TMC Orientation, Day 3

Today’s festivities started with a log book and hours of service presentation.  Since all of us were experienced he basically went through it fairly quickly.  It was now time for the final graded test of the week, which was over that presentation.  Needless to say I got an “A” on it, which gave me an overall “B” on all graded tests for the week.  The rest of the day was pretty much spent watching defensive driving videos and distracted driving videos.  Wait, that isn’t totally true as we had other briefings between videos.  I will get into that in a minute though.

We met with our training managers today and my trainer lives in Laurel, MS.  Apparently it’s 140 miles from Biloxi, but I haven’t verified that just yet.  What that means for me is, once released on Friday, they will get me a rental car again and I will head to the house.  Then meet up with the trainer Sunday and head out for my 4 weeks of training.  The trainer is supposed to call me by Friday to work out the specifics, but I am hoping that he will be able to just swing down my way and pick me up.  More to follow on that.
The pay structure was also explained in detail to us.  TMC has two different ways of getting paid.  The first is a Percentage Pay.  That’s not what they call it, but that’s what it is.  The way that works is I would start out at 27%, meaning I get 27% of what the truck makes.  Now, it’s not as simple as that though as there is a point system to determine what percentage you get.  The more points you accumulate, the higher the percentage you get, up to 32%.  Roughly 85% of the line haul drivers are on this program.  The three main factors that come into play is Revenue the truck generates, your MPG, and your Out Of Route Miles.  So, it’s sort of like being an Owner Operator without having to worry about all the other shit.  I was on the fence about going percentage, but after everything was explained, it may just be perfect for me.  The other way of getting paid is straight mileage.  I would start out at .37 cents a mile and get a .01 cent pay raise every year.  Both have bonuses as well as punishments.  By punishments I mean if you get a ticket or something, it will either affect your point total towards percentage, or you will lose a .05 cent per mile.  You can get rewarded well, and can also lose it just as quick.  Bottom line is it’s all on me.  The better I do, the more money I make.  It’s that simple.
This next part needs a little background information to make sense.  I know I covered why I have to go out with a trainer for four weeks.  I assumed it was due to me only having 18 months of driving experience.  That is partially true.  I found out today that my DAC Report only shows me driving from 02/09 to 11/09.  For those that don’t know what a DAC Report is, DAC is to a driver what a credit report is to someone getting a loan.  I have no clue why Swift never reported me being an Owner Operator with them, but that little mistake played into my favor in a BIG way today.
I found out that since I have less than a year of driving experience I qualify for the On-The-Job & Apprenticeship Training Program through the VA.  What does this mean exactly?  Well, with TMC it’s an 18 month program.  Since I qualify for GI Bill benefits, the VA pays me those 18 months.  So, according to the paper I was given, the first 6 months they pay $1,104.75 a month.  The second 6 months it’s $810.15 and the remaining months it’s $515.55.  Now, those numbers aren’t exactly what I will be getting though as I am at 80%.  Basically though, take 80% of those numbers and that is what I should get.  If I am reading this packet correctly, I will also get up to $83 a month for books as well as a monthly housing allowance.  I am going to double check on all of it tomorrow though to make sure.  But, I filled out all the paperwork for the rep to send in and get this all started.  It looks like even though I won’t be going to college anymore, I will still get to take advantage of my benefits!!!!!! I think that was the highlight of the week so far.  Wait, I take that back as the highlight was sitting my ass behind the wheel of that Black and Chrome Pete for the first time.
Tomorrow we are out on the yard doing load securement all day.  Depending on how that goes, I may or may not give an update about it.  I may just decide to rant about my damn roommate, whom I would like to smack the shit out of.  In fact, I need to wrap this up as he keeps talking to me while he’s on the phone with his wife.  He can see I am typing this, yet he asks me questions like I am paying attention to what he’s saying.  I thought after answering him with, “I have no fucking clue, I’m not paying attention to your conversation” would kind of give him a hint, but apparently not.  

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