by K. Lovejoy
(Charlotte, NC (US))
My father worked for Schneider National for over 30 yrs. He was a training engineer. When I hired on with SNI, no one knew whose daughter I was. I worked hard, always abided by the rules the best I could, never turned down a load, worked well with my business leaders. I resigned. Now I know you are going to think the worst, but far from it.
Working for SNI was the BEST experience I ever had. It tore me up to leave. I'd had 2 very bad personal yrs., had some preventibles, nothing in anyway serious, but even the little stuff can lead to major problems. Main causes were personal, as owner operator, I worked around 340 days a yr. Was out for months at a time. LOVED my job. But it took it's toll on my ability to really focus, be and do my very best. I didn't understand it at the time, thought if I just worked harder all would be well, that all the personal stuff would just work itself out of my life.
Why do I tell you this?? Because I want everyone who reads this to know what a wonderful company SNI is. I have always talked with new drivers with the company and told them, that to succeed at SNI there are a few basics that they need to know, here are some of them:
#1 (MOST IMPORTANT!) Be SAFE !! Make sure safety is first and foremost in your every day. Get plenty of sleep, adhere to DOT rules and regulations on hours of service etc. NEVER cross these lines! At SNI, as I am sure at many other great companies, safety is their core, if not- RUN RUN RUN! They will mess you up or get you and others killed. Like SNI says "Nothing we do is worth the lives of others", "Safety first and foremost". I swear to you, they mean it. Directors of Safety have a huge job with the company, they make very hard decisions. But they keep the core principles that the company was founded on and have kept them at the top of their game. They want you to be the best you can be, that ensures a company who will be around many many yrs...like SNI. (Sorry, SNI is the only company I have ever driven for, so I guess I am biased :) Another person to show the utmost respect to, are your instructors, they are also under enormous pressure to see that you are safe out on the road. They want to know that if they give a good report to the Director of Safety, that it is accurate and truthfully. They have your best interest at heart. If you show a willingness for excellence in safety, skills, customer service, they will work with you all they can...remember- attitude is everything.
2. Don't listen to negative talking about SNI, they can influence in a very bad way, how you see your job. I once told a driver he was a cancer. He was spewing his garbage around that even the newbies could hear. He was unfairly influencing their opinions before they even put a truck in gear. Wrong wrong wrong. I can't stand complainers, if you don't like the company or job...just leave and move on, simple! It's better for everyone involved.
3. At SNI you don't deal with dispatchers or trip planners as we called them. When you have a problem with a load, weather(if you don't feel safe in weather conditions) or whatever, you speak with your stl or dbl (system team leader-company drivers or driver business leader- owner operators). The key is to stay POLITE and RESPECTFUL. Don't go into a conversation with both barrels blazing. First calm down, rehearse in your mind what you want to say, BEFORE you call, then be polite and show them respect. When you do this, they give it back. Granted not everyone that works for SNI are little angels. But keep trying with them. If you don't get anywhere, seek advice from someone higher up, don't be unkind or act angry about it, just calmly state your case. Let them know you love your job, want to do your very best, etc. 9 times out of 10 you will get results. Most of your job is about you and your attitude. But you have to be willing to work with them, help them out. Don't see your job as: what they can do for me, but also, what you can do for them. It works soooo much better if you think this way.
4. Don't turn down loads, esp. if they need your help. They will remember you. At SNI, that would be the trip planners and your STL/DBL. Most are wonderful people who want to see you succeed.
5. Do your very best, never think you know it all- you don't. Many of my truck driving friends who have driven for more than 10 to 20+yrs will tell you, they don't know it all. They are wise and excellent council. Seek these individuals out!!
6. Meet personally (face to face) with your STL or DBL (at whatever operating center you are out of) and even your trip planners (up in Green Bay, Wi). Sit down with them personally and have a fun chat. Get to know them: their job (stresses etc), what they expect from you, what you can do to help them, a little bit of personal chat. You want them to know that you are interested in what they do, their pet peeves etc. This builds a wonderful working relationship all the way around, and they will remember you as someone who CARES about them as well as you. Don't let the only time you see or chat with them, be negative. I can not stress how important ALL 1-6 is!
Then, just have fun, see the country and get paid to do it. Take time in different places around the country to see and experience all that it has to offer, it's people, food, history etc. One day you might even chose to move to a particular area that you visited. Truck driving can be fun and rewarding in so many ways. It's not all just stress and work!! The military thinks they have adventure- ha- We, have ADVENTURE!!!
If you are interested in working for Schneider National, you can contact me @ Klovejoy70@yahoo.com