I'm Not Angry. I'm Not Angry.

I’ve been sitting here for the past few minutes, working with some graphics in Adobe Photoshop and trying to convince myself that I’m not angry. I haven’t had much success at the latter.
Ray called us today, and was a bit pissy. This is why I’m struggling.
More and more, neither Mara nor I much care for Ray’s attitude. We admit that we’ve made mistakes. Hell, the last six weeks were like marching uphill through molasses. We freely admit that there is a lot of room for improvement. But we don’t think Ray realizes that for two people who have been hamstrung by food poisoning, transmission repairs and snow, snow and more snow, we haven’t done too badly. Our hope in the coming six weeks is not one of “oh, we hope we can get off of our asses and do our jobs the way Ray thinks we should,” but of “we hope we’re finished with food poisoning, truck repairs and fucking snow.”
I’ve begun to wonder if our biggest problem with Ray is that he is under the mistaken impression that he is somehow in a position of authority over us. My irritation with that hangs upon the definition of “authority.” Now, I fully realize that in a job situation the person you report to is largely considered your immediate superior, but this does not mean that they are necessarily “Authority”. I think Ray believes that this is our relationship with him, that he is Authority. And since he tends to irritate us by the way he does certain things and because of certain expectations that he, this means in his eyes that we have “a problem with Authority.”
I don’t see Ray as Authority. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to hold the opinion that no one has ever been in a position of authority over me. In my jobs, I have always perceived a partnership. By accepting that job, I have agreed to be bound by certain rules, and that means that the person who supervises the area or process that I, as an employee, am involved in has the final say in all matters pertaining to that area or process. They are the one in charge. I’m fine with that. After all, that is part of the terms of my employment.
However, this does not mean that this person has authority over me. Whatever authority this person may have over me has been granted to them by me solely by my consent. In short, I have agreed to follow this said person’s orders to the extent that they are reasonable and pertain to my job. That implies, to my mind, a partnership. Said person could not do their job if I refused to do mine. I could not do my job without their instruction and arbitration. We work together to achieve a stated goal, with them naturally having the final say in all matters pertaining to the work.
These definitions are especially important in the trucking industry. Almost every dispatcher I have ever had has considered himself my boss, or at least my immediate superior. But if you talk to truck drivers, you will find very few who think of their dispatchers in this way. In the trucking industry, a dispatcher is largely a glorified go-between. Especially in a company such as U.S. Xpress, where loads are assigned by the computer, and the dispatcher largely exists to pass them on to the drivers. Yes, dispatchers are also there to deal with driver related problems as they arise, including late loads and customer problems. But they are not by any stretch of imagination the final authority over drivers, and therefore should not think so highly of themselves.
With our dedicated run, Ray is more than just a dispatcher. I admit that. He is the final arbiter concerning U.S. Xpress’ interaction with the customer whose freight we carry on a dedicated basis. However, Ray does not have the authority to fire us. And therefore, he is not in a position of authority over us.
Yes, Ray. Mara and I both have a problem with authority. There’s a reason for that. But perhaps you should realize that this is because you are not in a position of authority over us. We defer to your expertise in regard to the customer and the loads that we pull for them, but that is the extent of it. If we are not doing our jobs, return us to regular fleet. We both have plenty of experience, and are not bound in any way to U.S. Xpress. We like it where we are, and we like this dedicated run, but we have plenty of options. I’m certain there are a lot people waiting for a vacancy.

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