Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I Can't Do This Anymore!

Well … I can't do it *this*way* anymore.

I got off the road last October and took what I thought was a part-time job. Turns out that we weren’t using the phrase ‘part-time’ in the same way. They called me PT because they couldn’t guarantee me 40 hours. However, if they needed 50 hours, they expected that I should be able to do that for them. They needed that a lot. That story is here.

So, I quit and went back to a small company that I had driven for in the past. I knew how they ran, so I asked beforehand, quite specifically, if they were on electronic logs yet. Oh, yes, they assured me. Their drivers use a logging app on their phone. I took that at face value, but after a couple weeks on the road, and a hundred dollar ticket, I figured out that they didn’t actually have the app properly hooked up to the truck. My initial hopes for this new gig is here.

A Paper Log Example
When I drove for them back in the paper log days, they ran my ass off and expected me to make it look legal afterward in my logs. That was exactly what I was trying to avoid, but the temptation of a flexible part time schedule clouded my judgement. Their drivers are doing the same fix-it-later thing as before; now with a sexy phone app to give the appearance of compliance. Many of the drivers probably appreciate that they can run as many miles as they’d like, but I can make plenty of money and do it legally. I don’t mind running hard; I’ve done it. I just don’t want to have to think so hard to cover my tracks. In addition, there are so many crazy drivers out there. Even a minor fender bender with one of those crazies would be a massive, expensive hassle if I was found to be running outside my legal hours.

I have run on electronic logs for a long time and can squeeze every drop, every mile out of my available legal hours. In fact, when I inquired about going back to the last bigger company where I’d been, my former dispatcher immediately and unequivocally wanted me back in his fleet.

Which brings me back to the "this way" part of “I can’t do it *this*way* anymore." My holy quest to find a lucrative part-time position has failed. I was already living hand to mouth, paycheck to boat parts, when I got the large bill for my engine installation. Money was tight by design but had become a constriction. Summer is upon us here in Florida; August and September can be brutally hot especially working inside the boat. If I was working part-time, it would be August before my cashflow recovered. All of these factors have led me to make yet another change; third time since October I’ve quit a trucking job. It sucks but I'm going to concentrate on getting ahead financially. Instead of trying to do both at the same time, I'm going to earn the money and concentrate on boatwork later. 

Boatyard Basin
One of the dangers of living in a boatyard in Florida, is getting bogged down in the boatyard lifestyle. It is easy enough to live this way. In an out-of-the-way place like Riverside Marina, you can exist in this purgatory of almost being ready to re-launch your boat -- for decades. These boat projects can be a bit like a tide. The tide of positive energy and forward motion comes in sometimes with great strength, but diminishes as it approaches slackwater. Just at the turn of the tide there is almost no energy before it ebbs and starts to go back out; backward motion. The boatyard trap is that slack moment when it is so quiet that you don’t realize the tide has turned against you. In the yard right near Emma, guys and their boats who have been *almost*ready* so long that they don’t even know they are getting less ready every week. They are drifting further and further away from being ready. I consider this job change a preemptive strike against the boatyard life. In order to make it to the Sailing Life I aspire, I must not get caught up in the boatyard life.

Most of last year, and a good part of 2016, I had a pretty stress-free trucking gig. If it wasn’t for my ill-conceived quest for less hours, I’d still be there. So, I’m going back
because I need the money. I’m going to cover the boat up, work full-time for 6 ot 7 months, scrimp and save and then get back to boatwork in cooler weather. Come January or February, I will have a good nest egg and I can concentrate on boatwork. This way I can drop all my current stress about miles, eLogs and the little time or money I have for the boat. Emma and I are stuck where we are for this hurricane season, but we can get back in the water before the next.

I can do just what I want and still get what I need. Why should I accept someone else’s BS?

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