Confessions of a professional biker

When you think of an “engine”, what is the first image that comes to mind? To him-man? A common bully? Well, it turns out that I am an engine, so I took an online survey. And yes, the results broke my heart.

Of the 100 who responded, the compound engine was uneducated, low-class, rude, and unreliable. Basically the stereotypical criminal you see smoking cigarettes outside a pawn shop, hat upside down, using the f-word a lot, and spitting on the sidewalk.

I have admitted it. I am a motor. I carry other people’s stuff, from their new 60 “HDTV to their sweat-stained mattresses, 40 hours a week. I make about $ 2,850 a month after taxes, drive an old truck, and rent an apartment in a rundown part of town My knuckles and shins are always chipped and I have chronic pain in my back and shoulders, but I don’t have health insurance.

I also have a degree in music and I can play a piano like Rachmaninoff. In college, moving was a weekend job, then a summer job. I graduated in 2005 and am still moving.

You are probably wondering why I continue in this profession. Believe me, my friends and family ask me that all the time. Honestly? I’m good at it. Very good.

As with most industries, there is a hierarchy of company personnel. We movers would call it a “pecking order.” I prefer to work in a 3 man team so I will use that as an example.

The one who moves the lowest rung is a “lumper.” As its name implies, the “lumper” carries boxes and folds the mobile pads; or he’s too inexperienced or too sloppy to be trusted to help carry an antique sideboard or a handcrafted leather sofa. He could smoke and spit on the ground, but then he could be a nice guy who wants to move up the ranks.

On the next step is the “second man”, or simply “# 2”. You have some experience, maybe you even take pride in your work and can carry heavy and / or fragile items up and down stairs and into tight corners. He knows many tricks of the trade, he generally has a pleasant personality, even if he is a little rough around the edges.

On the top rung is the “loader”. (That’s me). I’m the guy who assembles the cargo on the truck so that everything fits together and nothing gets damaged in transit. Believe it or not, loading a truck is a methodical process. It is difficult to wrap and securely place all of the furniture, appliances, boxes, items, and ends of a 5,000-square-foot home in a 2,000-cubic-foot truck, especially when the customer hints at it to go faster and be more careful when Same time. .

And don’t get me wrong, as a porter, I don’t stay in the truck while the “lumper” and number 2 bring me the merchandise. In most movements, I carry my fair share. Also, I am quick to set the pace for the crew. # 2 and I handle every item that is delicate, unwieldy, or precious to the customer. In my 10 years of experience, I have developed a distinctive style for handling difficult items, handling cargo as a whole, leading my team, and interacting with the customer. The results? For one thing, my team always gets a good tip when the job is done. What’s more, other moving companies ask to work with me, and other moving company managers want me to work for them: seriously, they call as headhunters and make me better offers. I can say, with total humility, “I am the rock star of this industry, in this city and in the next.”

So let’s get back to the “engine” stereotype. Sadly, even a talented porter (or No. 2 or the “lumper”) can also be a bastard / junkie / thief, but also the famous pop stars and divas (LiLo, Paris, etc.) that we all know and love. . I’ve worked with guys who robbed the client. One man stole a coin collection, another stole a lawn mower from the warehouse. Honestly, there have been dozens of “incidents” where a colleague of mine has shown zero moral fabric. Scum of the earth.

Being a motor is not glamorous, and there have been times when I was ashamed to say, “I am a motor”, like when I socialize in more exclusive circles: my girlfriend is a scientist and she likes to hang out with that crowd, with me in tow. . But that’s more my personal life … to be a humble engine again.

It’s true that moving has few rewards, which is why the people who move often are the non-rewarding people, as my survey indicated. The few rewards that exist are taken away by guys like me, who give it their all, who realize excellence, in any task.

And no, I don’t plan on being a moving truck loader my entire life. I am making arrangements to buy the moving company I work for now. It is a solid and reputable operation, and most of the problems stem from the high turnover rate of the “accumulators” that come and go. I think I can recruit the best promoters in town and nearby towns – honest guys with positive skills and attitudes who will provide them with great salaries and benefits. It would be worth having superior movers and dominating the other moving companies in town.

I cannot reveal the moving company that I am in the gradual process of buying. If my crews found out, it could disrupt our dynamics. But I can give credit to a couple of moving companies where I received the best training and leadership opportunities. They are Help-U-Move in Tri-Cities, WA ( and Gentle Giant Moving Company in Seattle. I’ll write another article on how things are going once I’m running the show!

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