My husband and I have dreams of becoming Team Drivers. We researched many companies on the internet and decided to go with a fast track training program with Schneider which was 2 weeks long. Our first contact with the company was through our recruiter, Torie. Torie promised that once I had completed the training program I would have a CDL. I had to go first because my husband is our sole form of support and we need his job. Torie indicated that there was no promise of employment, but I would walk away with the CDL.
I passed all my classroom tests. Then on Tuesday of our first week we were to drive for the first time. We watched our upper classmen driving around the lot and I couldn't wait to get behind the wheel. In class they asked us to fill out a psychological questionaaire to match us with the "right" instructor. Well, they got me wrong. They matched me with a trainer, Mike Lancman, that had been through a nasty divorce and lost everything. He was still bitter about it. Apparently, deciding to take his anger our on all women. I had never even seen the cab of a truck, let alone drive one. We went out in a group of 3. One student drove while the other 2 sat in the berth and the instructor sat shot-gun. The first student to drive was a guy that had previously driven a straight truck. Then after lunch the other guy that I sat in the berth with and I flipped a coin to see who would go first. I lost. My instructor came up and said are you ready to drive? I said no, the other guy is going first. He said, what are you scared? I said, no I lost the coin toss. He said, did you win or loose?
Anyway, the guy that drove second did a great job. I wanted to drive just like him. But, when it finally rolled around to my turn at the wheel, all my instructor could do was bark one command after another, after another, after another. He barked so many commands so fast that I couldn't keep track of what it was I was suppose to do. Was it my fault? I don't think so - I told him I'd never driven a truck before. I went back to my hotel so discouraged that I just collapsed and fell asleep.
The second day of driving was Wednesday and the Instructor and I went out first thing in the morning. The second day was much like the first day - only this time I didn't have any witnesses. My instructor indicated that he had a doctor's appointment and he would be leaving early and have me work with another instructor (Marty). What little time I spent with Marty was great, and I actually learned something. I hinted to Marty that things weren't working out with Mike Lancman, hoping that Marty would help me out of this bad situation.
By Thursday, I was ready to go in and talk to the head honcho and get my instructor changed. But, God had blessed me that day and my instructor called in sick and I got yet another instructor, Doug Oswald, who was fantastic! I thought I was never so happy for someone to be sick in my whole life! Again, I hinted to Doug that my instructor sucked! And, that I would welcome the opportunity to continue working with him (Doug). I was actually figuring it out, al biet I did have some bad habits to break.
The next morning I was hoping to have word that Doug would be my permanent instructor, that is the only reason that I didn't go to see Fo (yes, I know its a weird name) the head honcho. But, everytime I went to look for Fo, Fo was nowhere to be found. I figured that he only showed up when he knew that all of the students were in class. When we had a break - he locked himself in a bathroom stall for 15 minutes until the coast was clear. Anyway, on Friday morning there he was again, Mike Lancman, and I became sick to my stomach. But, by Friday Mike had eased up on me and I thought that maybe, just maybe I could work with him and be successful. Still he made me a nervous wreck - and I'm certain that it was intentional.
The following Monday, I drove with one of my fellow students that had the unfortunate opportunity to have rode with me on my first day and witness the badgering and bombarding verbal assault I endured. Knowing that Mike Lancman was not one to hand out compliments, I asked the student what he thought of my progress - he said 100x better!
The problem with this 2 week (14 day straight) program is once you get behind 2 days, you remain behind 2 days. There is no way to catch up. So, while I continued to make progress, I had already lost 2 days. I had been through 2 evaluations where I was scored for my driving on a scale of 1-2-3. Mike couldn't give me a break - I think he was determined to get rid of me. He gave me mostly 1's and a very few 2's. Then they brought me into a meeting where I was finally able to catch up with Fo. I was told that I was behind schedule - I thought, "well, no s**t!" And, I said can I say something? That is when I told Fo about my first 2 miserable days with Mike Lancman, and explained that that was why I was 2 days behind in my progress. I also told him that I had asked several other instructors for additional help in different areas and each and every time was denied. Yet, they try to promote themselves as "there to help", HA! Mike, then spoke up and said, "can I say something in my own defense. You shifted better on your first day then you did yesterday." Lie! At the conclusion of that meeting I demanded a copy of my evaluation. The first sentence in the comments from my evaluation was "I had made a lot of improvement on my shifting", but I just kind of let it go - Mike knew he was lieing to cover his own butt and he knew that I knew he was lieing. That is when I was told that Wednesday morning (of my second week) I would be taking my driving test.
Everybody be forewarned - if you are asked to take your driving test on Wednesday (not Thursday) you are scheduled to be eliminated from the program. So, on Wednesday I was given yet another instructor, Paul, to perform my driving test. As Paul was filling out my report I was reading it upside-down. He was giving me 3's on a lot of things. He only gave me a few 1's in areas that I knew I needed work. Once again the 2 days that in the beginning had I had a decent instructor that was not gender biased I could have made up. I asked for a copy of my written driving test and was told that "it was the property of Schneider", no doubt because they are affraid of lawsuits. So, I was told that I would have to go home and if I went to another school and paid for that I could come back to Schneider and do it all again. Then I was handed a bill for $3550 for 11 days! What?!? I was promised that I would have a CDL when I finished the program by my recruiter. I got an instructor that hates women and knows if you block someone's learning progress for 2 days in the beginning the likelihood of them ever catching up is slim to none and that on the third day it's to late to change anything. I was set up to fail. I was told that if I needed anything, including extra help - just ask and I was denied. And, now they want me to pay a bill for $3550 for something that I never received? Not a chance!
What I didn't tell Schneider was that I had personal relationships with some of the finest Litigators in Chicago, because I had previously been a legal admin. And, before Schneider will see a G-D dime from me I will file suit, with damages and attorney fees, as well as a separate complaint with the EEOC for gender discrimination! It will cost them far more than $3550 plus my attorney fees for how the did me!
Last but not least by any means is . . . of an original class of 84 with only 6 female students and all 6 female students making it through to day 11. On the 11th day the only people they sent home were 3 of the 6 girls! The people that remained (and we did call them) received the extra help that we had been asking for for 2 weeks!