Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A shocking turn of events

I did it, I finally made it back to Oregon and handed over the keys to my truck with a smile on my face. I'm not prone to quitting a job on a whim, especially in light of the fact that I have a mortgage and other bills associated staying plump and warm. However, there were some things about life on the road that I was just not prepared to handle. I was so excited when I was assigned a trainer that was a local driver but I think I really missed an important factor of training, learning all about road life. First off, I must say that I have gained a whole new perspective on long haul trucking and a whole new respect for those that do it for most of their life. However, they also deal with a very unique lifestyle that is just not very easy for most people to adjust to. Living truck stop to truck stop with the only space that you can call your own amounts to about 60 square feet. If you need a shower, you pay for it. You need a restroom, use the public one. You want a meal, it's whatever you can scrounge up at the truck stop or store in the mini fridge in your truck. I've also heard other truckers tell me that they love the freedom of the open road and couldn't possibly sit in an office all day. I sat in that truck for longer hours than I ever sat in my cubicle in any office and also had more contact with my boss while in that truck than I've had at most any other job I've had.

However, all that said, I'm glad I gave it a shot and I have an experience that I can talk about for the rest of my life. I'm not bitter about the way things worked, just a little nervous about what to do next.
The shadow of my former and short lived career!
So, what to do next....?
Well, I got yet another idea. Since I lost my job in June of last year, I made it 3 months as a professional photographer and 12 days as a long haul trucker. So, what's one more bad idea to throw into the mix? So, here goes plan "C", an Electrician apprenticeship. I have a friend that is about my age that has been out of work for quite some time and just got into this program. He loves it and is very excited about the new opportunity. He also has a class B CDL and tells me that the company now uses him to drive their trucks around since many of the employees do not have a CDL. Since, I have a class A, maybe that will help my chances.

My tutor
This plan does have one small obstacle that I must overcome, my math skills. I need to have some knowledge of algebra, of which I currently posses none. Since the Spring term just started at the college and I don't want to wait 2 months for the next term, that is out of the question. So, I decided to go with a more unconventional route, I will teach myself. I went to Borders Books and invested in the material that I thought would bring my knowledge up to an acceptable level. I may be slightly crazy and maybe even delusional, but I'm figuring I will teach myself algebra in 2 weeks. After that, I will attempt to pass a placement test that puts me at the level necessary to to qualify without needing to take a college course in math. If I'm able to pull this off, you won't be the only one that's surprised.

If anybody out there is a qualified math tutor, I would love to hear from you.


  1. Red,

    Hmmm, gotta say, an electrician apprentice is great for a guy coming out of High School but is real hard at our age. Aside from that while in the program the money you make for the next 2 to 4 years is going to be so little it will be hard to make a living wage.

    After you complete the program money gets better but the jobs can be very weather centric just like many construction jobs.

    I think you should do what ever you want of course just letting you know the short falls. Been there and done it.

    Good luck in whatever you choose, I think you'll be good at whatever you decide on.


  2. I was a math major but that was a long time ago, so I don't know if I would be of much help to you. I do think that most anyone can learn algebra if they take it slow and steady and make sure not to skip any of the steps. Overcoming math phobia is the first step. I think you may find out that it's all a lot easier than when you were in high school and probably not in the mood to be sitting in math class. Good luck and let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

  3. "They" say you use Algebra on a daily basis -- REALLY? Keep the faith -- I'm sure you'll do well with Algebra. God bless and keep us informed...glad you made it home safe & sound!

  4. Algebra is logic. There is only one right answer.

    Are you physically able to do the bending, twisting, and possibly crawling under houses to do the dirty part of the jobs?

    You are in a hard place.

  5. I do have some honest concerns about what I am able to do, crawling under houses in particular. However, I'm on the shallow end of options and starting to get a little desperate. Keep following me, I can only guess how interesting my near future will be.

  6. Red, you can do the math! I remember in high school you hated math, yet you worked at a gas station and figured out cash discounts in your head. While that wasn't algebra, it just shows you have a head for numbers when it has a practical application. If anyone can do it, you can! Ask Tim about your algebra. He is in his second or third year of electrical engineering. Good luck and keep the faith. ♥