It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me. After studying and practicing for just over four weeks, I took my CDL exam Tuesday of last week. I have no idea what my scores were, but when the examiner said I’d passed, that’s all I needed to hear.
After the examiner put my results into the national DOT database, I returned to the school to deliver the news. As is the custom of the school, I had my photo taken in beside one of the range trucks so it can be posted on the graduation wall in the classroom. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and a bit of amazement that I had learned so much in such a short time.
The next morning, I headed for Mississippi to spend a few days home and pick up my CDL hard copy. Although my name and photo were on it along with the CDL designation, I was well aware that I wasn’t yet fully trained for the demands of the career I would soon be entering. But, it sure was cool to hold that new license in my hand.
This past Monday, I started orientation and training for my new job as a semi driver. Along with my fellow rookies, I’ve watched many a video over the past few days along with signing paperwork and listening to training staff explain various things related to my job. I also went on outings in a training truck with several other newbies and a company trainer. We took turns driving and being assessed by the trainer while occasionally trying to get him to crack a smile. We were unsuccessful at the latter, but all of us did well on the former.
Yesterday we started working on parking maneuvers. Most of us were a bit intimidated when we walked out to the range and realized we’d be backing a trailer between two other trailers. The scratches on the corners of said trailers seemed to tell us all we needed to know about previous attempts of some rookies’ attempts at success. But, one by one we gave it a shot with the help of a trainer, and all of us managed to get it in without much damage to the tractor fairings or trailer corners. I’m thinking we all know we’re definitely going to need a lot more practice to be functional and safe at backing our semi’s.
Tomorrow is our last day of classroom and range training. Apparently, we’ll be hearing from the benefits department, which is quite important to me. Healthcare and other benefits were a major reason I chose to pursue truck driving, so I plan on getting all the info I can on what’s offered.
Next week, I begin training on the road. I’m so thankful that my husband will be my trainer because he’s got lots of experience and we know each other well enough to know when we’re beginning to get on each other’s nerves. Seriously, I know I can trust him to teach me what I need to know to do my job well and as safely as possible. And, he believes I can do this, which is invaluable in anyone who is teaching someone something. Gotta have that encouragement.
So, I’ve learned a whole bunch of stuff over the past month and a half, but it’s only the foundation. Obviously, a good foundation is nothing to sneeze at. But, now I’ll be digging into the day-to-day details of trip planning, paperwork, communicating, bumping docks, safety decisions and all the other specific stuff. I’m expecting it to be quite an adventure filled with old and new stuff; boring and fun stuff; difficult and easy stuff; and everything in between stuff. Kinda like life.
Until next time, stay safe out there 🙂