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Learning To Take Qualified Advice

By Edited Mar 22, 2014 2 4
Twenty Seven Foot Penske Box Truck(54859)

I should have Listened!

But I DIDN'T Listen.

Learning to recognize, accept, and heed advice from qualified persons is an important thing, and essentially - is vital to your success in whatever business or living venture that you choose to accept or deny it in.  Pride comes before the fall, and this is surely an aphorism worthy of your consideration when you've just been advised on how to do something that you know good and well that you don't know much about, but intend to do anyway.

Basically, I've a bit of a story to share here, and an example of how I FAILED to recognize, heed, and follow qualified advice from a very qualified advisor.  Of course I'm here to tell the tale, but I could have easily passed away from my failure to recognize just how qualified the advice and the advisor that I ignored was.

I'm not being dramatic here - it was really just that foolish of me to ignore  the advice given me from a retired man who'd spent his entire working life doing what I'd never done, but was in the process of attempting to do.  

What in the world am I talking about?  I'm glad you asked, and I'll get right into the story of how I ignored qualified advice, and suffered for it.

I was working in sales for a relocation and storage company in Kaufman, Texas.  I was a salesman, and not a truck driver.  I had no Class B drivers license that would legally allow me to drive a 27 foot box truck across state lines for commercial purposes.  Legality wasn't a big issue for the company that I was working for - getting the job done was, and there was nobody who could take a job that they'd already committed to getting done, and so I was volunteered to be flown out to the State Capital of California, rent a twenty seven foot Penske box truck, find my way to  Placerville from Sacramento, and then back home to Kaufman, Texas.

The load, the personal belongings of a retired truck driver and his wife - located practically on top of a mountain in Placerville; were to be taken to Kaufman and stored until they moved to Paris, Texas.  I'd never once in my life been to California.  I'd never once in my life driven anything half as large as a 27ft Penske box truck, and I wasn't experienced driving any sort of vehicle of any variety in such mountainous regions with such hairpin curves, and absolutely no room for any sort of driving error to speak of.

The homeowner was very friendly, and I'm a talkative guy, so soon he realized that I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and that I really didn't have any business doing it.  When I was done with the loading, eager to successfully return home from a far away place - the man told me something like this:

"Todd, I advise you to head back east to Sacramento, and then head South to Bakersfied before you head East to Texas.  I do, however, see that you want to go home - and I also see that you are the type of young man to not think it wise to head West when home is East.  I only feel like I have to do my part, and tell you the best thing to do, which is what I would do if I were you.  But I'm not you, Todd, I'm just an old truck driver moving to Texas."


Of course the man who knew that I wouldn't be taking his advice was a qualified advisor, in fact, he was so supremely qualified an advisor that he gave his advice, and even knew that it woudlnt' be taken!  I did not head West, and then South before going East from California back to Texas in a truck that I was not licensed, experienced, or qualified even to drive ten feet.  I headed East to go East, and soon I lost my way.  I didn't have a map, I didn't need one, I thought - who needs a map to get home from California?

I got lost - at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  Now, I've no idea if you've ever been to Lake Tahoe, or not.  What I know is that if you are from Texas, and used to driving half ton pickup trucks, and not TWENTY SEVEN FOOT BOX TRUCKS around places like East Texas, that you are not ready to drive even a half ton pickup truck around lake Tahoe, Nevada.  The hills, up and down - are very steep.  There are turns there on that road around Lake Tahoe that make a 90' degree turn seem very mild, and despite the severity and degree of the turn, they also tend to either be going straight up, or seemingly, straight down.

I honestly do not know how I survived, and rather than sleeping that night - I spent the entire night lost, and fearing for my life driving around Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  Have I mentioned yet the consequences for one who made a mistake on these turns and trails around the big lake?

The consequences are death.  The hills are so high that were one to drive off the road - it could possibly be days before you were found.  Nobody from the roads there could get to anyone that drove off the road - such unfortunate persons were likely to have tumbled in an automobile a thousand feet or more - so why bother even?  They would surely have died.

Later on, after returning home alive, and being altogether unable to adequately explain my night of terror to persons who've not experienced such things - the time came to deliver the retired truck driver his belongings for his new home with his wife in Paris, Texas.  Not a word was said to me about what he must have surely know had happened.  He'd only smiled at me, and said, 

"Todd!  You made it!  You did a GOOD JOB!"

I swear to you.  I now try to pay close attention, and to be aware of when I am given qualified advice.



Jun 28, 2011 11:05am
Sometimes, it takes these hard lessons for us to learn. I'm just now reading a book on being trainable, great lessons and mostly am glad you made it safely:)
Jun 28, 2011 4:09pm
Thank You VERY much, vetochemicals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it's sad that sometimes in this economy people could be turned away from much needed jobs for being "overqualified." All that that is is someone being scared that someone is untrainable - because they've held more complicated positions in a better past economy.
Jun 28, 2011 4:09pm
This comment has been deleted.
Aug 8, 2011 4:37pm
My God, you learned a hard lesson but a lesson learned that will make you a better listener for sure. I would be scared too. You did a GOOD job! That's great. I'm sure he understood what you went through. Good article, exciting story and lesson learned.
Aug 8, 2011 4:54pm
Thank you! I literally couldn't explain how frightening that night was - but I tried! I've seldom ever been so frightened for so long as that night!
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