I have been asked what makes me an expert. My reply was “expert is short word with lots of implied power”. I do not consider myself an expert, in anything. I have a willingness to learn and a drive to teach what I learn as I learn it. It isn’t anything more than a respect for me and the feeling that I am responsible for passing on information rather than be a library holding it on shelves. I feel that is what we are here for.
By keeping those two factors and adding a third we live a better life without ever changing what we do every day, without costing ourselves anything. The third factor is attitude. Most of what we feel is attitude. Changing the way we feel or look at a situation changes our self-imposed place in the universe. Are we here serving a purpose or just eking along as a cog in the wheel. Doing time.
A simple example: You are at a shipper or receiver heading along the docks looking for your door. As you arrive at your door take a second to think. How long does it take to open your door? One minute, two or three? If you stop out of the way other drivers can go by you. Now you ask “what does this matter?” Are you a cog or do you matter? Is what I ask. While you open your door two or three trucks roll by, the “better you” can say: “I helped those drivers and it did not cost me anything”. You made an improvement in the general world by doing nothing.
Respect. Responsibility. Attitude. Keeping the first two high on your list and changing the last improve everyone’s day, but most importantly it makes you a better you.
I know you’ve heard it said by many who complain on a regular basis that truckers are “disposable“. In other words, in some cases and at some companies, there’s a list of new recruits just waiting for your job. I believe this has become the case. Sadly most companies think we are easily replaced. They have adopted the attitude that this is no longer a “skilled job” and any “monkey” can move a truck. The company exec’s come in and drive around the parking lot and that is all that is needed to handle it out in the real world. They say “this truck drives like an RV”. They forget all the nuances it takes to keep this truck out of trouble.
I have talked to new drivers from many companies. A good portion of them have no clue. From the basics like how to read a map, knowing what the color of signs mean to knowing what interstate assigned numbers were originally for. Forget the life threatening stuff, like how to merge and who has the right of way in any given situation. Then go another level to the courtesies which we learned and used to help a truck in an “uncontrolled” situation, like a parking lot or passing on hills. There is something for going back to the old ways, where you had to know someone who sponsored your “entry into trucking” over this mass production of drivers thru trucking schools.
Then you have the attitude of “I don’t need to know”. They don’t care nor do they want to learn. Friend of mine came up with the term “Flatlander”. It perfectly describes the new breed trucker. Can run triple digits out on the open road, but give them a curve or more and it is twenty miles below the speed limit and breaking all the way. You know the ones, pull out of the truck stop in 2nd gear and won’t up shift til they are in the right lane and in open road.
If you’re out here as a professional, try being one. Take the time to learn your job. It will save your life one day, or someone else…TRI