I'm cheating again, more copying and pasting :O))
I got a job with an employment agency as a relief driver, it was part of the same company which owned the HGV driving school. When I first passed my test they didn't want to give me a job because I hadn’t any experience. I had paid £250 for my licence and they said, “go away and get some experience.” So here I was, three years later, with my ‘experience’.
Agency work was a bit daunting at first, as with most things you are not familiar with. I had sleepless nights worrying about every new job I was sent to, sometimes it was a different company every day of the week. This usually meant several visits to the little girls room, it was very stressfull. Gear boxes were confusing, loading different trailers was worrying, and finding new places was frightening. On the plus side, using new equipment meant lots of opportunity to learn new skills, and gain more qualifications, now I was really building on my experience. Eventually I began to relish the new challenges that agency driving provided me with, even though it meant spending more time in the toilet!
There was a mixture of work, some days I could be driving a small rigid lorry, sometimes the maximum, 32 ton articulated truck. Every day was different, it was this variety that I was beginning to enjoy. I had a passion for knowledge and I wanted to know everything there was to know about transport. If I didn’t understand how a piece of equipment worked I asked someone to show me. If I saw a driver with a lorry I wasn’t familiar with I would ask him about it, there was such a lot to learn. There was no such thing as driver induction, a process that the larger companies now follow when they take on a new driver. It was a case of ‘pick things up as you go along’. When I thought I knew it all someone would show me a better way of doing things.
I had instructions to report to Derby Waste, a skip hire company, on a Monday morning at 7am. When I arrived I introduced myself as usual, “Hello, I’m your hired driver from the agency”. I told the boss that I hadn’t done skip work before, could someone show me how to lift the skips on and off the lorry? He muttered something under his breath and picked the phone up. “What have you sent this woman for”, he complained, “She doesn’t know how to do the job”. I presumed he was talking to my boss. After a few minutes of heated discussions he stood up and snapped, “Follow me”.
Outside was another driver preparing to leave the yard, “Show this driver how to work the hydraulics before you go will you”, he sighed. The driver showed me the levers, “this one’s for lifting the skip up from the ground, this ones for tipping it when you are on the tip, and this one’s for lowering the stabilising legs, right, and don’t forget to keep your chains tight when you travel on the road with a skip on, or hook them up out of the way if you haven’t a skip on. Got that?” “Yes”, I murmured.
For the rest of the week I went in and out of Rolls Royce and British Rail, two of the biggest companies in the city, fetching the full skips out, emptying them down the tip, and bringing them back. Half the time I forgot where I got them from, the factories were so big. I plonked them down anywhere. I'm sure that must have confused a lot of people, wondering where these skips had suddenly appeared from.
I had whole office blocks full of people hanging out of the windows looking at me, as I did a twenty point turn to get out of a tight spot. By the end of the week the skip boss was back on the phone to my boss. Not to complain this time, but to sing my praises. In fact every time he wanted a driver after that, he asked for me. I was dead sick, the job was filthy, the tip was smelly, and I was filthy, I hated it, ha ha.
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