Think again

2009 May 18
by Stace

The whole episode with TWMNBN last week made me realize that I owe some drivers out here an apology. And I realized, I had a bit of naivete left in this old bod. Shocking.

I’ve often heard stories from drivers complaining about how their companies treated them in times of need and/or crisis. These stories ranged from things like not being allowed to go home for emergencies, all the way to being fired because the driver got sick.

I felt badly for these drivers, but at the same time, I thought that some of them were likely exaggerating or, that they were treated badly because they were the types of people who always have some emergency or another in their lives. You know the type. Everything is the end of the world. Their lives are filled with overblown conflict and drama. After a while, I could see how a dispatcher might take what they say with a grain of salt.

Also, I thought maybe some of them weren’t accommodated because they weren’t good employees. Maybe they didn’t regularly deliver on time and used sickness as a common excuse. Or maybe they complained about everything, constantly haranguing their dispatcher about perceived problems, etc. If I were the dispatcher of someone like that, I wouldn’t be too likely to fight for them against the higher ups.

I actually believed that being a good employee meant you would be given some consideration in times of emergency or trouble. TWMNBN has showed me this is not true. Go figure. Sorry assholes.

I learned long ago that being a good employee doesn’t make you indispensable, and that if you are too good at your job, bosses will likely take advantage of you. Now I find out doing a fine job doesn’t even necessarily get you a modicum of human respect and decency. At least not at TWMNBN.

Here’s what’s sad — I actually let that little pissant Uriah hurt my feelings. Honestly. My feelings were hurt because he didn’t give a shit about me. He’s the only person at TWMNBN who knows me as more than a number, the only person there who could have cared enough to go to bat for me. But he didn’t. And he hurt my feelings. God, I can be a dumbass.

Live and learn. Don’t assume that because you were given respect and consideration at former workplaces, that you will get it at a different one. Understood. Lesson learned. I apologize to you drivers out there, wherever you might be, for assuming you rather got what you deserved. I’m thinking you likely had every right to be as outraged as you were.

Maybe Ruth Ann was right in her comment suggesting that Uriah and many others are too afraid for their jobs to protect their drivers. I hope you’re right, Ruth Ann. I hope that little pissant can’t sleep at night out of worry that he might be laid off the next day. I hope he pores over his dwindling savings and agonizes over the hopelessness of his pitiful little crap future. Yeah, that thought makes me happy.

So I’m left wondering what exactly is the reward for doing a good job, anyway. Just to hold onto one’s job and not get fired? From what I see out here, all sorts of numbnuts and losers manage to keep their jobs, so being good at one’s work doesn’t seem to be necessary for continued employment. I don’t know. Doesn’t seem to be any reward at all, except for the personal satisfaction of knowing you did a good job. How 1950s. But I don’t have a June Cleaver to make my dinner, do my laundry and darn my socks, so I don’t see why the 50s should get any say in this at all.

Well, our days at TWMNBN are numbered. Very soon, we’re buying our own truck and will no longer be at the mercy of others, and the rewards of doing a good job will be obvious. I think I’ve had all I can take of working for others. It’s time for a risk. But more about that later.

5 Responses
  1. 2009 May 18

    Agree, totally agree. When I was driving OTR as a company driver I never sweated a late delivery or anything else. Because I knew that it made zero difference to the company and how they treated me. Drivers are nothing more than a necessary evil to the both the shipper and the consignee. If they could use robots instead, they would do that without any hesitation whatsoever. My motto was “it will get there when it gets there”. And if that caused someone back there in dispatch some form of heartburn then, well, them’s the breaks.

    Hope you are OO’s soon! Keep us posted.

  2. 2009 May 18

    What a great post. I’ve thought this way for many, many years. I was brought up by people with a good work ethic and I’ve practiced that in every job I’ve ever had, from waiting tables and working in offices to working at resort hotels and jobs in retail.

    No one really cares. They don’t care that you go over and above. They don’t care that you come in early or stay late or agree to work on your day off because someone else called in sick and they need you. And honestly, I don’t really feel all that much personal satisfaction for a job well done. I have typically done the job I was paid for and MORE. I have, more times than I can count, made up for other people’s incompetence. I have done someone else’s work after they completed it because it was wrong. And often, just figured it was what needed to be done.

    But really, there aren’t too many people who are interested in doing what’s required of them, let alone more. And they don’t go to bat for others – they are too busy worrying about themselves.

    I look forward to you joining the ranks of the O/O. Call us if you need ANYTHING.

  3. 2009 May 19
    Belledog permalink

    Wow. You have all removed a great deal of anxiety on my part, though. Will not be sweating delivery times as much as I would have.

    Sad commentary on our society. From a nation of skilled tradespeople and entrepreneurs and people working hard despite desperate circumstances to “minimum it takes” wage slaves and “take ‘em for anything you can get” practices.

    Notice how “thank you” is met now with “no problem.” Totally different response, actually, from “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure.”

    Well. We don’t have to be like that in our personal dealings.

  4. 2009 May 19
    Belledog permalink

    PS: to save on typing all the initials of TWMNBN —

    was thinking it could be shortened to TWM for

    Tortured with Monkeys

    Trials, tribulations, terrorized, trifles with ….

    captcha: organ-buzzard. Could be a $3/cover punk band.

  5. 2009 May 19

    Good points, Salena. I always did the best I could, but never really guilted myself when circumstances beyond my control were in operation. Like the time they wanted me to deliver to the Port of L.A. at 5:00pm – and dispatched me from Fontana terminal at 4:00pm. Right. All I could do was sit, gridlocked, and laugh.

    Great idea Belledog. Tortured with Monkeys works for me. Just don’t think that anyone is going to thank you – for anything. I don’t think those words are in anyone’s lexicon these days.

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