Sunday, September 24, 2017

 Well, the weekend is here. Have redeemed the time today, too.  Got a bunch of cleaning done around the house, went out for 4 hours and got a bunch of errands done, including getting a nice haircut for a new job.  But a lot of other stuff as well.

In fact, the only thing I didn't get done was buy a new charging cord for my Iphone - because the place I went to doesn't take credit cards.  Well, he says he does but his "machine was down".  No biggies, especially considering the fact that his guaranty is that if it fails, just bring the cord back, I'll give you another one without a receipt, hassle free.  Didn't make it back there.

Meanwhile, I am still considering my decision to quit my job.  200 hours of vacation as of January 3rd of next year if I were to stay. It makes it so hard to walk away from . But, what can I do with all that time off if I can't afford to go anywhere? Stay-at-home vacations are nice, I suppose, but I want to travel.  I'm going to hope that this new  job pays as much as they say it does and I'm going to both pay off credit card debt and save for vacations at the same time.

Trust me, I'm accounting for the potential that it doesn't pay as much as they say it does, but if it comes close at least, I'm good with it.  Still far more than I'm making now.


Sunday.  I just got done looking at the route between the 2 destinations for pick up and delivery.  It is possible to get 3,000 miles per week in and be home every  day or night, just depending on when I would get there, excepting 1.  Plus have the weekend off. It involves 3 days of driving 537 miles, easy enough and 2 days of marathon driving at 730 miles.  That can be done legally if the traffic conditions are right.  You can drive 11 hours legally, be on duty for 14.  That simply means the other 3 hours are for fueling, loading and unloading.  The tangents, of course, are if you can keep up a pretty high MPH average which may not be possible with road construction going on in Louisiana right now, that slows you down for a stretch that costs you time.  It may not be doable legally, but it's a goal  I mean, looking at maps on my iPhone, it's a 5 hour and 17 minute drive each way from my place to there and back.

The recruiter told me they have their trucks set at 72 mph.  It would be helpful to notch it up to 75, but I'll take it.  Btw, maps takes into consideration road delays and speed limits and going through cities and such.  Most of the driving is Interstate excepting the part where you jump off the 20 to go down to Lufkin. Even that, though, the Texas part of it is 65 to 70 mph speed limits,, meaning I can get away with top speed without worrying about it.  Texas 2 lane highway speed limits are much more generous than most other places in the country, save for wide open expanses like Montana and such.

It works on paper, anyway.  Took me a while to figure it out, I wanted to get this down. Will I actually be able to get home during the week and sleep in my own bed?  Simple question that I wanted to be able to answer on my own without them trying to cook it.  It has to be legitimate and within legal hours of driving.  If I can do that for the most part - I almost always beat maps time.  If it says it takes 5 hours to get somewhere I'm there in 4-1/2 hours, or usually at least 15 minutes earlier. I'm a "driving fool" when I want to be. Haven't done it in  years but I can pick it up again.  I was kinda worried about that particular aspect of this job, how much home time, until I sat down and figured it out.  My pay would increase just short of 2k per month. That's the increase in pay I would get.  even if it were $1,500, I would be happy as a bug in a rug.

Still, you never know. Sometimes trucking companies will say anything to get  you over there and into their office.  That's why you have to ask a lot of questions and do some figuring on your own.  I haven't done this kind of driving in so long, I looked up several different sources for average driving per day for experienced drivers.  A lot said average around 550. Some went higher, some went much higher.  Really, a lot depend on the speed limits, the max speed of your truck, road/weather conditions and weather there is construction or not.  I am prepared to face the fact that if I get off that schedule on any given day, that throws it all off and who knows how many days I'll get home during that particular week.

I'm fairly partial to being able to go home, thanks.  I've done my time OTR. I wouldn't consider it unless the pay was just too good to pass up, like 100k.  There are some places with specialty trucking that pay that much, but those jobs are far and few between and when they come available, they are swamped with applications.

I haven't actually given up on filling out applications tho. I applied last night for one that is a "local" job even though you go out of town.  In a trucker's world, local simply means you are home every night.  It doesn't mean you stay in town or even close to town.  In fact, my current job has me driving all over the upper portion of the state somewhat frequently, though the new manager has cut back on the driving.  He's hurting the business, actually, by having us coming in late.  It's the construction industry, no one starts their drivers at 8 am.  We've already lost business because of it and some of the other companies are sending their own trucks in to pick up materials.  All well and fine, but our biggest competitor is picking up their game and matching what we do. If they start under bidding us and giving better service, well the writing is on the wall.

The other drive and I have discussed this pretty thoroughly.  The need for 3 drivers is already questionable.  They rotate who is going to spend most or all of a day in the yard because the amount of deliveries has gone down drastically under this new guy. I don't know what he's thinking.  Cutting back on expenses is all well and fine, but cutting back your service level when you have hot competition wanting to take your business away is cutting your own throat. Anyway, we already have a yard hand/ex driver there all day long.  It gets monotonous standing around doing nothing. The manager comes out and gives stares.  Of which I could care less, this current situation is because of his policies and yes, because him and certain contractors go wayyyy back and they dislike him greatly.

It's just another reason I want to get out of there. If our numbers stay down, as they have been going now (we've had some good months but we've had several that are low in terms of gross sales and GP), corporate will come along and force the hand. They will tell the GM that "that store doesn't have the numbers to support that much labor costs, you are going to have to cut back".  They've done it before, I've gone through several layoffs in this company. I've survived all of them but with this manager? He doesn't like me because I don't bow down to him and worship. I would certainly have the thought of being the first to go.

Anyway, I looked at whatever reviews of this new company I could find.  Not a single negative word about them, either from current or previous employees.  That's certainly a good sign. It's a family run business and they apparently take care of their people.

I am not 100% sold on this place. Yes, I have a job offer, yes I am planning on heading over there Wednesday by whatever means they have available, but....if something else comes through that looks better, and researching it, I am not stuck on the idea of this place. Home time and pay are my top concerns.  After that I don't much care.  A pet policy would be nice. Take Addler on a trip here and there with me.  Not a deal breaker though.

There is a pro that is also a con to this job.  It's the driving.  No more working in a hell hot yard.  No more working around grumpy old men.  No more winter work outside where your hands freeze while picking up parts.  The flip side to that is I don't get all the exercise, either.  Picking up heavy parts and putting them onto pallets.  I would have to consider starting up a work out routine to make up for that.

Whatever the case, even the yard man is looking for a new job.  How many people will it take quitting there before corporate gets the idea that the rosy picture being painted of that place is not in alignment with the reality of long time employees walking out of it?  When I leave, that will be 3 people with a combined total of 30 years of experience having up and walked out.  If the other driver leaves, add 14 more years to it.  This is part of how corporate looks at things. Why are all these long time employees leaving?  The exit survey is the teller.  If you are candid about your reasons for leaving - but not getting hysterical, keep it calm, cool and collected and not exaggerating - then you might get some credibility when stacked up with other exit surveys that might be saying the same or at least close to the same thing.

Anyway, this is pretty much where my head is at right now.  Hard to think of much of anything else.

Okay, per the last post, a trailer didn't show up down there until 3:00 pm. So I drove 450 miles, went to bed at a truckstop and drove t...