Don’t stay stagnant, learn something new

It doesn’t matter what age you are, we are still learning. If you believe that you have learned enough about anything, it’s time to start learning something new today.

Years ago I met a wise man while I was an over the road truck driver. He too was a truck driver probably three times my age at the time. I still consider this man one of the smartest people I have ever met just because of a simple request he asked of me and the explanation afterward.

There is a saying in the truck driving world that goes ‘Don’t be a lazy truck driver’. What this means is, if you are not sure while backing up, then get out and look. It’s really a good rule to follow but sometimes hard because you just want to hurry up and get loaded or unloaded so you can get going again.l

Shows back of semi trailer as it is being pulled through gate by guard shack

I was heading into a warehouse that my company had a contract with to run their freight. This particular place, had docks on one side of the building that was extremely hard to back into. I would say a silent prayer before getting there that the easy docks would be open.

This particular day, I showed up with another truck driver that had been driving over the road for thirty plus years. His CB handle was Broomstick and who I considered a true professional truck driver. Of all the truck drivers I met while I was driving trucks, his was the one name I will never forget. I myself had only been driving trucks for a couple of years and still making my fair share of mistakes.

Three semi trailers backed up to docks

When we showed up at this warehouse to get loaded, sure enough, there was only two docks open. One was on the easy side, the other on the nightmare side. I was the front truck so when we pulled up to the building I stopped in the driveway and studied the two docks. I really didn’t want to choose the hard one to get into but I didn’t want to look like a bad person to Broomstick by choosing the easy one.

My CB came to life and it was Broomstick calling. “Tailfeathers (this was my CB handle), go ahead and take the easy dock, I will take the other one.” I felt a wash of relief all over but I still asked, “are you sure?” He assured me it was fine so I headed to the easy side and backed in in a matter of seconds. After I finished backing in, I looked over to watch him on the hard side. I figured, I may learn something from watching this master get into the nightmare dock and boy did I learn something that day!

Inside of a semi cab

Broomstick turned his truck around to where he was heading in the general direction of the dock. As I expected, he got out of his truck and took a good look around. What I didn’t expect was him waving me over. I thought, great he is going to give me some pointers for next time. I got out of my truck and headed over to where he was.

“Hey, Tailfeathers, would you mind spotting me?”He asked. “Excuse me, you want me to help you?” I asked. “Of course, I’m no idiot!” He said. I was more than happy to help watch for him so he could back in easily. I asked him after I seen how easily he backed that big truck in why he asked me for help. I seen he had no problem whatsoever by himself. He told me if there is help, don’t be afraid to ask. A cocky truck driver won’t ask for help and it will catch up to them somewhere down the road.

This very wise man told me, never get so full of yourself that you can’t ask for help and never go a day of your life without learning something. He told me he had been driving this big truck for over thirty years and loves it but if the day ever comes that he feels he has learned everything about it it would be time to retire and learn something else.

I learned a lot from that man that day and I used it for the rest of my truck driving days as well as for the short time I was an instructor at a truck driving school in Tucson. Of course I taught my students these valuable lessons and I made sure to give all the credit to Broomstick.

I hope telling you about my experience has opened your eyes and will continue to help you now and in your future endeavors. Don’t forget to learn something every day. Remember, we are all in this together.

By C.S.I

United States Navy veteran, over the road truck driver, welder, plumber, truck driver trainer, sign installer and haulage truck driver for copper mine. After injury in mine (which retired me early in life) I am now blogging the wisdom I have learned through life, with hope of helping others using common sense and old school thought.

2 replies on “Don’t stay stagnant, learn something new”

I totally agree with the wise man. We should never be full of ourselves. Whenever we find ourselves at the apex of something, it is better to take up new challenges.

Leave a Reply