Jobs After Driving

Topic 20960 | Page 1

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Eddie F.'s Comment
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So I've been thinking seriously for a few weeks now about getting my CDL and working OTR. And after reading a slew of articles and posts, I've come to two conclusions.

1) I really, really want to do this. 2) After a year or two, I'll probably be really, really sick of it.

As everyone says, it's not a job, it's a lifestyle; I'd even use the term "adventure." To analogize, a few years back I spent six months living out of a backpack and hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. I had zero hiking experience before I started getting ready and planning, but the adventure bug bit me and I followed it. It was a whale of fun, best thing I've ever done ... but by the end of six months, lemme tell ya, I had no desire to haul that pack anymore.

That's kind of where I am with trucking. I have no wife or kids or mortgage, so I'm free to live for myself, and given that I'm dying to quit my current job, the idea of driving around the country and getting paid for it -- even $40K -- sounds thrilling, especially given that after a year I'll be set up to make bigger money if I want/need to ... having said that, I anticipate that after 12-24 months of living in a cab i'm going to want to move to something more 9-5, home-by-supper.

Yes, I know that switching to regional is an option, but my question is more about what kind of jobs are available on the dispatch/front office side. One of my best buddies is a dispatcher with a smaller company, and his job seems pretty sweet -- he makes upper-end driver money, and is home by 7 most every night. But, he had something like ten years experience before he took that job, and he's been with that company for a long time, and didn't have a lot of insights into what the market is like.

So for you guys at big places like Swift or Schneider or whatever -- what kinds of jobs could I hope to be getting into after a couple years' loyal service? I actually have an MBA that I've never used (looong story) ... would an academic background like that combined with a year of experience set me up to be a dispatcher, or are they gonna want me to have a lot more miles under my belt?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

At CFI they are always looking for their drivers who want to come off the road to be dispatchers. The HQ is in Joplin MO. That is where all the office jobs are. Then there are local driving jobs. Look around your area to see the many different driving jobs available to you. Companies like Swift and Schneider both have many driving opportunities. Many of the larger companies have some sort of local driving gigs out of their terminals. Then again you may come to love the road.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Eddie...all of the DMs, safety manager, one of the planners and the terminal manager I work with and for are all drivers.

Many of them still drive from time to time. So the realm of possibility exists for you to land a desk job managing drivers.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
1) I really, really want to do this. 2) After a year or two, I'll probably be really, really sick of it.

rofl-3.gif

That's funny!

I'd even use the term "adventure."

I've said that many times myself. Trucking, especially OTR trucking, is definitely an adventure. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there doing it who really aren't the adventurous type or it's not the type of adventure they're looking for so they're not really cut out for the job.

I actually have an MBA that I've never used (looong story) ... would an academic background like that combined with a year of experience set me up to be a dispatcher , or are they gonna want me to have a lot more miles under my belt?

Oh geez........an MBA is going to help you a lot when it comes to landing any office job I would think. Of course some might consider you overqualified, which I always thought was strange, but it's a thing.

Honestly, I don't think being a driver helps people land office jobs very often. I don't think there are a lot of companies hoping that drivers will come off the road and work in the offices, but certainly some do, as Big Scott mentioned.

I think the fact that you'll find a lot of former drivers in the offices of trucking companies is really more a matter of drivers looking for the path of least resistance to an office job once they decide to come off the road. It's not that they landed the job because they were drivers. They landed the job because they already worked at the company for quite some time, they had proven themselves to be valuable employees, so the company decided to give them a shot. It's also the path of least resistance for the company when they know you and they like you. It eliminates a huge unknown versus bringing in an outsider.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
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