Hey guys, I just saw this forum. I wanted to vent a little about Ground. My co workers are all burnt out so I don't want to stress them any more. I'd like some insight from other Ground drivers if their working conditions parallel mine, or even from some ICs. Before I start, I'd like to make a statement that I know I'm not being forced to work here, and I can find other work at any time. It is still nice to vent though. I'll share some background. I started with Ground about a year ago. I had the experience so I put in for Ground primarily as a way to pay for college and just to save up some reserve cash. I was offered a spot at 635 per week salary. I was told operating hours were 8 or 9 hours per day, and that it may be more "occasionally" when volume was high. I was told it would get "a little busy" around Christmas, but only for a week. I was told the IC would provide benefits after 6 months, the availability of unpaid vacation before 6 months, and paid after 6 months (one consecutive week a year). This all sounded fair to me. So far it's all been lies. I was told when I hired I'd get a training period of a few weeks, and then slowly get more and more stops per day until I was up and going. I had 2 days training, then was thrown into a truck with a full days worth of stops (rural route, 60 stops). Here's a typical day. We run out of a small terminal, so we all load our own truck. I leave at 5am and drive 1.5 hours to the terminal. We keep our vehicles at home and we are responsible for all of our own maintenance. I have a credit card provided by the IC for fuel and maintenance. I load at the terminal and typically have 50-70 stops. I drive to my route, which is 1.5 hours back, and at this point I'm fast enough to finish in 4 or 5 hours, which is as fast as anyone can do it, being very rural with far apart stops. It wouldn't be bad if this was my gig every day. The IC is no where to be found. He has a "manager" who is also a driver that runs everything. He has slowly been giving me more and more of his stops and leaving earlier and earlier. My own work area only has 30 or 40 stops, and the other 10 or 20 are actually his. He claims he needs time to do "manager stuff". Some days I work 13 hours, and its not even peak. Peak = 16 or 17 hours. I got slammed on my DOT time several times and the manager got mad at me because I don't cheat the scanner like everyone else. My login time is when I start driving at 5 am, not when I finish loading. Another frustrating thing are vehicle problems. We run out of a small fleet of cargo vans with no spare vehicle. I've been in a uhaul rental for weeks on end. One day I had a 26 foot uhaul and couldn't deliver about 1/3 of my stops because the roads are so bad and very narrow. Many of the roads I deliver on can only be traversed with a small cargo van. I ended up having several dozen DNA's because I literally could not fit down the roads but of course I got yelled at. I've seen a few drivers operating out of terminals in the city, and they have spare vehicles, a more routine schedule, etc. Several times, I've thought about just parking the van and walking home. I keep giving the IC and the manager the benefit of the doubt, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of more and more. As a group, we work at least 50 hours per week, which is a good week. A huge problem we have too, is that the terminal is an hour and a half away from the routes. If we miss an outbound package, or a customer calls in furious about an 04/07, they expect us to drive up after we get off, drive back, and deliver the package, which takes about 3.5 hours. In fact, I did that one day and got slammed on going over DOT time.. It ended up being a personal record 18 hour day. Another frustrating thing is that I refuse to bend the rules. People do various things that I don't think are ethical, but I don't say anything. I feel like I'm a good and honest employee, though I make my share of mistakes of course, but I'm getting more and more burnt out. It's impossible to get a day off, even if you're sick. The IC is not around. The manager keeps taking shorter and shorter days... It seems like on a daily basis everything is ready to collapse. I know it's my own fault for staying, but employment opportunities are slim pickings around here, plus I'm just passing through until I finish school. I feel really crummy for the guys who have been here for years and plan to make this a career. Do I tough it out, or start looking? Last peak was almost unbearable because I dealt with all the above + huge volume, and the next one is right around the corner. Thanks for any insight. God bless.