Day 1 and 2: Orientation

Standard

Wait, you want me to play video games all day long? Well, if you insist.

While I wish that were true, I might be stretching things a bit. After being on a 7am shuttle to the terminal, filling out a bunch of paperwork, and taking more drug tests and physicals, my day pretty much consisted of watching videos to make sure I had the required knowledge to move on further.

The simulator you see is a great way for companies to give their students practice time on skills such as alley docking, backing into spaces at truck stops, and parallel parking (yes you have to do that) without putting their own trucks in danger of damage.

The simulator helps to reinforce good habits. The simulator won’t start unless the seatbelt is fastened. It will occasionally make pedestrians jump out in front of you or drivers completely ignore you. There are even modes for different environments such as rain and snow.

As for my class, there is only 3 of us which is great as it will allow us more one on one and simulator time. Right now the only thing that has me worried is the timeframe for getting a trainer. I’m hearing that my time in SLC may be longer than I was originally told. One factor is, not surprisingly, my sex.

The company wants to make sure they seat me with a trainer who will help me be successful. While you may think that my gender shouldn’t play a role in that, it does. This doesn’t surprise me and it was something I was prepared for. If you look at the socio-economic background most truckers come from (speaking in generalities) it is very much a man’s world. That’s not to say that women aren’t making in-roads and there are quite a few women on the road, but there are still men out there who strongly believe a woman’s place is in the home.

While I’d like to believe that in 2017 people’s attitudes and perceptions has changed, a quick look at the news everyday reminds me that the reality is we still have a long way to come. There is to the fact that some wives of truckers may not feel comfortable with their man sharing a small enclosed space with another women. Jealousy is a two way street and I get that. You can tell someone you aren’t interested in their partner, but you can’t make them believe it if they choose not to. So for now, I will be patient and when I finally get a trainer I will happily thank them for being a factor in my success. I am taking nothing for granted on this journey.

Tomorrow I will hopefully have my chance at getting in the simulator and I will try to remember that unlike Grand Theft Auto, driving over pedestrians is bad.

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