It's a Team's Life
I AM MAD – UPSET – AND PISSED
As a married couple, it is something we continuously work on and as we both evolve we change. Holding it all together, staying married and doing this is a small area can be challenging.
When at home and tempers rise, it is easy to go outside for a walk, go shopping, clean house while the other goes in the opposite direction till both of you calm down. That is not so easy in a moving truck or stopped in bad weather and it is hard for one of you to get out of the truck and work on a project for a bit. How do you handle this?
Living in our tiny homes it is not a wise decision to throw things or to slam things and trying to slam the sleeper curtain is not very effective. Pouting is not the answer as then the other has to guess what is wrong and as time goes on pouting escalates the problem. Sarcastic remarks do not work well and neither does name calling. Learning to deal with emotions in the truck is essential to making a team operation last.
What are the expectations when getting into a truck? One couple we knew did not talk this out before getting into the truck and she thought they were going to truck some and vacation some and he went into trucking with the mind set of becoming a super trucker. They were constantly at loggerheads until they came to a mutual agreement that worked for both of them. Their forty-year marriage was saved. The key was communication without becoming petty.
Each of us has different trigger points that can set us off and we need to recognize them and learn how to deal with them. A well-meaning comment can be a trigger point and not heard as a well-meaning comment. One of my trigger points is Bob mentioning I need to be in a different lane, or we have to turn here, or... and I have had to learn to breath in and out a few times and realize the comment was not negative but informative. I had to stop and think about this for a long time and come up with ideas on how to respond with a Thank You and not a harsh "Do you think I am blind?" comment.
Time has taught me that there is a good time to have a conversation and a bad time to have a conversation about something that is bothering me. If I decide to discuss something while I am still upset nothing gets solved as the other person get defensive and I have no solution. If I wait until I am calm and can be rational we almost always come to a decision that works for both of us.
There are times when we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and instead of the other one getting irritated we both know we need to leave each other alone. Give the other space until they once again have a smile on their face.
Before getting in the truck decide how you will handle anger and realize that work comes first and when a load is accepted that is the most important and the disagreement can wait.
Here are a couple of the tips we use to keep peace in our truck:
When there is a load offer that is north of Richmond, Virginia, east of Ohio, or into Canada neither of us can accept the load without consulting the other and both be in agreement on the load. Either of us has the chance to say No and that is final.
Have agreed upon drive times and stick to that schedule.
Bob is always the last word on if the load is strapped down correctly.
Linda decides if we can afford something or if it should wait.
When upset take time to cool down and come up with a solution to the problem. Example is listening to the comedy channel please do not laugh out loud, use a head set so the other cannot hear the radio or a book you are listening to. There will be NO SINGING along to songs in our truck.
The person driving is in control of heat, air conditioning, and the radio.
When something goes wrong there is no I told you so as we know we will be next to do something wrong.
Don't criticize the others driving but at the same time walk the fine line of being another set of eyes to look for obstacles.
Be courteous when the other is asleep to not get in and out of the truck often, talk to others by the truck, and watch the road and drive as smoothly as possible.
If a disagreement arises step back and let everything cool down and then discuss the problem and solutions. Don't let a wound fester until you blowup at nothing keep the lines of communication open.
Communication should never stop and each day is a new day with a new beginning.
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.