desk of the BIG MAN!

    Bella proceeded to tell his personal assistant a synopsis while I secretly made a call to an older Woman, I’d met earlier that day.

    Honestly, I was a little freaked out. Bella was quite rambunctious. I didn’t know her. She was raising hell. Its not my style in this setting, I just stood back and let her go.

    The older lady on the phone told me we should not be up there. She told me we should leave.

    See its one of those companies with the “open door” policys. That means if you go in the open door, everyone knows it and you are targeted. You are on everyones radar. You are a dead duck!

    I was at a loss,Bella had told the whole story to the main man’s personal assistant and she was shocked. As any normal person should be….”The Man” wasn’t in but another man, she insisted should definately hear this.

    To this day I couldn’t tell you what or where I was led to. I just remember Bella and the Lady Talking, walking, a door opened, and a man told us to come in and have a seat.

    I did not know who he was. I’d never heard his name before. I’d never seen him before.

    Bella and I sat down and he asked her what was going on. Bella rattled of as many details as possible. I just sat there. I just let here do all the talking.

    Then he looked at me and said “…and what about you?
    I stammered out… “I had some troubles with male co-drivers and no one has done anything to investigate it. Now all these notes are in the computer about me and they are saying I have a personality problem. They say I have only 1 more chance or I will be fired.”

    He sounded confident when he said “No one would tell you that here” , but they had! Ace, his boss, his boss, the HR lady. They all had said it.

    He dialed the HR ladies extension on speaker phone and told her he had Bella and I sitting before him.

    Her reply was “Well that is an UNHOLY ALLIANCE”! He replied, “I have you on speaker phone”

    Then she clammed up and he picked up the receiver. They had just a few words and he hung up.

    We began to resume our conversation and the phone rang again, it was the HR lady. She needed me in her office.

    I thought maybe she was going to tell me she made a mistake. She’d been so busy and that’s why she had never handled the matters. I would have understood.

    I knew there were many girls having the same issues trying to fend for themselves but they were afraid to complain and be targeted like me. I was infamous. Men and Women Drivers privately supported me but everyone was so afraid to say anything and be targeted also.

    When I went in to the HR ladys office, Ace and his 2 bosses were there. They kept trying to make it seem like I’d brought it on myself. It was so ludicris, but she had already tipped her hand with her comment on the phone.

    She was trying to convince me to see something that was false. The problem was she had not ever followed up. The other bosses and Ace were basing their opinions only on her word. They never were made privy to ant details. Everyone was on a different page because of poor communication.

    She really never got to talk much because the man from the office walked in during the “attempted waterboarding” and leaned against the wall.

    The uneasiness and tension was so thick. She seemed to pace her scolding of me when he walked in. He just said “Is something being done about this?”

    All three chimed in “Oh yes, oh we are working on a solution”

    WHAT A BUNCH OF PHONEY BS!!!!!

    If I ever had cowards like that on my payroll I would fire them! I cannot stand “YES MEN/WOMEN”

    Just that patronizing butt licking which is EXACTLY why I did not want to be involved in corporate America and desired a solitary job like TRUCKING!

    Clearly, these chumps, just like Mag and Tony were trying to play “cover my ass”.

    I was excused from the meeting but that man stayed behind. I still didn’t know who he was.

    I walked downstairs and saw Bella. She was looking for a team partner. We said we would discuss it.

    I am a very laid back open minded quiet person. I wasn’t sure if I should team with such a tough girl who was so rambunctious even though she seem to have the best intentions.

    We exchanged numbers and our boyfriends numbers. I spoke to her boyfriend and he told me she was loud but had a heart of gold, for me to not be put off by her rough edges.

    I liked her but I’ve met some trucker women who are very tough but its just the exterior. They want to go out of their way to be jerks to other Women. They think only 1 kind of Woman can be a Trucker and they NAG constantly about their superiority over all other Women.

    Its so detrimental, Its such a waste of time. I have tons of female friends. All kinds, I love them all even if they don’t do things like me.

    Bella was cool, my boyfriend talked to her also and he said we would be a good match. I thought I was set.

    I even told Sam who knew Bella. I also told him 3 other names. He thought Bella was the best name I’d put forward.

    I was glad.

    On my way to my truck, the phone rang. It was ACE.

    He said “it would not be a good idea to team with Bella”. I said “Why?” He just said ” I can’t tell you what to do, but it just won’t ” Ace said “What about Bill”?

    Bill was the older man. I knew Ace was trying to say that if I went with Bella I would be targeted even more. I really wanted anonimity. I wanted to finish my team phase and get my 6 months experience, and the $2500 bonus. I deserved it.

    I told Bella, she was a senior driver she could go solo. We knew they just wanted to seperate us. They didn’t want us matching up anymore stories. They didn’t want us locating the 3rd girl who had made her complaint about Mag to his crack buddy “in-house”, “Smag”.

    I went in search of Bill. I found him in the TV room and sat down next to him.

    I said ” I just want to drive, I’ve had some troubles with guys here but I’m confident its behind me.”

    I like to run hard, I don’t want to stop at casinos or bars., I’m not a big socializer, I’m a safe driver, I don’t tailgate, I don’t like tailgating and I’m a courteous driver. I like to stop for the bathroom and stretch my legs.

    Bill said he had been driving for 8 years, he agreed with all my needs and added he too stopped for walks. His doctor had recommended he eat better and take 30 minutes a day for a stroll. Sounded Great to me.

    I had been walking a little here and there when I arrived at the shippers and receivers and had lost 60 lbs.

    It had come to be a wonderful stress reliever and I had met so many unhealthy drivers, I wanted to stay healthy from the start so I would have longevity in my career as a professional driver.

    Bill was a very affable man, he wanted me to know he had been to prison in his youth. He was married to the lady who brought bibles to the prison, she wasn’t keen on him teaming with a woman but seeing how he needed a paycheck.

    I am skipping over a lot because I’m so pressed to tell this story.

    Ron and Lena were also there and I had thought about teaming with both but Lena quit after her male co-driver treated her very poorly.

    Her husband had called me one evening. She was crying over the ways she had been humiliated by her co-driver. He had screamed in her face and told her she was ” a fat stupid bitch”.

    I drove with Lena for a few days, she was a very sweet woman . NO ONE had the right to speak to their co-driver in this manner!!!

    Her husband was homebound from illness. She was desperatley trying OTR driving to support the both of them and his medical bills.

    She had already 3 failed teams because of the POOR system to team Student Drivers.

    I’d also met another Woman, a blackWoman from Detroit, overweight, no teeth and sweet as can be. She had been continually HUMILIATED by her male co-driver. Called names, screamed at while she was behind the wheel.

    THIS IS NOT SAFE FOR OUR HIGHWAYS! THAT IS MY POINT!

    ITS NOT ABOUT A SEXUAL HARRASMENT HESAID/SHESAID ITS ABOUT SOMEONE INTIMIDATING ANOTHER PERSON WHILE THEY ARE BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A TRUCK ON THE HIGHWAY!!!

    THAT IS MY POINT!

    Often, its a bully thinking they can browbeat someone they percieve is weaker than them. They are unsupervised and they are getting away with it because NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!

    It happens to men and women but bullys seem to be drawn to the women because as we know most bullys are cowards who would get their ass kicked if they pulled their crap with a man.

    If a woman says “THIS GUY IS AN ASSHOLE” Every one says “Oh, file sexual harrasment on him”

    I HATE THAT LABEL!!

    if you are a person who has been COERCED AND MISLED to file such a complaint you have put the nails in your own coffin.

    If you have been following my posts on “Women In Trucking ” you will see how other people treat you when you haven’t even TOLD your whole story.

    Just the mere mention of the label and OTHER WOMEN attack!

    Its that detrimental to what THE REAL PROBLEM IS…..

    That’s all my little thumbs can muster for now.

    Please stay with me….
    Desiree

  12. […] A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker […]

  13. Desiree

    I’m receiving some positive emails that my point is coming across.

    This story is for you to understand what can happen if you don’t have the right information to start with.

    I did not have a computer or PDA during training.

    I was unable to download articles, participate in forums or afford a membership because I wasn’t making the money to afford it.

    I didn’t know what to do.

    When I wrote my desperate plea to help me be sucessful and get through the bad times. I didn’t know if anyone would even reply to me.

    I was so thrilled to find someone cared, it motivated me to get involved because I care about all living things.

    Bear with me now because I am a grandma again and my daughter had a baby girl today.

    my daughter posts this blog via email after I write it one button at a time using my right thumb.

    it takes a long time.
    thanks

  14. Desiree

    I have a few days off so I will be working on my next installments to help you potential students understand the complexities of surviving your student trucking phase.

    That is really why I spend so much time communicating to the outside world.

    Had someone taken the time to reach out and share the “Truth” about what a I should expect as a single woman entering trucking, I would have asked better questions and not had many of these horrible experiences.

    If I was connected to other Truckers like I am now thru Twitter< none of my co-drivers could have gotten away with leaving me stranded or manipulating me the way they did.

    I would have known more about my company BEFORE i committed my crucial first year to them.

    I WANT YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL!
    That is my mission.
    If you are not clear on Twitter and need help with this extraordinary new tool please do not hesitate to email me and I will help.

    We are part of an exciting era of social change and readily available information.

    You just need to bring the initiative and the drive to seek these gifts.

    Like Trucking, you have to be a self starter and be able to think outside of the box to solve problems.

    Collecting information from a variety of sources and not permitting yourself to become rigid with make you adaptable.

    That is a key ingredient to becoming a success as a student trucker and beyond.

  15. Desiree

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday.
    It’s been awhile since I had a moment to resume my story.
    I had high hopes that my company was trying to make positive changes to stop abusing students and experienced drivers but I am not so sure anymore.

    Normally, we would receive a Christmas bonus of $200.00 to run straight thru December until January 4th but they waited until the last moment to tell us we would not get it this year.

    For many it was too late to make it home so they felt “tricked”. I don’t put it past my company, they do this often.

    I was able to get to my Friends house and I took the time to meet my new Grandchild “Miceala Mae” and see my Daughter who helps me post this blog.

    If you are following us on Twitter, her tag is @AmbersNRG

    I was notified my Trucks Idle was too high this past week so I am required to bring it to the shop in Texas to have the speed turned down as punishment.

    By turning my speed down I will not be able to cover as much area, less miles = less income. My company does not care that the weather conditions in the past 2 weeks made it to cold for me without the heater to sleep. It’s also bad for the engine to be in extreme temperatures.

    So although the CEO implored us to send him an email to “Commit to Care” about them as they struggle with their $1.70 stock and poor service record with customers, I’m sad they don’t see that caring starts at the top and trickles down.

    I left off in my story when I met Bill and was encouraged not to team with Bella.

    There was a great deal of hullabaloo that day when the HR lady and some middle management got their toes stepped on by me.

    See most people would have quit way before now, but I knew the scam thanks to Allen’s guidelines in “Truth about Trucking” http://www.truthabouttrucking.com

    I told Sam that I was going to team with the older man to show once again I WAS A TEAM PLAYER!, even though I had had so many problems with male co-drivers and ZERO assistance from my company to create a SAFE work environment.

    I told Sam the events were making me feel I had a moral obligation to become a trainer for other serious minded Women so they would not have to endure what I had been through. Sam thought it was a good goal. Ace said it would never happen.

    Ace said I had been internally black-balled for making the HR complaint and especially because now that upper level management had inquired, I was an unwanted addition.

    Turns out, the Man who walked into my intended “railroading” session was the VP of Operations.

    Ace named names when he stepped away from the building to tell me who was now personally “gunning” for me.

    I said “Well, I will prove them wrong!” In my crazy mind a good worker with a safe driving record and good people skills trumps a Drunk Driving, crack smoking, pill popping, lying, lazy predator. BOY, do I have a lot to learn about the Trucking Industry!

    Sam even said to Ace, “Who said those things?” but it didn’t matter at that point. I still had 3 more months of teaming before I could even entertain the thought.

    Bill agreed to move onto my Truck. He wanted to keep his dispatcher but I was hesitant because his was one of the worst! Ace was by no means the magic bullet but he had admitted he made some wrong decisions that had harmed me. He was familiar with how much I was struggling and knew I worked hard and went the extra mile. That was much more than any other dispatcher even gave the time of day to acknowledge.

    I hoped I could get Bill to give Ace a try, but the first order of business was to go see “MS” to be seated on my truck. As usual, she was as rude as ever but she did the change in the computer and asked “Which Dispatcher?” I said “Ace”.

    Bill stuttered he wasn’t sure; he was on “another” board. So she assigned us to that “other” dispatcher.

    We walked out to switch Bill’s stuff into my truck and his Qualcomm beeped. It was a private message from MS, “Are you sure you want to team with her? I have someone better in mind.”

    That someone was actually a person who is my friend who I elected not to team with because their volatile temperament so I was irritated to say the least that this lady was meddling in something once again she knew nothing about that could potentially harm all three of us involved.

    Bill was upset also. He did not like the fellow at all. I called Sam and told him what she had done. Sam said “MS, was CONFUSED but she is not confused anymore, please disregard that Qualcomm message.”

    Much of the communication failure clearly stemmed from petty manipulations by people such as MS who suffer from a superiority complex. I call it “Piranha playing with Angelfish Syndrome” An unchecked superiority complex that can very well have this major trucking company with a class action lawsuit on their hands!

    Bill and I resumed moving his things to my cleaner more civilized Truck. He had been living in total squalor. I was thrilled I did not have to get on that pigsty.

    Another thing you need to realize when you team is that you cannot sleep on the top bunk while the truck is in motion. Being that the Team truck is always moving, you are sharing the bottom bunk most of the time. Taking turns sleeping in the same bed is in a word, GROSS when you have to team with a slob.

    I was suffering with nightmares still and stress from yet again having to be in close quarters with an unknown man. It was affecting me with my backing. I was not getting better; I was getting worse because I was becoming very self-conscious. That is not like me to get nerve-wracked by imbeciles.

    I had been spending so much time defending myself that I was not paying attention to details. I was suffering the consequences. I also failed to ask Bill about HIM!

    I had come to accept that everyone had been to prison. I was so eager to get back to work, move on once again from what had happened to me, to prove once and for all I was going to be a good trucker and get the bonus for completing my student training phase. I was
    forgetting stuff though, I was too preoccupied.

    I took the first drive shift to show Bill my smooth driving skills. I did not discover Bills driving skills, or lack of until we were a days drive away from our terminal.

    With the events that had transpired naming me a personality problem and now that I had stepped on management’s toes. I felt I had to suck it up.

    I had to sleep in the wretched stink of a bed Bill had on the bottom bunk. I had to TRY to sleep while he swerved all over the road. Every quarter mile, I was lunging up because his frequent passes over the rumble strip.

    I was petrified, I was scared this was going to be the way I died because the unsafe manner my company was forcing me to complete my training.

  16. Desiree

    Bill was by far the WORST driver I was teamed with.

    He had been driving a big truck for 8 years though!

    I ASSumed someone that had been driving that long would have gotten the hang of holding the Truck Steady but Bill had not.

    Ace had attempted to team me last minute to a Girl Trainer I will call Valerie, but she said I was to pretty….?? Later though she asked to exchange phone numbers & we kept in touch.

    Valerie had made a series of poor choices & she didn’t really want to continue training but she wanted to make money.

    Trainers get priority miles that’s why people who don’t really care about teaching OR are not qualified to teach OR people who can’t get along with anyone to stay teamed with them are the majority of trainers.

    Valerie & I talked on the phone daily, she had worked for the company for several years but she had left to try & be an owner-operator. It was a financial bust for her.

    She had returned to the company to team with none other than my pill popping Trainer but was summarily put off the truck when my ex-trainer who for unknown reasons stopped training, scored some young man tail on a one night stand & left her longtime Friend Valerie with no team partner.

    Valerie returned to the Trainers Program desperate for miles & to recoup the lost income from losing her team partner.

    She had heard all the stories about me. She was aware I had made 2 formal complaints about Male Co-Drivers & she admitted she was curious about me.

    It helped me to talk to someone especially a Woman Trucker about what happened because she knew it was true.

    She knew everything about my Trainer was true also & told me that the girl always managed to wiggle out of drug tests OR management who knew about her drug use simply looked the other way.

    Valerie knew the first guy I teamed with also & said he was aggressive to girls when she met him also & repeated verbatim many of the things I stated in my report to others. He was the one that was made a Trainer after I told them his intentions to become a trainer we simply to get women on his truck.

    Valerie told me I should sue the company but I knew no other company would want to hire a Truck Driver with only 3 months experience who was suing another Trucking Company.

    Also, I wanted to drive NOT sit & wait 5 or 10 years for a settlement.

    I’ve been involved in lawsuits before, and I’ve won them. They are time consuming though & I want my friggin experience & my tuition reimbursement first! Not in 5 or 10 years.

    I keep hoping my company will stop acting like bottom feeders & change their ways.

    I have it good now and I could forget it all and never look back but I don’t want someone else to put all their hopes & dreams into a Trucking Career and have it stolen from them because of mismanagement & GREED!

    Valerie & I talked every night. She had a student on her truck & they were getting excellent miles.

    Bill & I were getting none.

    700,300,850 then sitting for 2 days before we got another load BUT just minutes before we would be paid layover pay!

    I kept quiet because I knew they were trying to “starve” me out. I didn’t want Bill to know but I felt bad for him.

    His mortgage was paid though & his Wife was the main income so although I felt bad for his frustration I knew financially they would survive.

    I kept it to myself & called friends who help me with my few bills & food for the bumpy road ahead.

    Bill would get angry & call to yell at the Dispatcher about why they were doing this. He suspected it was me & told them they should leave me alone, that I was a very good driver & we needed miles.

    We were ignored.

    I made the best of it. I’d find a “Barnes n Noble” and showed Bill how they had comfy chairs where we could enjoy books and Starbucks all day long.

    I bought old westerns & TV programs like “Bonanza” ,”Beverly Hillbillies”&”The Andy Griffith Show”.

    Bill reminded me of an old hobo, a real ramblin man. He used some kind of blow torch flame to cook canned stew in a pot. He washed his sandwich baggies that he used for apple slices in the shower with him. (He told me)

    Bill use “Joy” the dish soap for his laundry, his shower & his baggies. He was a real character but his driving sucked.

    He also did things that were unsafe like stepping under the trailer with no warning when I was hooking to it. Sticking his head under the trailer by the 5th wheel while I was unhooking the trailer, Stepping in front of the Truck when I was pulling forward.

    Tony also did many of these things & I had to tell him. “You are putting me in a bad situation because you can be injured or killed because you are not paying attention & I will be responsible if you get hit!”

    Men don’t take to kindly to a Woman telling them this sort of thing. But, we are talking about life & limb carelessness that on a daily basis made me question when my luck would run out.

    I was carrying a heavy burden because I was told I had to stay teamed with Bill but I was scared to death by his driving.

    He also smelled really bad and the Truck was like a rolling garbage can that smelled like body odor & “Joy”.

    I took to sleeping on the top bunk even though I knew I would die instantly if we crashed.

    I just accepted that death was a very real possibility for me & I began to pray often for God to see me thru this nightmare my Christian Company was forcing on me.

    With the “Mag” issue still unresolved & knowing the VP had prodded HR to conclude the incident, I wondered if they had bothered to call the Head of Security to gather the necessary evidence.

    They had not.

    I communicated personally & found NO ONE had followed up on anything!!

    Bill & I sat

    We were sent for loads where 5 other trucks arrived for 3 loads available. The cracks of mismanagement and poorly trained load planners were making it clear that this company had major internal failure written all over it.

    I tracked the stock & found an alarming pattern.

    Bill capitalized on the information by investing in the cheap shares and actually made more money from the momentary spikes than the total net pay we were making from our paychecks.

    Then we got a good load, FINALLY! From NC to CA, we thought our dry spell was broken but just 300 miles into the trip we were to we had to give the load to another truck and come to our home terminal.

    I knew it was about the “Mag” incident. I was sick to my stomach.

  17. Desiree

    I’m happy that many media outlets are picking up the relevance that the Trucking School Scam through Twitter but if you are a Student Trucker make sure you clarify the Per Diem policy which is being forced on Drivers & the IDLE policys so you are not expected to pay to stay warm.

  18. Desiree

    I am in Dallas and awaiting the arrival of an Ice Storm so I intend to write today on my new laptop

    My Story is changing into the diverse personalities I encountered in my first year trucking.

    All told, I was on 10 Trucks adding Trainers, Temporary Co-Drivers I was assigned to to save money for my Company on Greyhound, Predators who saw my eagerness to learn and offered their assistance thinking I was an easy target & Women who thought my personable nature meant they could manipulate me further.

    At this time, The Trucking Industry Overall is struggling as is all of Americas Economic Stability.

    I support my company in their efforts to cut corners whereever possible incliding by having drivers take per diem.

    There are lots of good people at my company that I have grown fond of and I help a few people behind the scenes to navigate around the persons who almost ended my Professional Driving Career.

    I will resume my story of Bill during this break.

    We had some eventful times together as co-drivers

  19. Desiree

    When I left off on my story, Bill & I had unexpectedly routed into our home terminal and taken off the first decent load assigned to us in 2 weeks of false starts. Bill was furious.
    In Trucking, sitting builds paranoia but this can happen will any job where you are working but not actually getting paid, such as a sales commission position.
    You are only making money when the truck is rolling, not when you are fueling, doing paperwork, performing inspections, being inspected by DOT, not waiting on a load, not when your trailer is being loaded, not when you are climbing inside filthy trailers hauling broken wood pallet out and sweeping the floor, not when you are taking the truck into the shop and waiting on it to be repaired.
    All of these mentioned items affect your “Hours of Service”, if you cannot sleep, you should not drive.
    As an “OTR” driver which is what you will be required to do as a student entering the industry you will make less than minimum wage and going home is not as easy as they make it seem.
    When Bill & I were taken off the good load the driver who took it from us told us they gave it to her because “we needed” to be routed into the terminal. Funny they told us nothing.
    Once we arrived though, my dispatcher hemmed & hawed. He was stalling, they brought us in but for something but once we were there, nothing.
    No one likes coming into the terminal because getting out of there takes time, Sometimes days.
    I had my notes, my copies, my statements & calendar of dates… they just let us sit in the terminal.
    Late in the night, the Qualcomm beeped & we got a load but Bill had gotten food poisoning so we could not take it.
    I’m giving you some details because as a team, if one gets sick the team cannot roll. Sometimes one person can work through the other persons shift but in Bill’s case, we needed to stay close to a bathroom.
    Needing an emergency dental appointment, or any sort of medical treatment is impossible, even if you get home, scheduling is impossible because you rarely get home when you ask to get home.
    Once we finally got on our way, Bill & I were both struck by how odd the entire incident was. It seemed like they were having us sit hoping we would quit. Bill was frustrated but he said I was the best team partner he’d ever had because he fought with his brother almost daily.
    I am quiet, I don’t talk much … It leads to a lot of curiosity about me & frustration because people like to draw conclusions rather quickly about appearances. I watch & I listen & I learn.
    Once we got back under a load, the close calls resumed. Bill had some “old-timer” renegade ways that were fine for him but not for me. He wanted me to do things to cut corners that made me uncomfortable.
    I think to be a successful team you should mind your own business first and foremost. If the person can drive, leave them be. If they make log errors, make sure yours are right & let them deal with the log department.
    Much of the pettiness occurs because one person wants to get too involved in the other persons business. With me, people misconstrue that I am weak because of my appearance.
    That I am quiet seems to make them go into overdrive and they get preoccupied with what I’m doing, thinking that has nothing to do with my job. They cannot mind their own business so they begin to micro-manage everything to find me doing something they can point out and correct.
    I didn’t want any more confrontations so I never told Bill his driving scared me. I didn’t tell him breaking company rules & cutting corners on scaling the load or trying to “beat the system” made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to start an argument.
    The truth was, when he was asleep I was the one being pulled in at the weigh station, not him. I would get the ticket. I once tried to tell him that but he wanted to argue with me that the ticket wasn’t that much. That was not the point; I don’t have any tickets so why do I want to do something to get one?
    Bill didn’t understand this line of reasoning, the arguments went nowhere. He did not understand me.
    Bill was difficult when the truck need repairs also. Twice going to the mechanic to tell them not to do the repairs because he thought we would miss a load.
    It’s that nature of elevated excitement that is bred from being left sitting like we had been.
    When we were routed in the three times, I took the opportunity to have little items fixed on the truck, such as a cracked windshield. Bill would get agitated and try to stop the shop who was already working on the repair before we were done with our laundry.
    Hybrid teams are like when you first move out on your own and have roommates. Not only do you discover they are pigs but when you have to work with them and live together in such close quarters it is extremely difficult to keep your composure.
    It seemed like near misses kept stalking me while I was with Bill.
    Besides his swerving, my backing continued to decline. We got into some real pickles and I did not trust his judgment at all. He did not seem to have good perception of how many close calls he was directing me in to.
    The other issue was with an old guy who is not used to having a woman around he didn’t understand that I have a long walk to the bathroom at night.
    Security is something I need to be aware of so I park in a well lit area. I discussed it with him but he simply forgot. So often he would park us in the “Crime Zone”.

    One Night, he parked us in an area our company strictly forbids. When I protested he had me the usual argument that “…he knew what he was doing”, no sooner had he shut off the engine, The Pimps & Drug dealers came to the windows.
    I was on the top bunk and when the guy asked Bill if “…he wanted company…” Bill told him “No, I already got a girl with me”
    Every Guy I drove with did this, Implied that it was “WE”, in this situation, in this location it was a danger to my safety.
    The pimp took that to mean Bill already had a “Lot Lizard” in his Truck and possibly one that was a renegade that he was not getting his money from.
    The pimp demanded to know “WHO” was in the truck but Bill smugly told him no. Then Bill left the truck to parts unknown to me but the pimp and cohorts returned.
    He started banging on the door and rocking the cab back and forth to get me to come out.
    I lay still on the top bunk hoping he would stop. I didn’t want him to see my face because I thought he would also think I was a pushover and I’d have to be provoked into an altercation.
    Which I have absolutely no problem with “Vigilante Justice” but the odds in this situation were not in my favor, so I stayed still and help my phone on 911 preparing to hit send if he broke the door open.
    After 30 long minutes, he gave up and left. Bill returned several hours later and I was finally able to sleep when the Qualcomm beeped with an adamant message “WHY ARE YOU GUYS PARKED IN THIS FORBIDDEN AREA? LEAVE NOW!”
    Whew! I was glad, and didn’t have to argue. I drove us outside Atlanta to a nice small suburb.
    My bad luck continued though. In Dallas, while fueling a poorly maintained fuel hose became disconnected from the nozzle and sprayed me from head to toe with Diesel.
    I was completely drenched in fuel and another Trucker told me the very same thing had happen to him the day prior.
    I had to walk inside to find someone to help turn off the spraying hose and pray to God that no one was smoking as I walked across 10 fuel bays, up the stairs , into the building to STAND IN LINE, before anyone could have the time to ask me why I was soaking wet and smelled!
    I got a free Shower, WOW! And they washed my clothes and shoes but they were ruined. The Diesel went into the pads of my feet and I got very sick.
    I probably should have gone to the hospital but I didn’t know. I just got on my bunk in a ball and tried to sleep it off.
    I told Bill, we could not drive, I could not get up. Bill parked in the back forty again and sure enough when the sun went down the criminals started coming out of the woodwork.
    Bill seemed to enjoy taunting them, sort of wanting to challenge them into an altercation. I was so sick but I could hear the conversation and knew I was in a near miss situation if this guy on our running board was carrying a gun. Bill was sitting there with the windows rolled down inviting trouble and now he got it.
    Again, we were fortunate.
    When we left Dallas, we headed west into a clear night. I was driving.
    The Texas sky clear as a bell in spring but a thunderhead off to the North West, it did not appear to be going to affect us.
    It is very dark in west Texas, not much out there. A gust came from nowhere a push me into the left lane.
    We had a load of carpet rolls, very heavy and such freight can shift causing rollovers. Careful turning is a must with this sort of load.
    I recovered my lane just as a second and third gust caused the rig to fishtail. It was quite odd because there was not even a breeze before.
    Bill came out of the sleeper, he was understandably alarmed. “What’s going on?” I told him that this wind just kicked up out of nowhere.
    He sat in the passenger seat just as a wall of yellow and brown closed in on us. I was holding steady but Bill said “Desiree, pull this Truck over now!” I hobbled us to the next exit and parked along the frontage road.
    The Truck started lifting at the trailer but the Cab was shaking back and forth in an opposite manner. Sheets of water, lighting, wind whipped up an uncontrollable frenzy like neither of us had ever seen.
    I called my friend who was a Trainer; Bill called his wife to tell her he loved her and where we were. My friend took my kids names and phone numbers and called our company for us because the Qualcomm wasn’t getting a signal.
    My Friend said “I will make some calls, just DO NOT get out of the Truck!, Guess what Bill did!
    He opened the door and tried to get out and almost blew away! The door flew open and almost broke off; he was hanging on by one arm but his body was blowing out like a movie!!
    He was yelling “I can’t hold on!” I am 100% serious folks!!
    I reached over and grabbed his forearm and pulled that dumb MOFO back inside!
    When I got him back in and we were able to get the door closed, we were both drenched. I sat in the driver’s seat and looked in my side view mirrors. I saw lights but they were weird.
    Not like headlights but like headlights, I couldn’t figure out what the heck it was and the sheets of water were making me unable to make it out.
    A UFO maybe, everything else had happened to me, I’d believe anything at this point. I had to wait, I still couldn’t attempt anything but sit with my seatbelt and hope what I believe was a tornado passed.
    After about 5 minutes the gusts died and the rain decreased enough that I could roll the window down and look.
    I was another 18-Wheeler, tipped over on its side just behind us.
    The driver inside was unable to get out. He had been trying to break the windshield but to no avail.
    His arm bloody, Bill and I helped break out the windshield and brought him into our Truck.
    He was Middle Eastern, his trailer was empty, and our carpet load clearly saved our butts.
    I called for emergency help but the area only had volunteer personnel and several cars and Trucks had been affected by what came through in that section of Highway.
    We must have stopped right in its path.
    The emergency personnel arrived in pickup trucks and personal vehicles told us they were prioritizing the injuries because the road was littered with them.
    We sat with our foreign guest; I gave him a bottle of water and a towel for his bloody arm. He was calling someone and talking in another Language. He said he was from Canada. Hmm…
    He was with us for about an hour, 3 people in a truck… Bill talked to his wife the whole time. The Guy talked to whoever the whole time in another language and I was trying to figure out why he wasn’t nicer that we helped him, Seems like he would at least chat a bit.
    The volunteer’s emergency personnel returned and an ambulance, he didn’t want to go but I told him he really needed to be checked because his elbow had lots of glass wounds.
    That Truck wasn’t going anywhere, it was on its side and we were somewhere between Sweetwater and Midland Texas getting that Truck upright would be no easy matter.

  20. Paula Ballard

    I think your writing is awesome and I would like to be your agent. You know I could still be a housewife and raise my kid, and I could also be your agent. What do ya think? How much does an agent make anyway? 60/40, Love Ya, Paula B.

  21. […] Show, Woman Truckers, otr trucking, trucking, trucking life For those who have followed “A Day In the Life of a Lady Trucker“, here is an update of Desiree’s recent adventures: Desiree is an OTR Driver who not […]

  22. Desiree

    In the midst of all this hub bub my brain Function was spurred by my native California who seems to be very out of touch with the manner Industry is conducted in their state .
    The California Air Resources Board” CARB lofty aspirations seem to unfairly target those with the LEAST & I was inspired . Please read: http://twitpwr.com/3yU/

    I have also been invited to write at http://www.insocialmedia.com where I discuss “Truckers on Twitter”

  23. Desiree

    During the month I spent teamed with Bill, we had been routed into our home terminal on several occasions seemingly to call me in to wrap up the HR incidents that had never been addressed.
    My patience had worn thin & it became clear to me by the look on the faces of those alleged middle managers when the VP walked in that they were hoping I would simply disappear.
    On the 3rd trip we made into the terminal I called the HR lady myself, who seemed surprised I was there.
    I asked her if we could wrap this up because I was tired of getting routed in for nothing.
    She said she was unaware I had been brought in prior to this time and she said she would “try” to see me on this occasion.
    I said “No, you will see me today because I will not leave until this thing is wrapped up!”
    I also asked her “Why have you never in 3 or 4 months since these incidents occurred ever called the Hotel Security Officer?”
    She stumbled about and I finally told her “Do it”, I also asked her if I should retain a Lawyer for our meeting.
    I was done being polite and patient. I had in fact been in touch with the Hotel Security Guard and had his cell phone number. I knew she had not made the slightest attempt to contact anyone at all to corroborate anything that had been done to me.
    Neither had anything been done to “Mag” who now had a dedicated solo route, protected and insulated by the inner cronies that protect predators like him.
    Her admission to me on the phone that she had not:
    1) Ever read my statement 2) made the simplest of phone calls to find out who in fact was falling down drunk. 3) Spent all this time trying to intimidate me when a succession of girls I knew were coming thru this Women’s Office & leaving in disgust.
    In this meeting, I permitted her to start with her normal brow-beating snide remarks to make it seem like I did something to bring this upon myself.
    It was at that time, I stopped playing good quiet employee, dumb Trucker and informed her and the 3 other supervisors in the room “I did not just fall off the Turnip Truck”.
    I let them know that I knew a thing or two about the law and that the over 88 emails, police reports, faxes, and statements that had changed hands in this company showed me that the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing in this company.
    She attempted to interrupt me at which time I told her I was tired of listening to her tell me something is wrong with me when she had done absolutely nothing to inquire about any wrongdoing but rather had permitted these guys to become trainers and be protected.
    I told her she had personally “FAILED” at her job and I held her personally responsible for the failure.
    At that point she began to close a file and say she didn’t think I needed to talk like that and she would end the meeting.
    I said “Are you really sure that is what you want to do?” because I’m totally fine with all of us going to court right now.
    I went on to recap everything because it was clear to me the other supervisors knew absolutely nothing because she only told them what she wanted to tell them.
    They had no idea of anything that had transpired NOTHING!
    At one point a supervisor said “Well if this stuff happened why didn’t you call the police?”
    I said “I did and I sent the police reports via fax and have a copy here, why don’t you know about it?”
    I proceeded to go on for about 40 minutes & make crystal clear I understood they had rewarded and protected these people & set out on a witch-hunt against me, and SORRY, I’m not going anywhere so
    best to get off my back!
    At one point, I said “I do my job, I have a good safety record, I have no accidents” and all three leaned up “Oh, no one is saying you are doing a bad job”, I thought, then why are we in here?
    What are you saying? That I should have just screwed them and made life a lot easier for all of us?
    The entire argument they were trying to justify was so stupid I still today cannot understand how any of these “Managers” still have their jobs.
    I have watched my company struggle in the stock market, with the tightened freight market and yet despite some good people I truly respect in this company, I see others in charges that are sinking the ship.”Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians” , a Corporate Structure that has completely failed from arrogance & ego leaving a lot of people wondering if anyone will wake up at the wheel and take control of the situation again.
    At the end of the meeting, the guy who asked me the most questions was gracious; he thanked me and shook my hand.
    It was a relief, it was done in a way but I still had my team phase to complete and Bill.
    Another result of that meeting was I made it clear I was being forced into a lot of very uncomfortable situations STILL, and even the HR Lady had to agree it was “weird’ to have to be living with an old man in a truck.
    That without mentioning his driving was …, well, it ‘Sucked”
    My patience had worn thin with Bill also by this time.
    He had several times resisted getting Truck repairs which later cost us time when we ended up at “Joe’s Mechanic Shop” for things we could have had done at our terminal.
    He tried to interfere with the repairs until I simply had to tell the Mechanic “Do Not Listen to Him, Fix it now the right way.”
    Bill was one of these guys who think it’s okay if you spray some Windex and crazy glue on something and it will be fine.
    As with the other “Men” I had been teamed with, when it was time for work, they disappeared. When it was time for opinions they had many.
    This occasion, we had 3 tires that blew on one 700-mile trip.
    As I hauled the Tire Carcasses on the Catwalk, Bill argued that he thought we only needed one, even though wires were hanging out of them.
    Then he wanted to argue because he didn’t see how I could use straps to fasten the tires down because they had the metal ends for inside the trailer.
    He told me I needed to listen to him more because I’d be better off.
    I used the solid metal frame to tie off the straps in a knot I knew for horse saddles & ignored him.
    Bill, was infuriated, he said, “I just can’t figure you out, why don’t you just do what I say?”
    I said “Because, you are a Moron!”
    Bill was pissed, he dropped a tire on my foot and it ripped into my toe ring, ripping it off and blood covered my foot I continued to strap the tires down while he hopped up & down mad as a hornet.
    I was threw with being Polly Polite, I have a time limit and time was up.
    Still, this Male Ego thing is more fragile than China, like Tony” & “Mag and the other Dude, Bill couldn’t let it go and move on.
    It was his turn to drive & when I woke up we were lost in pitch dark West Virginia, it was pouring down rain & there was lightening/thunder on top of that we were in a construction zone that was difficult to navigate. My phone had no service.
    Bill said “we are lost and we are going to be late for this load, you have to drive, I’m done”
    I got in the driver’s seat and started to drive. Bill sat in the passenger’s seat & started trying to argue with me our prior disagreement by continuing to explain why I’d be better off to listen to him. He continued to say that ‘…how was he to know if I would make accusations that he raped me and that was probably what happened with the other guys I was teamed with.”
    I pulled over and looked him straight in the eye and said “I am telling you this one time, it is raining, it is dark & we are lost, I guarantee you will be best to go in the sleeper and not say ONE EFFING WORD to me or you will deeply regret it because you are about to meet someone you really do not want to meet.”
    Bill, Huffed & Puffed, he went in the sleeper, came out again, looked at me, I looked at him, and Bill returned to the sleeper.
    Smart Guy, that Bill.
    As soon as I made it to the delivery point I used a pay phone to call my company and told them I wanted off the Truck. This is the pattern. When they don’t get their way their minds go crazy with all these scenarios.
    I had to get away from Bill, he was losing it. I suspected he was drinking also because his hands shook and I’d caught him with small bottles of fruit juice and he winced when he drank them.
    I couldn’t prove anything; I just knew his behavior was too odd for a sober person though.
    Our final trip was to Miami, when we arrived I got off the Truck and went home.
    I didn’t tell Bill why, he kept saying, “I don’t know why you are getting off the Truck Desiree, I think you are a great team partner, I just don’t understand.”
    He really didn’t either, he didn’t have a clue.
    By this time Valerie was done with training, she had put her student off the truck.
    She was on her home time, and I we planned to meet in Orlando to team up.

  24. Desiree

    I wanted to make a current update today about the progress of my story.

    Today I will be with Allen Smith on “Blog Talk Radio – Truth about Trucking”

    So many Topics have risen since I began writing this account of my 6 months of Teaming.

    Green Innovations & the other Topics I discuss on Twitter, I’ve been a little spread out writing on Social Media & Groups I’ve been asked to participate in to bridge communication between Truckers & Non-Truckers because this is how some of these unknown things can be revealed.

    I’m taking a week off to get caught up in all the projects I’ve been invited to contribute to & get involved in a few more that are Relevant to Effect Changes to help others.

    I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received & its motivated me to keep talking as more people contact me with their stories.

    These are problems that can be solved.

    I will also have time to get the 6 month Journey wrapped up with what I saw during the period I was on the FEMA loads & how relevant the Logistics of Trucking affects this sort of Emergency Management System.
    Cheers,
    Desiree

  25. Allen Smith

    You can catch the show this evening, 2-22-09 at 6 PM EST at :

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/TruthAboutTrucking/2009/02/22/TRUCKING-secrets-EXPOSED

  26. scott

    hi all i like to thank you for all the info as i found a cdl school that is at a voc school it 8 weeks long not one of the mill schools your info has helped me make the right choices having the internet has made my choices to pursue my choice to become a truck driver

  27. Allen Smith

    Hi Scott: I’m glad to hear it. Good Luck in your driving career! Allen

  28. Desiree

    Dear Scott:

    I’m glad your research & internet homework is helping guide you. I still reccommend Allen’s Book because navigating the Corporate Baloney helps you remain calmer.
    You will definately see the difference when you get around other students who know absolutely nothing about what they are about to encounter.
    For us that have found Allen & know how to use the internet to find information is really a small percentage of the Student Trucker who have no access to any of this information we share here.
    You will quickly see how rumors & paranoia fuel what is going on in this corrupt system.
    You have the advantage because Knowledge is Power.

  29. Desiree

    Something I still see going on since I began sharing this story is the element of making the YOU feel like YOU are GUILTY.
    You go to CDL School to become a Trucker, not DR. Phil.
    When you get recruited by a Big Trucking Company, You have certain expectations that you will be learning in a SAFE environment.
    If you are matched with a UNSAFE Trainer or Team Partner & you complain because you are afraid for YOUR LIFE, then targeted because you complained or you are perceived as a “Difficult Person”
    The other side of the coin is that you want to try extra hard to show you “Are a Team Player”, so you put up and tolerate behavior BECAUSE you know NOTHING about Trucking, so you put your Faith in your Company that THEY know what they are doing.
    All too often, I see Women who have remained SILENT.
    They are afraid to complain because they don’t want to be perceived as weak.
    When they finally do complain, they are blamed for the conduct they have endured. Often they have marred their own Driving Records because they have been silent about thing that they have been experiencing personally but also misconduct on the job.
    In a Team, you are both responsible & predatory people are acutely aware that the first step in making YOU understand you are their HOSTAGE is getting YOU involved in something that BOTH of you can get in trouble for.
    That is the reason Mag decided to make that detour to the Casino without my prior knowledge. He knew I was disoriented because of my past trauma.
    He knew our Company would do nothing to help me, so he thrived in this chaos & this is why others like him thrive.
    Tony knew also & when I saw him recently with a girl who had the same laundry bag he bought & gave to me thinking I would be his onboard Secretary/Maid, & being that I knew Tony from CDL School & the way he constantly degraded Women, I saw that Tony finally succeeded in snowing someone.
    Women who deal with Women who are entering Trucking need re-training.
    Knowing the Labor Laws & EEOC Guidelines is NOT enough.
    Especially, if your business is to send people of to live together who have prior criminal records & difficulty managing their lives in civilized society anyways.
    I became so disgusted with the blatant lies I was being told about how my “Incidents” were being “Investigated” I asked the HR Lady why she had not ever called the Casino.
    I asked her on multiple occasions thinking it would spur her to pick up the phone and act.
    I even told her I had called them.
    When we had our final meeting I told her again to call.
    She lied to me and said she did call and again she tried to place the blame on me.
    I asked her who she spoke to.
    She told me. “I don’t have to tell you” but she went on to try implying I was guilty.
    I told her she was lying.
    She said nothing.
    I know she was lying because I called & continue to call the Head of Security and inquire if anyone from My Company has EVER contacted him for a statement, recordings, Video surveillance, witnesses or reports.
    In fact, I have his cell phone and today I called again and he said NO, Never has anyone ever called him or contacted him to INVESTIGATE my statements.
    As my previous experience in the Hotel Industry & knowledge of Hotel Security, I know how things are detailed and documented because a great deal of drama occurs on Hotel properties.
    Records of events are crucial for liability reasons.
    The similarity of the Logistics program My Company uses to that of one I used working for the Disneyland Hotel indicates to me that this company is proficient in keeping notations on drivers but what about investigating what really goes on outside the building?
    Why run the interior like the KGB? The Interior does not bring home the bacon!
    The bacon comes from a cohesive logistics communications system.
    When a Co-Driver situation has exploded many times dispatchers continue to drag their feet to get the fighting team into a terminal.
    This has just happen last week with a Woman I met 6 months ago.
    She wanted to be polite, take the high road, and take the suggestions of “MS” who referred her “FRIENDS” to be team partners with her.
    Now, this Woman has a bad service record because she did not complain.
    But even if she had complained they would have labeled her as difficult and told her to return to “MS” for another team partner.
    “MS” is not interested in helping people; she should not be in a position to help people.
    Perhaps there are other things “MS” is very, very good at but it seems “MS” does not understand the magnitude of putting a 5ft2in agreeable Woman who is desperate for a New Career on a Truck with a Man who has a Hot Temper.
    HR Lady would say to me, “You have to prove it”
    I have tried everything to deliver this Woman proof and she simply does not want to be bothered.
    At a Safety Blitz a few months ago after someone inquired if I could become a Trainer.
    HR Lady first said yes, but a few days later said no.
    The she had the nerve to ride the shuttle to where she heard I was attending & sit down next to me to tell me in a rather condescending way that I would have to wait many months longer than anyone else because I made an HR Complaint!
    She went on to tell me how she’s not used to anyone writing a 38 page complaint.
    See, this lady is pretty high up in the HR Department folks.
    Anyone with a little Legal Savvy might tell you, someone who has their wits about them to sit down & hand write 38 pages, well this takes a lot of effort.
    There might be something in those 38 pages you should read.
    If you don’t want to read statements of complaints, then you should get another job where you don’t have to read complaints.
    And, if you keep getting the same complaints & brow beating the people making them is not working, MAYBE there is a problem you should REALLY investigate.
    Maybe lack of investigation is PART of the Problem, not LYING about Investigating.
    Investigating is not listening to a liar cover his lies and his liar friends helping him cover lies & then saying some harsh words to create doubt and guilt & hoping everyone will go back to work and be quiet.
    We are talking about VIOLENCE!
    We are talking about Women absolutely petrified to ask for help in their own COMPANY!
    I personally just had a major validation in my life because I had an “incident” many years ago, over 20 & I was treated in a similar way as my company treated me during this past year.
    Because of DNA a cold case was solved.
    Because of RETRAINING I was contacted by the State of Texas by the same Organization I previously had LOST FAITH in.
    I was apologized to, given information I can use to help me, made new friends and had my HOPE restored that persistence does pay.
    Organizations can Change when they STOP living in Denial.
    People going the extra mile to help others can heal old wounds.
    People who go the extra mile trying to place doubt and guilt on crime victims and employees so they do not have to do too much work need to be shown the light or shown the door.

  30. Mike Kirkeberg

    i noticed drugs and alcohol mentioned several times in the comments. I am a DOT Substance Abuse Professional in Minnesota. If there is ever a need, for a “SAP” in tthis area please feel free to drop me a line.

    Mike

  31. Desiree

    Mike: I most certainly will. Truckers have a notorious reputation & much of it is because the Industry Cultivates it.
    Nice people would like this job but , Nice people don’t “Play Ball” in a corrupt & morally bankrupt environment.
    There are many Good People in Trucking who leave while the Scum & Crime are continually cycled thru.
    Lobby Groups profess changing the image of Truckers & with their other face reward Big Trucking who permit this conduct to go unchecked.
    I’ve met Students doing online classes who drive, couples, there are plenty of good people who would find this lifestyle suitable like me.
    Recruting people who have serious Drug Trafficking & Prison Records & expecting to team them & conduct themselves like model citizens is a joke.
    These are street smart former felons.
    Denial by the Company feeds these Predators by giving them multiple opportunities to go unchecked, and they do. Thanks for Posting.
    Desiree

  32. […] via A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker | AskTheTrucker.com. […]

  33. […] 2)  A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker […]

  34. Karen

    Desiree, I have enjoyed reading what you have written and can believe every word of it because I went to work for the same company you did after I completed trucking school in December, 2003. I only wonder why you do not name that company so that other women will know to avoid them after trucking school? I wanted so badly to blackball them after I left!!! I greatly admire your tenacity through all of that!. I can say, that I am still happily driving, though I took a different approach to “sticking with it” than you did. I had to go through 6 different companies before I found my “home” and it was so worth it. I left the company you run for after 3 months to start my training elsewhere. I got the same treatment in 4 of the 6 companies. I won’t go into the details of what happened while I ran for them, because it would be redundant to yours. Some would say that I gave up by switching companies, but determination comes in many forms. Your persistence to make that company correct their wrongs to you is a patience level I don’t have. I truly appreciate and respect how you have handled it. My own philosophy was that I would become a truck driver with the right company. I made sure that each of those 4 companies knew (not that they cared) that I was not quitting driving, I was quitting them because I did not need their specific company to succeed and I would not drive for a company that purposely turned their backs on their drivers. This approach is not for everyone, but it worked for me. I can say that there are 2 incredible trucking companies for women out of school to start their career with. They will be treated with upmost respect. One starts you out solo straight from school and kind of holds your hand the first 2 months via qualcomm and telephone. The other has a strict trainer policy and no one is ever allowed to drive team with the opposite sex unless they are related or in a marriage relationship with them. I found that company in May of 2005 and it was the end of my search. I could give a glowing report of all the good about this company, but it would take up too much space. Since 2005, I have had 2 complaints and both were handled very effectively within 2 hours. We also have an “open door” policy, but I’m happy to say, that I have not had one single occasion to use it! The first year and a half of my trucking career was a nightmare of great proportions because I was determined to drive and just as determined that it would be with a company that held to the policy that everyone from dispatcher to driver be treated with the same respect. One of the trailers we pull has an arrow pointing to the cab and it says, “There’s a reason this driver won’t change jobs with you.” Having been through several trucking companies, I can say, “Never were truer words spoken”!! So, for all you women out there who want to drive, however you take that proverbial “bull by the horns” to get it done, it is worth it in the end! And Desiree, maybe I’ll have the pleasure of meeting you one day out on the highways and biways. In the meantime, keep on truckin’.

    • purplemama

      Karen, you questioned why Dez didn’t name the company to warn women. why DIDN’T YOU name the companIES that you’re encouraging?!

  35. Allen Smith

    Karen, Thank you for your comment. Would you mind telling everyone who these wonderful companies are that you would recommend to other women? ( sound like good companies in general)

    Thanks,
    Donna

  36. Desiree

    Hi Karen:
    I am glad you wrote because anyone who has worked in this Company will quickly realize which one it is.
    Due to the timing of the economic downward spiral at the very same time I was crossing my 6 month mark, it was not a good decision to switch companies.
    I saw lots of people jump ship & then unable to get hired elsewhere because of the hiring freezes that went into effect seemingly overnight.
    I’m torn on naming names because the “Illiquid” status of the companies stock.
    There are a great many more good individuals who would suffer if this company who flaunts their Christian Values suffered another major lawsuit.
    I continue to Pray for them to INVESTIGATE, the small number of Power Intoxicated Dispatchers,Middle Managers & “MS” who are very nearly about to get National Headlines & cripple this Company.
    I say that with confidence because there are things going on behind the scences & I’m waiting to see if they will finally understand the clock is ticking & I am more determined than ever knowing they continue to recruit single females & place them in violent situations.

  37. Karen

    Hi Donna and Desiree,

    Donna, the first company is Watkins and Shepard. I went there after being so frustrated with the other companies. The main reason I went was because of their solo policy. A couple of things to consider with them. While they do hire straight out of school and put you solo in your own truck, you must first complete 14 days of orientation with them. The reason the orientation is so long is that they go over EVERYTHING!! They also expect you to take their trucks and practice backing into the docks they have there so you will be comfortable with that when you go on your first run. (This helped me considerably, because up til then I didn’t have much practice backing. In fact, one of my trainers never let me back because he swore I couldn’t do it. If only he could see me now!!) They put you up in their “dorms” and provide food, but you will not be paid much for those first two weeks. My first run was to San Francisco, which we all know is not a truck friendly city. But, I was comfortable calling them and asking questions and their directions were spot on.
    The other thing to consider is that alot of their freight is driver assist at unload time. Many drivers don’t like that aspect, but to me it was a blessing. I would rather help unload than deal with what I went through with my trainers. They are based in Missoula, Montana, but have terminals as far as Georgia and do hire out of their other terminals.
    The other one is Crete Carrier Corporation. (dry van division) They have a reefer division. ( Schaffer) And a flatbed division. (Hunt) They are a privately owned company with none of the drama of stock owned companies. They are based out of Lincoln, Nebraska, but also have terminals in most other states. When freight is good, drivers are given a choice of 3 loads to choose from. The terminals are clean, the trucks well maintained, and the people very friendly. The dispatchers are hired out of school, because Mr. Acklie (owner) wanted to teach them first hand. Dispatchers are NEVER allowed to ask a driver to drive illegal or bump their hours. Drivers are NEVER allowed to yell or swear at dispatchers. It makes for a very comfortable, easy-going relationship between dispatcher and driver. Every driver has a terminal manager. (your immediate boss out of the terminal where you were hired.) If you have any problems you call him/her and they take care of it from there. My terminal manager is the most incredible person I have ever met. She has her finger on the pulse of every one of her drivers. I would not want her job, but she is awesome at it. The only problem I ever encountered is if you live in the Northeast, they cannot get you home every 2-3 weeks. I never worried about that because I personally like to run for 6-7 weeks before going home. Other than that, I can’t think of a bad thing to say about them.
    Desiree, I understand the position you were in with the economic times and not wanting to risk not having a job. Bless you for sticking to it trying to fight the system in place that puts women in dangerous positions with their trainers. I pray that all you’ve done and continue to do with pay off with great rewards for you and the women who come into trucking.

  38. Desiree

    Thanks for sharing that information. I have heard Crete is good. I had not heard of the other company before. I know very few companies are taking Students right now so it’s good to know before you get yourself into a mess.
    I recently spoke to a Woman who has incredible desire but has a 6 year old Misdemeanor and cannot get accepted anywhere to train.

    This is different from how it was just a year ago when anything with a pulse could be strapped into a seat.

    I’d like to pinpoint what school are still recruiting and what their currents students are saying.

    I’m deeply concerned about the growing number of displaced workers being sold the “Dream” of a trucking career when there is little freight.

    Also, we have many returning veterans, Many Woman this time who have had a taste of independence and may not see an office gig is going to cut it for them now.

    I want them to have success if this is the avenue they choose.

    The dangerous system with trainers and teaming with a total disregard for safety is unacceptable.

  39. Desiree

    I’m getting closer to the end of my Student Trucker Story.
    I was ecstatic I was going to be able to team with Valerie. I knew she was a hard worker & because she used to be a Trainer, I knew she was a good driver. I expected she would have some “back seat driver” tendencies.
    Valerie was extremely quick-witted; she made me laugh for the first time in months.
    Valerie and I had Ace for our dispatcher. I did not want anyone else because I trusted no one, not even Ace really but I know when push came to shove, well, let’s just say “The Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t know” and I told him so, he said “Thanks a lot!”, but it was true.
    The Freight had begun to slow considerably but the miles I got with Valerie were significantly more than I got with Bill. We were getting pay cuts, things were getting tight. I was still watching the stock market closely. I watched the internal changes as well. I didn’t mind the pay cut because I was still making more than I was when I was with Bill. Valerie was irate; she had been a driver for years & was truly not making what she should be with her experience.
    Now that the sham “Investigation” was concluded there was an air of difference in how I was treated but there were lingering questions from other drivers.
    TJ had stopped me to tell me that Mag had almost been fired but he played a recording for HR, or at least he told her he did. She said Mag was telling everyone the recording of me implied some wrongdoing. TJ said Mag had “worked the crowd” including their dispatcher to come to his aid. She said her dispatcher actually walked up and said to both of them that “He” saved Mag’s job. TJ said she thought it was odd that Mag never mentioned any recordings when the dispatcher’s were around, only to other drivers.
    I had made several recordings of Lily’s insane outbursts but no one permitted me to play them, no one read my statements so I hardly thought anyone would listen to a phone message in which I explained I was sharing a room with someone when I could not get our company to put money on my card to pay for one. TJ said Mag was implying more.
    Within days, TJ got a taste of the real Mag that she had covered. He had begun telling stories about her which quickly circulated.
    I see this often, Girl’s don’t trust girls because a guy deliberately drives a wedge of distrust between them. In the end they both end up the recipient of the same deceit & wasted time that they could have joined forces.
    TJ’s driving did not improve, she had lots of “incidents” & co-drivers who wanted off her truck, but no one wanted to say why. This happens a lot also. No one wants to say anything, so everyone is covering for all these “things” that occur. Soon, everyone is liable for not telling about something and it’s being held over your head.
    This is how driver’s slip through the cracks going undetected for so long who cannot drive or read or write or have ongoing issues with “drugs & alcohol”. I can’t save the whole world but I don’t feel I should have to be subjected to team with someone who cannot drive, is high or is violent.
    That is really the story you hear over & over again with these teams. The thing is, Teaming is a useful tool to learn if it is done more effectively.
    As my time with Valerie began, I met 2 other Women, 1 was a student who was off to a rocky start because they guy she intended to team with quit before he started.
    Valerie didn’t much care for Women at all.
    She liked me because we both had a good sense of humor. She admitted she didn’t like me at first because of how I look. Most people don’t, I’m accustomed to it. For all her hard, brash exterior, Valerie had a huge heart with an even bigger chip on her shoulder. She was also very impatient.
    With the freight slowing she would get angry, sometimes she, like Mag would tell me that we weren’t getting miles because of me. I felt bad but I thought we were doing fine; it was more miles than I’d had for awhile.
    When we were under a load she was happy, telling jokes. When we were 2 minutes done from dropping a load, she became agitated and angry. She would call relentlessly and tell people to get us rolling I didn’t care, I wasn’t being tormented anymore. I was fine.
    Valerie & I walked together, shopped together, and laughed told funny stories. She told me so horrific ones also about her childhood in Mississippi. She told me fun stories of how much she loved it there also and her little home she bought. She was extremely close to her Mother and really didn’t want to be “OTR” any longer.
    Sometimes when I was driving & she was in the sleeper, she would text me to say she loved me. I was so glad to have her for a friend. Valerie said to me, in the nicest way, sort of, “I know why people have done these things to you, it because they think you’re stupid, but you’re really not.”
    She sort of became like my greatest cheerleader, calling people at our company & saying “There is nothing wrong with this girl, she is a great driver!” Valerie introduced to Women in our company I had never heard of.
    In big companies like mine, there is such a wall of silence, no one wants to be known or recognized. When you call, no one answers, or if they do they are very short with you & tell you not to call again but use the Qualcomm. In an Emergency, which I was in several times, I was not able to use a Qualcomm.
    Trying to reach anyone through the extensions you are given is nearly impossible. Unless, you know the magic names & extensions, then it is an entirely different world. Valerie knew the magic names & extensions.
    People treated her like a human being; I had not seen that before. She had the magic password, extension numbers of people who care and do their jobs.
    While Valerie took to task of introducing me to good people in the company behind “The Wall”, I made every effort to get her to “Chill Out” on some of the other incoming Women, because perhaps they were lost & need a friend like I did.
    This is when I learned that many Women come to trucking only to meet Men & this has given Student Women Truckers a bad name. I didn’t know that Women who come to Trucking Schools are “Guilty until Proven Innocent.”
    I told Valerie I thought that was a wrong attitude because she could actually be more helpful, not so mean. Maybe other Women were struggling in silence and really wanted to learn this job and had no one to turn to.
    Valerie said from a trainer’s standpoint, Women are the worst to train. They don’t listen and they think they know everything. I didn’t know about all that because I was eager to listen and learn and my trainer was Valerie’s friend who had no intent on letting me succeed.
    I had also not seen many other Women, here and there but it’s hard to run into some one because we were all scattered. There was no way to connect to any of them. I knew throughout our terminals, Women were getting off trucks left and right. The safety department had a revolving door where they would get off a truck & be told to call “MS”.
    I told Valerie maybe she should not snarl at everyone but just be more approachable so if a Woman in need had a question, she could at least give an answer to help them, these Women were lost in this messy system and “MS” was no friend to anyone, well almost anyone.
    This was not easy for Valerie; she was very sweet but automatically disliked anyone at first glance. Still she made the effort when sitting around our terminals to try and be friendlier to Woman. It was only a protection device on her part. She had the signs of a control freak, but Valerie tried and she started to listen.

  40. […] a Lady Trucker” are only a fraction of how poorly these individuals are regarded in this Country. http://miketestsite.info/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-lady-trucker/ Telling my story to Truckers is like “Preaching to the Choir”, the task at hand is to tell […]

  41. Desiree

    Here is some exciting news, so much “hub-bub” has been created from this story, and people are taking action.
    I have had “threats” from a minor few.
    More importantly though I’ve garnered so much support that many people who are “Non-Trucking” citizens have become concerned that displaced workers may be getting taken advantage of in a time when our country has a lot of people desperate for jobs.
    Many people email me who are not discouraged from trucking but rather to thank me & who are grateful to Allen & Donna Smith who have provided me a space to share this true story for you to use to guide you.
    I highly recommend Allen’s Book “Truth about Trucking” http://www.truthabouttrucking.com
    To further assist you in understanding how this industry can trip you up if you are not aware.
    You can be successful if you understand better that Students are an Industry in themselves.
    ….. Continuing with Valerie, she liked interacting with other drivers, she was very social, but hesitant with Women.
    She liked to come to the terminal, I didn’t after what I had been through I felt the hair stand up on my neck every time we came through the gates.
    As I met more of Valerie’s “in-house” friends and saw that there were so many conscientious people working behind the scenes, my perception began to change.
    Valerie’s perception of all the New Women began to change also.
    Some of the new female students we talked to we helped to network with each other, skipping over “MS”, we exchanged phone numbers & talked with many Women.
    All very different personalities, but with something in common, they wanted very bad to be successful at getting through their team phase and were being sabotaged by being isolated from suitable choices to team.
    It was by no means a perfect system, sometimes we took great pains to introduce two women but when it came time for them to team up, one would bail out because she met a guy in the hallway who talked her into “trusting” him.
    I knew they would be back; we all have to find out for ourselves. That is a human nature; all you can do is provide information and resources. It’s up to each individual to use the tools. Valerie took it personally though. She felt if she had taken the time to be nice and helpful & the women later changed her mind, she should be “Shut Out”. I say “I knew they would be back” BUT it is important for me to point out that it is UNESSESARY to SAY that or degrade someone because of it.
    Everyone wants to be loved; everyone finds themselves in situations in life where they trusted someone at first only to be misled. That is enough humiliation; it is unnecessary to belittle someone from their human errors. Unless it’s at the DMV, (I’m kidding)
    I felt like a better method was just, “keep the door open”, when they are ready, they will walk through. There were lots of things I thought I knew everything about when I started this experience, which I thought I could handle, alone.
    I saw my success slipping away & I was like a drowning person. I would have grabbed an alligator to stay alive, and I did.
    Valerie had the opinion that if she was going to be nice to you once, you need to comply with all her demands. She was over mothering and it was difficult to get her to understand that being helpful & controlling drives people away. She wanted to micro-manage all aspects about them. She was well loved and meant well, she just went overboard.
    I continued to help a few women who came for help who had earlier changed their minds.
    Some of them got themselves into some messy situations.
    One girl had spoken to a guy for months and was thoroughly convinced he was a professional but once on the truck for just a few days he told her “You will do what I say or I will ruin your reputation” he told her that his dispatcher & he had a good relationship and would never believe anything she said so she would submit to him.
    He demanded she take her time off at his home. When she refused and asked for a greyhound ticket back to our main terminal, the dispatcher told her he would not buy her one.
    She called me, I called “Ace” I said Please get her to an extension of someone that can help her off this truck. Ace asked me why I was helping people, I said because it is the right thing to do, I said sometimes you do things just because, no reward.
    Ace told me to give her his extension, he connected her to someone else and she was able to get off the truck.
    She was afraid to report that driver or that dispatcher. They both have a lot of seniority over her.
    She did not want to go to “MS” because she knew she would be set up with one of “MS” “friends.
    This particular girl is quite attractive; she would be thrown to the wolves because of the system that is in place.
    She showed the true desire to do this job and learn. I knew her trainer, he was deeply concerned what would happen to her also, but there was nothing he could do either.
    Fortunately, by reaching out to a secret network we had formed we got her into a situation that she managed to get thru the bulk of her team phase of training under the radar from “MS”.
    She still experienced things she took a lot of time to openly share. She kept a lot of things to herself because she was afraid to talk.
    Later, she met someone on a personal level and teamed with him. Even though this was meant to be more than a team situation, he changed when he got on the truck.
    He had “another life” he did not reveal to her.
    She was tricked emotionally by someone who she developed a “relationship” with. It has been hard for her to talk about these things.
    With the state of the economy, she does not have enough experience to go anywhere else. She is facing having to go to reteam. The guy has become a total jerk that has left her several times but she won’t report him.
    She calls me to talk; she is a good driver, a hard worker and conscientious human being. Perhaps one of the nicest prettiest gals I have met out here.
    I am hoping she can get her Haz Mat endorsement and get into the dedicated division where I am. I am safe now. I suggested another Woman who has done great in this division. She is a die-hard driver. I have to tell her “slow down”, chill.
    She calls now and says, I’m talking a walk, and I’m learning to chill out.
    See, the personalities are complex. But at least having someone to trust to talk to, you can work things out.
    We do our jobs, we love our jobs, and we are just being put in situations that make it impossible to complete our jobs.
    You have few choices, stay quiet until you self-destruct or get off immediately, or comply with the demands that increase as time goes on.
    Every time you get off a truck it goes on your record and show you are difficult. That is wrong! I came here to drive!
    With dispatchers automatically siding with their “buddies” and no proper communication for these women to qualified help we hit a wall.
    It is the wall of silence.
    That’s’ all for today. ?

  42. Allen Smith

    Hey Desiree: thanks for the posts and keeping us up to date on what is going on. I have recently seen some comments out on the web from other drivers who are “upset” over some of your posts, but what I have discovered is that it is largely due to jealousy. You have been driving for about 1.5 years and have taken up the reigns for sharing some of the “hidden” truths about the trucking industry. Apparently, this has gotten some of the veterans riled up. Through their own admissions, they have said that they have known about these scams and situations for all of their 20, 30 years of driving, but have “never done anything about it.” Now, a still fairly “new” driver, and a women at that! – is doing something about it and I guess they can’t handle that! LOL – Last time I looked, we still had Freedom of Speech in this country . . . nothing in Trucking will ever change for the better unless someone lets the students and newcomers hear the truth about some of the practices displayed within the trucking industry. Keep up the good work – you are not to blame for telling the truth when so many of the veterans have known about them, but had chosen to remain quite. —— Allen Smith

  43. Jill Guidry

    Hey Desiree,
    Love readin ur adventures and talkin to u on twitter, keep bloggin and stay safe out there. Love from Jill
    (coonassdotcom)

  44. Desiree

    Hey Jill:

    Thanks for reading my student trucker story & following my daily adventures on Twitter.
    There has been confusion for a minority of people who have permitted themselves to get obsessed with me rather than seeing my mission in writing this story is to help potential students understand the enormous difficulties this industry has created which hinder the learning process.
    It affects not only students but trainers, safety administrators , log deapartments who are flabberghasted when the message they are trying to communicate keeps getting lost.
    Here is a perspective of someone who has been seeing the Student Trucker Drama from a different angle. http://smartunion.wordpress.com/

  45. […] have been writing my Student Trucker Story on “Ask the Trucker” since October […]

  46. Desiree

    I’m happy to report my friend I spoke of in my previous post has just made it safely into my division and is now driving solo. She has a hard enough time working a job that requires her to be away from her kids. Making her training safe and permitting her to move onto the next level should not require a covert operation like I have been conducting since I met her but that seems to be the only way under the current industry method of training women truckers.
    I got some upsetting news also that another student female was attacked by her co-driver. I am trying to get more information on it but it is being “hushed up”.
    This makes me incredibly angry when I see how actively women are being recruited into this industry because they are tax credits. Walking dollar signs and led astray many times by their own kind, other women!

    Valerie was becoming increasingly agitated by her finances, the slow freight, missing home and she had no intention of driving in winter. She made it clear she wanted to pay a few bills, buy a washer & dryer and then she planned to quit.

    With freight slow as it was she may not realize those goals before winter came and it ate at her. Every load Ace sent us she was angry, calling and telling him “this is crap, I need miles” or “I will never get another load out of this town, what are you doing?” always she was unsatisfied.
    Every day she was trying to formulate a plan to make more money because she had so many bills to pay. She wanted us to get our Hazardous Materials Endorsements so we could go into the “reefer” division because they were getting more miles; I said “fine, okay” then she changed her mind.
    Then she thought we should both be trainers and she felt I should go into the trainer’s program I said “fine, okay” we even spoke to the safety department about it but it was the HR lady who advised them that no, I could not seeing how I complained.

    Valerie though was still impatient, it didn’t matter what she decided today, she would change her mind tomorrow and then be unhappy with the decision she made, if she made any at all.
    When we were in-between loads Valerie liked to put all her makeup on and go socialize in the truck stops. I just stayed in the truck and read books or walked to Starbucks.
    She enjoyed provoking arguments on the CB, I didn’t care about that drama but Valerie liked the attention even if it they were calling her names.
    Valerie needed constant attention and reassurance, if I was asleep she was on the phone or CB or spending time visiting someone. To me, this is not conducive to the life of a truck driver. It was obviously eating at her, the loneliness.

    One morning I woke up and we were in her hometown in Mississippi, we visited her parents and she took the Hazardous Materials exam. She had failed it three times but I had found a free test online and with a quick study of it, she passed. She also applied for another job and brought me to the interview to talk to her prospective new employer which made me feel like a monkey on display. The man spent more time trying to chat me up than talk to her about the job and she actually spent more time talking to the mechanic who was her personal friend than trying to get the job.
    It was a very unscheduled visit but seeing how we were trying to get our HazMat endorsements, Ace let us take the time.

    As with everything Valerie did though there was impatience. As soon as she knew she passed she began calling the DMV EVERY DAY, “is my background check done?” Calling the company “I got my Hazmat get us more miles!”
    That was the selling point, our company said we would get priority miles if we go hazmat
    and we would get paid an extra .03 cents per mile. Plus, we would need it to become a “reefer” team which would mean we would abandon Ace and use him to get our hazmat but then switch fleets when we got it.

    Ace had a board of consisting mostly student teams
    which is sort of like the blind leading the blind. He really needed and encouraged us to get our hazmat because he needed a good team that could run as hard as we did who had the endorsement. Valerie was making side deals though; I was just along for the ride. I was game for anything, I just wanted to work.
    The background check takes 30 days through the “Transportation Security Administration”; everyone knows this but Valerie still called daily, “Is it in”, and “Is it in?”

    Then she started telling Ace “You need to get us a load to Florida so Desiree can take her test”, she was getting more and more agitated and seemed to be preoccupied on whether I was studying.
    She started slamming the doors and yelling at Ace on the phone. Asking me all the time if I studied and why I wasn’t studying with her. She wanted me to bring her the questions and let her read them to me so I could answer them for her approval. It was pissing me off because I am this is not how I learn.

    I was studying in private
    and I had already learned the entire test read the book and was ready for the test but Valerie felt I was not studying because she was not privy to it.
    One day I stopped for a walk when we were ahead of schedule on a load. By the Way, Little America in Flagstaff Arizona has a beautiful circle trail just behind the truck parking area that takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
    Valerie was sound asleep but when I returned and began to start driving again she woke up. She thought it was unacceptable for me to do anything but study for the test if I was not driving. She threw a tantrum and started screaming “I’m tired of this shit!” “You need to study!” I screamed back and told her “I am not 5 years old, I have already studied and I am ready for the test but we are in Arizona not Florida!”

    I told her I learn better in silence not from someone needling me like I am in kindergarten, Valerie got her feelings hurt. She thought I was saying she was dumb. UGH!
    There is so much of this immaturity in these team experiences because people want so bad to have control over someone else and feel superior instead of taking stock of their own lives.
    We finally made it east and as usual Valerie had another change of plans, she wanted to take home time even though we had agreed to stay out 3 months straight.

    This was right at my six months, I MADE IT and even though I was a little short on my 80,000 miles to collect my bonus I contended it was their slow freight and time wasted on reteaming, riding the greyhound across the country and being stranded by them that made the difference in making those miles in the allotted time.

    I got my $2500.00 bonus but after taxes it was more like $1700.00, BUT I DID IT!

    As with everything Valerie, her home time plans changed daily, she was, she wasn’t, was I coming? why not? Every time I went to sleep and woke up the next morning everything was different than the plans made the day before.

    On my birthday last August 2008 I woke up in a Mississippi Truck Plaza and Valerie was packing up some things and said I decided to go home early, you finish delivering this load.
    Valerie had written on the Qualcomm that she was having problems with her leg and was afraid she was going to have a stroke. She needed to see the doctor and the stress she had in her life was not helping.

    So there I was, alone for the first time.
    I had my six months so I could drive solo by company policy rules. I delivered the load and I was assigned another, and another. It was a weekend so it was kind of weird. We usually sit on weekends but I was getting more miles alone than I got in the final week with Valerie.

    She was even mad when she heard that I had gotten miles. I thought for sure they would have me sitting.
    When Ace came in after the weekend I told him I’d like to get my Hazmat while she was on home time so she would stop bitching but I did not want to take the truck to Florida because I would never get a load out of there.

    This was also the week that Hurricane Gustav was making landfall. I lived in Key West 11 years and also in Hawaii during Hurricane Iniki. I had volunteered to answer phones for the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina and was deeply moved by the Louisiana Victims who waited days and days to through on the phone lines to speak to the outside world.
    Ace routed the truck into our home terminal and I told him I would ride the greyhound to South Florida and back, get my Hazmat and return before Valerie was back from her home time.
    The day I left on this journey Tennessee had already been flooded with evacuees from gulf areas. It was still unclear if Gustav would make a direct hit to the Florida Keys or go up into the Gulf States.
    I was glad Valerie was home; she would have been freaking out knowing that her parents were alone and she could not get to them. I proceeded with one small weekend bag to my next adventure with greyhound.

    The ride from Tennessee
    to Atlanta went off without a hitch. I figured my only problem would be returning if Gustav hit Florida while I was there, it might cause a delay for me to get out of the state and return on the day I scheduled.
    In any case, Valerie was home and she would just have to wait because if it hit where I was or it affected where she was, there was nothing either of us could do to change it. If she threw a screaming tantrum it would not change one thing about Mother Nature’s intent.
    The highways were full of military vehicles; Power Company trucks from every state and emergency personnel all heading south. Volunteer units in caravans from a multitude of agencies preparing to set up command centers at the border areas of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.
    Contra flow had already begun in some areas so passenger cars were only permitted to drive north while this tidal wave of emergency vehicles was driving south. Until landfall though there were people clogged around these states waiting in limbo.

    When my bus arrived in Atlanta
    I suddenly realized what a poor idea I had to try to accommodate Valerie by taking a greyhound to Florida during a Hurricane evacuation.
    The east to west highways I-10 and I-20 had been shut down to all traffic so anyone who had a bus ticket was stranded AND could not exchange them for any north south route because those schedules were already booked.
    Folks, need anyone require anymore visual than this. Greyhound, Atlanta, summer, Stranded, Hurricane Evacuation. I think you get the picture.
    Thanks God my ticket was going south! To Florida and that bus was darn near empty! Of course, Greyhound was so booked for other routes trying to get people moved that they had to rent extra motor coaches from “Frank’s Rent a Coach during a Hurricane Factory Outlet Fire Sale” so I go the one that formerly had chickens running down the aisles and was never sanitized. It leaked ice cold condensation on my head the entire way to Florida but I want not stranded in Atlanta.
    I switched buses again in Orlando and then took a city bus from Ft. Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach.
    My girlfriend couldn’t understand why I didn’t want her to come pick me up but I just wanted felt I may as well challenge myself to the entire bus riding public transportation experience.
    Oh it was so nice to see the palm trees again, riding up federal highway the sun was shining. All sorts of people riding the city bus doing their daily business.

    I listened in as the other passengers would chat up the bus driver, it was pretty cool.
    On one stop, the driver waited a long time. I looked out the window to see what the delay was.
    It was an elderly lady in a manual wheel chair trying to make it the last block to make the bus, he was waiting on her. Only one of her hands could push the wheel to move it forward.
    When she made it on the bus, the driver asked her where she was going today. She said she had to go across town to a specific pharmacy to get her prescriptions.
    That woman’s entire day was probably consumed by this single task to get her medicine. I am so glad I rode the bus that day and saw her. It made me very grateful for all I have.
    My girlfriend later was telling some friends I had ridden the bus and this one ex-husband of her friend who just became a truck driver barged into the conversation and said “I don’t ride the bus!” my girlfriend said to him “Well, that’s the difference between Desiree and you, She does what it takes!” Nah! So there!
    It was good to see my friends again. I passed my Hazmat test the man at the DMV who took my finger prints was a former Truck Driver and he said why are you getting this?
    I said “Well, I will get more miles and get paid more if I do.”
    He said, “I saw a man killed once because a piece of metal cut open the packages when he opened the trailer doors and poured all over him”. He said I never pulled another hazmat Load after that, it’s not worth it.
    The chemicals he told me about were two chemicals I used to put in my pool and often drove with them in my vehicle. I had no idea that the combination of the two was that dangerous if mixed outside the pool. I had just aced my hazmat test also and I never saw any mention of those chemicals.
    He had been a trucker for 20 years and he said the training and equipment is generally so poor. The shippers package it up in a way that you can never really examine what they have done and you get left holding the bag if something happens, or you can kill yourself.
    He told me to be careful and I told him I would and I thanked him for the story.

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