Today started as all the rest have this week, which is way too early for my preferred taste. The newness of what I’m doing is finally wearing off and I feel more comfortable everyday.
I’ve started to segregate myself from my other trainees for various reasons. Mostly, I’m trying to ensure I keep my mouth shut when I hear their political leanings and musings about “what’s really wrong in this country.” These sort of conversations are quagmires and not something that should be discussed at work, so in go my headphones, on goes the music, and up comes the volume to drown them out.
Today was video game day…or as the boys like to call it “The Stimulator.” (Insert eye roll here) I was first up and quite frankly I set the pace.
For people that don’t know me well, I can seem to have all the confidence in the world but it’s usually a facade. I was a nervous wreck sitting in that chair with a room full of men with outspoken and overblown egos. However after a perfect and flawless run I knew that I was good and had nothing to worry about. Just to be a snot, I stood up and said “That, gentlemen, is how you do it. Beat that.” Now, while I’m not going to bore you with whole lot of detail, all I will say is that I kicked ass and set the pace for the rest of the pack while staying far ahead of them.
We took a lunch break and afterwards I found out I had been turned down by another trainer. Instead of letting it get to me, I dove into my training with vigor knowing that I definitely had something to prove.
We had a second run at the first simulation and then progressed on to learn downshifting and skip shifting. This time there were a few drivers who had wandered into the training room, as well as another trainer. Knowing that one of the drivers could be a potential trainer for me, I resolved to keep my maneuvers clean and my shifting sharp. After my last run, the trainer looked me over and said “well you’re gonna be easy to train because I think you might be a natural.” What I didn’t know was that they had an in-house trainer who they had assigned me to. I was elated to know that I was no longer consigned to the island of misfit toys. The praise was the cherry on top.
Friday started out just like all the rest, but this time the class was getting smaller and smaller. The boys were either departing in their own trucks (for those who already had CDL’s) or off with their on the road trainer. By mid morning there were only three of us left.
Today was all simulations and this time we progressed to backing. Straight backs, off set, blind off set, and parallel parking. These really taxed my brain and spacial awareness but also my patience. Without the normal inertia you would feel with a normal vehicle as it moves, today was a much harder day.
My trainer was in the room the entire time and he wasn’t holding back. In fact, I think he was trying to unnerve me a bit to see what I was made of. I took every jab and threw them right back, while never stepping over the line. By the time lunch rolled around I felt like my eyes were crossed. While my maneuvers weren’t the best, they definitely weren’t the worst, so while internally I was pretty hard on myself, I still felt pretty good. I know that being in an actual truck will be different so I just need to be patient.
After lunch, I shared some of my frustrations with the head of training who has been wonderful to work with. He sat and listened to me beat myself up and when I was done he said “I hope that’s out of your system. I’m gonna tell you something, I get people in and out of this room every week. Some I know aren’t going to make it through the week. Some I know aren’t going to make it through their test. Some won’t even make it through solo driving. You? You’re gonna shine and I expect you to be a trainer in six months so don’t get in your head and just keep kicking ass the way you have been all week. You’re impressing the hell out of all of us. I honestly wish everyone was as easy to train and work with as you are and it’s been my pleasure to get to know you Ms. O’Shae. Now get out of here and leave those boys in the dust.”
So yeah, I’m pretty much on cloud 9. While it stinks that I was turned down by multiple drivers I’m grateful to be assigned to the in-house training program. I feel that learning the mechanics of this job without being under a load and having to meet delivery times is just going to give me a bit of an edge over all. I’m going to have serious one on one time with a trainer who not only has a background in training but also in education. Someone that has methodology to his training and does this for a living. I feel I’m in damned good hands. Plus he lets me give him shit and laughs at my jokes. What more could a girl ask for?
My official behind the wheel training starts tomorrow. There is no such thing as weekends off in this industry so it’s right back to work tomorrow and I can’t wait.