The Fork In My Road, My 1st Post

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Leviathan's Comment
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Hey everyone. I've been lurking here for a bit now, reading advice and trying to wrestle with an ugly decision. First, a super short backstory -

I'm a father of three and husband of 12 years. I'm 41 this April, and spent nearly half my life with my wife and family. I've been a stay at home dad for seven years due to the economy and my 10 year long career in the office moving out of state. The financial burdens this has caused has done damage to me, but more importantly it's destroyed my marriage. My wife told me last week that she wants a divorce. I'm apparently going to lose the only family and support I have, and if I don't find a way to start over, I'm going to end up homeless. Pretty great, eh?

Obviously, the head space I'm in is terrible, and taking on any new job is probably something everyone will think I shouldn't do, but there's no choices left for me. It's do, or die pretty much. That's what lead me here...to wrestle with the decision to go into trucking to make ends meet and hopefully provide for a family that soon won't want me anyway. (My kids always will, but I don't know that I have any hope of fixing it with my wife)

Am I fooling myself with looking at this industry? Most people won't hire a stay at home dad, let alone pay them a living wage. If I can't find a way to survive this, then there's not much point in trying. Trucking looks like a viable way out and forward, even if the time away from my kids is going to grind my already broken heart.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Hey Aaron, I feel for you. You're in a bad place in life and it's something everyone has gone through at one point or another. My main focus of research on this site has been starter companies and spousal support. The one thing I've gathered is that trucking will not save a marriage on the rocks. A family has to be on the same page for it to work and you have to be of clear mind while learning your trade and practicing it, for your safety and the public's safety. You stated that you've been unemployed for 7 years and your wife just recently sprung a divorce on you. Is her unhappiness coming from a financial standpoint or is their more to it? I only ask because 7 years is a long time to just all of a sudden be at this point. Another question to consider is, are you happy in your marriage? It's a tough question, but one I've wrestled with at different points in my marriage.

The other common thread in this forum is that everyone here LOVES what they do. I say that to point out that you can do this because you have to, but if that's the only reason, you may find yourself at square one within a year or two. There are many companies that pay well and provide many advancement opportunities to their employees. I don't know where you live, but companies like Amazon and Walmart are everywhere and they don't look at experience at all. I know because I've worked for both. Pass a background and drug test and you have a start date.

There are always choices, Aaron. That's what makes this country so great. A door closes and 4 more open. You simply have to work with what you have. Don't focus on what you don't have, that's a waste of time. Ambition and inspiration are the only tools you need at this point. I wish you the best of luck on your search.

Leviathan's Comment
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You stated that you've been unemployed for 7 years and your wife just recently sprung a divorce on you. Is her unhappiness coming from a financial standpoint or is their more to it? I only ask because 7 years is a long time to just all of a sudden be at this point. Another question to consider is, are you happy in your marriage? It's a tough question, but one I've wrestled with at different points in my marriage.

It's primarily financial. You could spiral it back and find linked problems of course - Stress from finances leads to distance in the relationship, no money for gifts or outings together, intimacy wanes, bitterness sets in, and after years of complaining with no resolution....The wife just wants out. She doesn't care that I've been the day care provider, the cook, and the dish washer for this long. She's not happy with me anymore and says she has no feelings left for me, wants to move on. I have a fleeting hope that if I can find work (and I'm looking elsewhere for now) that I might have a hope of fixing things, but that's a long shot I'm not stupid enough to bet on.

As for me, I love my wife and kids, very much. The last thing I want to do is lose them, and I'm willing to sacrifice whatever I need to in order to make things work and provide for them. At the very least, to be a father my kids can be proud of. No matter what happens with her and I, I want to be there for them especially. If that sacrifice means a life on the road for a year or two before I can get something local, then that'll be what I try to do. I can say without question that OTR can not and will not be my entire life. I had a grandfather that did that, and he died on the road in an accident. Sure it could happen local too, but at least that risk with adequate home time is acceptable to me. Gone months at a time tho? Not so much. I don't need to make 100k a year to be happy (but knowing my addiction to money, who knows how I'll feel eventually about that), just enough to provide a future for my family and eventually retire some day.

Currently, I live in NW Ohio, but will be moving to Wisconsin. (She's taking the kids there, so I don't have a choice but to follow unless I want things to get ugly. That's not good for the kids) I've looked into places like walmart, and so far I've had no luck finding any that provide training/CDL assistance, or that don't require a CDL or experience. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places since I've seen that sentiment mentioned here a few times.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Walmart does not sponsor training. They require 30 months experience. You may have trouble with company sponsored CDL training because they look into work history for performance and consistency. Apply For Paid CDL Training

That link will let you apply to numerous paid training programs at once and the correspondences will begin flooding in.

The other part to consider is, how will you family get along with you being gone. This is the part I struggle with as well. Like you, I handle most of the house stuff because my work schedule allows it and my wife's doesn't.

I also recommend reading Rob's local diary under the CDL training diaries section. Being local gives you no home time. You work 14 hours, sometimes more. You have to hustle to get your work load done in that time and leaves you enough time to eat, shower and sleep before doing it again.

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.
Leviathan's Comment
member avatar

The other part to consider is, how will you family get along with you being gone. This is the part I struggle with as well. Like you, I handle most of the house stuff because my work schedule allows it and my wife's doesn't.

I also recommend reading Rob's local diary under the CDL training diaries section. Being local gives you no home time. You work 14 hours, sometimes more. You have to hustle to get your work load done in that time and leaves you enough time to eat, shower and sleep before doing it again.

My kids will hate it at first. I don't know how they'll adjust over time. My wife? I think she'd be glad to have me gone, sadly.

I'll read Rob's diary, thanks for the suggestion. I'd heard local drivers can be a pain with home time, but I've also heard of instances where it's not so bad, so I'm kinda torn. The consistent message I read is that it's way more stressful due to driving intercity, so that's a consideration too.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm only in my 20's and am definitely not an expert on this. However, I think you should just focus on yourself for now. Believe me, getting started in this industry is super difficult and stressful. If you have other things on your shoulders it will make it even more difficult.

Your only chance is to let your wife have the freedom she wants, let her hopefully realize not having your lazy butt around is an inconvenience. And overtime, prove to her how you have changed and maybe she will come back.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Because of the long hours that truck drivers tend to work, most companies are going to want to see some job history and legally have to check back 3 years for a brand new inexperienced driver and 10 years on anyone who has held a truck driving position. Some companies are extremely strict about that work history and some will accept statements regarding what you've been doing in the past years. Maybe your wife would be willing to verify that you've been the childcare provider etc?

Just know that in trucking you will typically work 70 hours a week. With your location (both current and future), you are definitely in the hiring area for the company I drive for. We don't have a CDL school, but if you got say WIOWA funding to pay for your CDL school and obtained your class A, they definitely hire inexperienced drivers, right out of an approved CDL school. The good thing about West Side Transport is they offer Regional home weekly positions to inexperienced drivers after they complete a 30 day company training with one of our trainers.

Another option is Company Sponsored Training. I don't think Prime would offer you a slot, because of the lack of employment history. If you really feel like trucking is for you, I'd apply to all the company sponsored training programs and see what kind of offers you get. They will have to be able to verify what you've been doing the past several years (federal requirement).

Good luck and keep us posted on your decision. We're here to help.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Leviathan's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Susan! I'll do some research on your company in the morning. I've been looking hard at roehl and schnieder, as they both offer paid training and assistance, but I also live right by Owens community college in Ohio, and they have a CDL course I could just as easily take on my own. I have read however that it's easier to get into trucking through a company program than to get your CDL on your own first tho...not sure how accurate that is.

Technically, I run my own online business, so it's not as if I don't work at all? Not sure if that counts. Given the number of interviews I was offered today in my old industry, it seems to be working out...but sadly those kind of wages barely pay bills. Forget putting three kids in school or retiring.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob's Comment
member avatar

If your looking at moving to Wisconsin In the near future I'd postpone school until your moved. You will have a hard time getting time off the road that early to move your stuff, not to mention the cost of transferring your CDL. When I got my Iowa CDL it cost me $56(?) For 8 years. It isn't a whole lot of money, but if money is already tight it's something to consider.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

It's going to take some serious determination and commitment to make it in trucking. The dropout rate is really high. If you don't like the idea of being on the road for long you can normally find work that gets you home on weekends, even at the start of your career.

I would recommend doing some soul searching to make sure you're ready to make a serious move forward in life and really commit to this. Trucking isn't simply a job, it's a lifestyle, and it takes serious commitment to last out there. Read this conversation - it's a great one:

Trucking Takes Commitment

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