After all the grand plans of yesterday, of a measured incremental easing into the job of driver, I walked in this morning and got told I was going out for an assessment. That’s that.
I know that in yesterdays entry I was saying their word is not to be trusted, that they’ve said all the right things before and not delivered, that I’d believe it when I saw it, but I couldn’t help getting my hopes up.
I was gutted.
Before the assessment the guy was showing me half a dozen files on his desk, all driver accidents that were ongoing. “And these are from competent, professional drivers.”
Basically saying the job was too hard for a newbie driver like me, be prepared to fail. He couldn’t do me then, so I had to come back in a few hours.
I ‘phoned Wendy, telling her they were setting me up to fail, that they’d gone back on everything they’d said yesterday. She was gutted for me.
I spent a few miserable hours brooding on how they had screwed me over, again.
I went for the assessment, for the fourth time in twenty four hours, this time I got one. I was a dithering wreck. I sat in the cab, the seat and steering wheel were fully adjustable, had to been shown how to adjust them. The gearbox was a fancy-pants automatic/ optional manual input. Had to be talked through that. Needed to insert my digital tachograph card, didn’t know where, let alone how. Talked through that.
Before I’d even set off I could see I wasn’t impressing.
Got going, he said we were going to do a few laps of the warehouse and a controlled stop to give me a feel of the beast. I forgot, did one lap then lined us up with the guardroom gatehouse to go out. He told me to proceed. In retrospect, I missed a chance at some practise, there.
Went out, got onto the road that runs all the way alongside work, at the second (easy) island I let the trailer wheels run over the pavement. Purely through nerves. That, again, was a fail.
After that I really raised the bar. The two corners I was dreading, (a T junction turn at the bottom of Birchwood Expressway, and Burgesses paper shop corner in Latchford village) were both unexpectedly easy!
I did really well. A few minor positional mistakes, but the roads were so empty I could easily correct.
I was starting to feel good about myself. I was thinking that I would be able to pass some bugger else’s assessment, even if these bastards were out to screw me over. Then we got back in the yard and he told me to back it onto a bay. I was fairly confident with my reversing ability, I’d spent long enough cracking it for my driving tests.
Could I do it? Could I buggery!
It was one of those where you break out in an embarrassed sweat. He gave me a few shunts then said he was going to stop me.
I drove it back, just wanting to get out of the cab and have it done with.
He set to explaining, again, how tight the car parks are where we deliver, and how if I couldn’t do a simple back on to an open bay I’d have no chance at the store. He said that I needed more practice, and he was aware that you can’t get the practice without doing the job.
“So what I plan to do”, says he, “is suggest to the management that you go out with one of the assessors for a few store runs while we teach you the job, get your experience that way, then let you go out on your own.”
What they had planned yesterday, but this time with the benefit of me having already proven myself through the assessment!
He said I was cautious, which is a good thing in a newbie, but I had the makings of a good driver.
I could have kissed him! After all the build up, the expectation of being failed on principle, to be told he wanted me to be trained up as a driver!
I’ll sleep well tonight!
Now I have to wait for the management to get back to me. But seeing as it was the site GM who had me doing all that induction paperwork yesterday, I am hopeful. I still shouldn’t be, not with the track record of my works, but I can’t help it. All the augers and portents are hinting at this being my break. If only so I don’t have to do another assessment, I hope so.
What a day!