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Do truck drivers like their jobs? My son will soon be finishing his truck training and will enter the job market so I have been cruising the web looking at different truck sites, (yours, thus far, is the most interesting). I find lots of information on how bad truck driving is, (e.g. health issues, dangerous, bad companies, loads of complaints, and more). What I cannot find are stories or comments from drivers who actually like what they do. So, I ask again, do truck drivers, overall, like their jobs? Any links or resources that talk about a positive view of truck driving would sure be appreciated.
I'll answer your question, and at the end I'll give you a list of good articles and such to look at.
To get right to the core of your question, whether or not someone enjoys trucking, in my opinion, depends on a few key things.
The lifestyle of an over-the-road or regional truck driver is very, very unique. And that's exactly what it is - a lifestyle. It really isn't just a job - it's how you live. You spend an enormous amount of time alone. You almost never know where you will be, nor where you will be heading to, more than 48 hours in advance. Often times much less than that. Many times you will deliver a load and won't know where you will be going next until the information actually comes across your screen. Could be Los Angeles, could be Miami, could be just a short distance from wherever you are at the moment. You just have to roll with it.
There is nobody by your side to help you make decisions. You have to constantly rely on your own judgement and intuition to decide your strategy for managing your time and create a game plan that will allow you to consistently get the job done safely, make good money for yourself and your company, and not get burned out in the process. That is no easy task for sure. There are always a million variables to consider - like traffic, weather, DOT inspections and weigh stations, eating, sleeping, showering, fueling, keeping your logbook legal, getting maintenance done to the truck, and a host of other factors. It takes quite a long time to learn how to juggle everything in a way that suits you best. But then again, there are so many variables and it's such a dynamic environment that more than anything else you're simply 'wingin it'.
So your personality has to be such that you can handle the lifestyle. The most important traits you should have, or learn to develop very quickly, are patience, independence, determination, a good work ethic, a love of adventure, spontaneity, and discipline. I happen to have a good helping of those qualities. In fact, my mom likes to tell people the story of my first day of kindergarten. I started young - I was 4. She was going to walk me out to the bus and I wouldn't let her. I told her I can take care of myself and that I would be embarrassed if she had to walk my out there like a baby. So she had to stay on the porch! LOL! And she did. I was serious!
If you have a strong personality, you like to make your own way through life, you enjoy adventure and challenge, and you have a decent amount of good judgement and common sense, then I would say there is an excellent chance that you will truly enjoy your life on the road. I can honesty say that I've absolutely loved it. It was certainly no bed of roses all the time, but overall it has been amazing. Good money, tons of great experiences, and countless lessons learned. You're providing a tremendous service to people that you can be proud of, you're experiencing this country in a way that most people could only dream of, you're driving big, beautiful trucks, and you're making good money doing it. It's a one of a kind way to make a living and if it suits your personality, you're well on your way to making many of the best memories of your entire life.
This one isn't too difficult. You simply have to understand that trucking companies get paid based on the amount of work that gets done. The more loads they haul, the more miles they run, the more money they make. Now there are obviously laws that both the company and the drivers are responsible for abiding by. But I'll be straight-up with you about something - both the driver and the company stand to make a lot more money by breaking the rules, within reason, than by abiding by them.
Cheating the logbook is a common, everyday practice out there for the vast majority of drivers. If you say you're not a cheater - here's a good chance you're a liar! But if you go too far and get caught cheating too many times, the penalties outweigh the gains. The companies will generally allow you to run as hard as you want to run, again - within reason - as long as you're staying under the radar. You start getting a lot of logbook violations, your company is going to get in trouble for allowing you to run so hard, and they are going to promptly throw you under the bus and probably fire you. I've been fired a number of times for too many violations. Sometimes you hit a string of bad luck and all the things you've been getting away with for so long suddenly catch up to you and you get a few tickets in too short of a period of time. Well, the company is going to blame you - basically say you're an outlaw - and fire you. And I don't blame them. They're usually willing to give you all the miles you want to run so that you, and your company in turn, can make a ton of money together. But if you screw it up, it's on you - not them.
So basically, the more miles you run and the more consistently you are safe and on time:
The laws will try to limit how much you can run, and it's up to you how you're going to handle this scenario. You just have to weigh the risks and rewards and determine how you're going to handle it. You certainly don't have to cheat, but you'll only be running 1/2 - 2/3 of the miles the cheaters are. Therefore, you're going to make less money, your company will make less money, and the best loads with the best miles will be going to those drivers who are willing to run the hardest and make the most money for the company.
Of course you will never hear anyone within the offices of any trucking company in America officially admit to any of this - and that's what 's so great about TruckingTruth - we don't answer to anyone so we can tell it like it is! And that is truly how it is. How you handle this scenario will greatly affect the money you make and how well you get treated. You want special favors like being given great loads fairly consistently, getting an extra day or two off here and there, and maybe a nicer truck or a turn of the cheek when you screw up a tiny bit - you'll have to earn it. I never had any problem with any of this. It made perfect sense to me. A lot of guys want to be treated like gold but never want to go the extra mile to earn that treatment. Those tend to be the grumpy ones that sit around truckstops complaining about how horrible they have it. You earn nothing, you receive nothing.
You will have to deliver in the middle of the night sometimes. You will have to sit for 10 hours waiting to be loaded sometimes. You will have to deliver in downtown Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, and Denver - sometimes in the snow, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes on only 2 hours of sleep, and often times in terrible traffic. Sometimes you will have to help load or unload, sometimes you will have to get the truck worked on and miss out on the shower and the nap you were hoping for, and sometimes you will have to wait an extra day to get home. But if you take the approach that you have to do whatever it takes to always get the job done safely, and be on time whenever possible - which better be almost every single time - then you'll be just fine.
As you can see, I can go on forever and ever. And this is just scratching the surface. You surely saw my book advertised on the site. It has 1000 times the amount of information in it than I can give you here. The entire point of the book is to let new truck drivers know the honest truth about life on the road. I have offered a money back guarantee on this book from day one and I swear on my Father's grave that I have never once been asked for a refund. Not once. It is absolutely crammed with every bit of advice and information I could think of after 15 years on the road to help new drivers learn what it takes to be successful and enjoy life as a truck driver. It will help him avoid tons and tons of mistakes and hard lessons learned. It will also help him understand how the industry works so that he can make good decisions with his career. It's actually pretty funny, too. It has a ton of great stories in it from over the years. And, lastly, my mom really liked it! LOL! It would be a great way for you to help him out - and inexpensive - and you will absolutely get every penny back if you're not happy with it - no questions asked.
I've really enjoyed my years on the road and I would say that most drivers out there do. But some people quickly find out that they are not cut out for it at all - and usually get out pretty quickly. But if it seems like the lifestyle would suit your personality, and you hang in there for a couple years so that you can really learn how it all works, there's an excellent chance that you will have a lot of really fun, adventurous, and rewarding years out there for sure!
I sure hope this helped!
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