I have recently joined two driving agencies. Now that I have wasted two years of my life they can insure me, or blag their customers that I’ve been driving for two years, or some such. Whatever the detail, now I’ve held my license for two years suddenly two agencies have taken me on their books. Until now I’ve not even warranted a “piss-off, newbie!” email.
The first one I applied to was exactly what I was expecting. A chair, a desk and ‘phone in a room above a shop. Obviously someone setting up an agency and just getting names on their books in case they ever landed an employment contract. The woman was actually ringing firms and blagging them whilst I was filling in my details!
I saw an even more desperate sounding advert for an agency in Liverpool. Their criteria was ‘must have held license for six months’! I rang them, said I’d got no experience. The chap asked ‘do you feel confident to drive an artic?’ “yes” I lied.‘Come down and register then.’
I assumed it was the same deal but when I got there they had a proper office and were talking about proper jobs. They were berating some chap who they’d sent to a job but hadn’t turned up. One asked the other ‘did you check him out?’ The other replied, ‘yes, but we’re desperate for drivers.’ My ears pricked up at that.
He rang me the next day to ask me for a reference. I told him I was shit-hot. Then told him he’d got the wrong number and he wanted my manger at work. Which made me think, however incompetently, they were moving things along.
That was Monday putting my details in, Tuesday giving myself a sterling reference, then Wednesday he rang me and told me he had a job for me on my day off (Friday).
Today was the day! I turned up all nervous, acting ‘I do this every day’.
He took me out back, gave me the keys and said ‘if you can just swing it round I’ll get it loaded’.
One drawback, it wasn’t an artic such as I’m used to driving, it was a wag-n-drag! A rigid truck towing a big trailer. Here is a picture of one, about the same size by the look of it; http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigmans/3445657148/
I’ve never driven one of those! They are the worst of both worlds. Fine going forward, but an artic pivots around it’s back wheels so you can turn one in less than the length of a trailer, these are rigids with a trailer. That means mahoosive turning circle to turn it round, like on a van or truck so you can’t turn it in one go, then it is opposite steering like on an artic to reverse it. Lose/lose.
When I got to my first drop I had such a nightmare of a time trying to turn it in a tight space that when they said I was at the wrong place (and that I’d have to turn it around, again) I tried to drive it around. ie, just follow the road in a loop back on myself. I turned into an industrial estate with that in mind, drove through the narrow gauntlet of parked cars and vans, just managed to get the rigid around a ninety degree corner into a narrow alley, only to be told it was a business yard I was going into, not a through road!
I was seriously thinking about ringing them up and telling them they would have to come and get their wagon. I couldn’t see how I could get out. Eventually I did. I just about backed it around the corner then someone guided me back all the way to the road. Without him I would be still walking home now!
Nightmare. Still, after that I wasn’t too concerned about reversing! Didn’t do it well, but I knew I could do it.
I though that would be it, that the agency would say ‘never darken our door again’, but they asked me for my availability for next week.
This could be it! My first step on the ladder to a driving career!
I’ve done my first day solo, in a wag-n-drag, (grrrr!) I didn’t crash and nobody died. Super.
So glad that’s over! I told the agency guy (when we talked after I’d been driving for half a day) that I’d never driven wag-n-drag before, he said he get me different work next time. An artic will be childs-play after that!
If they keep coming through with work for me I’ll be quitting my day very soon. Huzzah!
So, that’s it; I’m a driver now! Send me your Yorkie bars!