First Week In.

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After a week in the new job I’m kind of champing at the bit. I want to get on with it and start working autonomously. Unfortunately, I don’t know how quickly that will happen. Hopefully soon.

The job is simple. Driving a truck is not complicated, you just have to be more aware of things like size, momentum and cornering, following and stopping distances. Loading is also simple, although it will take time to get my speed up on the fork hoist. I’m taking my time on that as being slow is better than damaging product. The only thing that requires a little concentration is the paper work, but again, it’s not difficult.

So, I’ve spent the week with Carl, one of the drivers. I can see why I was put with him. Efficient and productive, he will instil good habits in me before I have the chance to develop bad ones. Carl’s a top bloke. Works hard, puts in the hours, an asset to the business. Family man too. He doesn’t talk shit either, which helps when you’re spending all day in a truck with him.

For the first couple of days, I was chauffeur driven around the place while he was showing me the ropes. As the week progressed, I got to do more driving and for the last couple of days we shared the driving pretty much evenly. No problems, no stress.

Already, I have been able to pick up on who the good, the bad and the ugly people are. Everybody does their job, just some more than others. As with all workplaces, you get a variety of dedication. Some do what is required to stay employed and get paid and no more. Others are more in tune with what they need to do to help move the company forward and make it successful. A few of them have the odd whinge about some of the things they have to do, but it’s nothing I wouldn’t expect to have to do as part of the job, so I can’t really see what they’re complaining about. So what if you have to go to some dingy corner of Auckland to pick up or deliver? It’s not your truck or fuel and you’re getting paid by the hour. Just get on with it. There’s plenty of other things that will make your life difficult without looking for small issues to get pissed off about.

I’ve not encountered any animosity yet. Everyone has been welcoming, if a little surprised at my change of career direction. As usual, my name has created confusion for some, but they are learning. I can’t really take the high ground on that, as I’ve been introduced to around twenty coworkers and already forgotten half of their names. But that will come in time.

Out on the road it’s pretty standard. Normal Auckland traffic and weather issues but nothing unusual. I haven’t hit or damaged anything yet although I’m sure it will happen at some stage. But I’ll do my best to prevent it. We had one issue where we went to do a pick up and it wasn’t ready. We went back later and it still wasn’t ready. We asked them to call us back when it was, which they did and when we got there the guy asked us if we needed to know the location of where it was being sent to. Well, yes, that would be helpful. Clearly, common sense is not that common.

Suppliers usually pack their own product for us to pick up, some better than others. We had one pickup where the pallet had been stacked up pretty high and the boxes on the bottom where getting crushed. We questioned it, as we don’t want to get blamed for damaged product when it gets to the receiver. But the supplier said it was fine. I took a bunch of photos on my phone at the pickup point with the suppliers in frame so if there’s any comeback we’re covered. But aside from that, there’s been no complications.

I’m enjoying being out and about. My knowledge of Auckland will no doubt be greatly enhanced by this job. I’ve already learned new ways around that I didn’t know of before.

I’m pleased with my decision to change career. I’ve got a new lease on life, I’m happier and I look forward to going to work again. I’m excited to get a truck allocated to me so I can ‘fly solo’. As much as I like Carl, I want to start progressing in my new career. To do that, I need to prove myself capable. I think I may be floating from truck to truck to begin with. I haven’t noticed any spare trucks so they may use me to cover for drivers on leave. I’m not sure of the exact number of drivers but if you have 10 drivers then you’ve got forty weeks of holiday leave to cover for and then sick/bereavement leave on top of that. That’s close to a year of full time driving alone. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

See you in a week.

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