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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Truck Drivin' Journal

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/20/2024
Page Views: 17263
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Alternate Roads

How I Came To Drive A Truck


As you may know, many of my computer training clients were headquartered in the World Trade Center, or had important offices there. Many more were New York based. All were affected by the events of 9/11/2001.

While the economy had been suffering before then (and, of course, now we know why), 9/11 destroyed, permanently, my career as corporate trainer. Companies that hire trainers have been staggering; the business I received—two one-week classes since last September, and a small amount of odd jobs—were not enough to pay the rent and utilities. Hundreds of resumes sent to likely companies didn't do the trick. I was unable to rate even a reply from most. Follow-ups on my part revealed that the companies were accepting resumes "just in case" but were, in fact, not hiring.

So, months late, perhaps, I decided to do the sensible thing and consider a career change.

When I was employed as a corporate trainer, I flew to strange cities—sometimes in foreign countries—,usually rented a car and had to find my hotel and the location of the training facility, usually in the dark, tired from my flight, and without benefit of a GPS system (not yet available to drivers). This was actually pretty stressful. And, as I was driving to the hotel, I would sometimes pass big rigs and look up at the drivers and think, "Now, there's a stress-free job!"

So I got on the Internet, found a trucking company that provided free training in exchange for a one-year committment, grit my teeth, and decided to become a trucker.

This is the true story of how that year went.

Training Days

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2076
Last week I couldn't spell 'trucker'. Now I are one.

On Monday, July 22, I began eleven days of truck drivin' training for Schneider National in Fontana, CA, after which I received two weeks' on-the-road training. Assuming I could pass my truck drivin' test (I'd already taken and passed the written tests), I would then be on the road as a long-haul truck driver.

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An Innocent Abroad

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 2223
Life on the road is a unique experience, which, like revenge, is a dish best served cold.

And, just like that…I was a truck driver.

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Roads More Traveled

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 584
As my experience with trucking expanded, so did my disillusionment.

So, in theory, I was now a seasoned trucker. Certainly there wasn't much I hadn't seen, included the promised miles per month, or an improved truck, or enough money to actually live on. But I was committed to keeping my promise to drive for them for rest of my year, and I intended to keep my promise even if Schneider seemed reluctant to keep theirs.

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Travels With Lloyd

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 340
My first passenger was a challenged, and challenging, young man…who taught me a lot.

After I had worked for Schneider for six months, I was allowed to bring a passenger. Of course, I was hoping that would be Michael. However, Michael had gotten a job and wasn't eligible yet for vacation; so my first passenger was a friend of ours named Lloyd.

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Hunger Games

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 587
As my experience with trucking expanded, so did my disillusionment.

As I started the new year, my experience as a trucker had certainly increased. Yet, most of the experience wasn't driving, which I did well; it was trying to wrestle with Schneider's very poor management of things like directions, loads, repairs… and my increased experience with that suggested it wasn't going to get any better.

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The Road to Workman's Comp

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 329
And then, to add insult to injury, I had an injury added to the insult.

At this point in my truckin' career I was discovering, not only that I wasn't making the hours (and therefore the pay) I had been promised, but that trucking isn't just about driving long hours, hauling heavy loads, and dealing with traffic and weather. It's also about taking care of one's health, which can be a challenge when one is on the road.

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The End of the Road

By: Paul S. Cilwa Page Views: 318

My final months as a trucker were among the most difficult in my life. I loved being on the road, seeing new places, and meeting new people, but I couldn't afford to keep doing it. I also really missed being home with my family. I never got enough miles to actually pay my bills and support them. I also felt like Schneider didn't care about me or my career, considering they broke every promise they'd made me (and denied having made them, despite my contemporaneous notes). They also gave me fewer miles, less pay, and less respect. They clearly wanted me to quit, so they could get more training subsidies from the government.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Updated: 9/12/2017
Page Views: 4479
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
A collection of links to Truck Drivin' and Road Safety sites.

Here are links to other sites that truckers, trucker-wannabes, and gay truckers might find of interest.

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