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Commitment

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Old School's Comment
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There was a new member in here tonight who kind of raised some eyebrows by being awkwardly bold enough to ask for us to give them some money in hopes that they could go to truck driving school. It's not the first time we've had a request like this, and I'm quite sure it won't be the last. We live in desperate times in a way, there are more folks not working than anytime I can remember in my lifetime, and anyone who starts looking for a job is sure to find that there is a need for truck drivers.

I've known hard times, and I understand how folks can let their desperate situations in life push them into doing and or saying things they regret.

But I want to address something about starting out in this career that I believe is a major cause for so many failures, and for our unusually high turn-over rates in the industry. Very few people realize what kind of commitment it takes to make a successful start as a truck driver. There are a thousand things that will trip you up as you try to get started. Have any of you ever tried to ride a bull? There comes this moment where something inside you takes over and you are suddenly "all in." If that "commitment" doesn't kick in before they open the gate you are destined to get "thrown." Oh you will probably get thrown even if you are "all in," but the difference is that you won't allow that violent halt to your success stop you from trying it again and again until you can stay on that beast for the full eight seconds.

If you've ever known a professional "bull rider" you have probably know a person that was "fearless." I've known a few and they weren't big strapping guys like you would think they would be - they were actually rather small, but they were all heart and commitment. They were just as tough mentally as they were physically, but the mental part was the part that really held the key to their success. They have a drive and a determination that far exceeds what the average person has. That bull can throw them on the ground repeatedly with all kinds of force and they just keep getting back on. If they have to go to the hospital for repairs and take some time off for recovery, they will still be plotting in that determined mind of theirs as to how they are going to conquer that bull after they get out of physical therapy and can walk without their crutches!

They have a commitment to their passion that is undaunted by setbacks and disappointments. It isn't merely a profession to them, it is their passion. I submit that that same type of commitment is needed to make a go of it as a rookie truck driver.

The gentleman who was in here asking for some donations was unwilling to be bound by a contractual agreement with a company who was willing to take a long shot chance on him by helping him to get his CDL , and then putting him to work out there on the open road. That might be okay for a person who had the foresight or the good fortune to have saved the scratch needed to pay for private schooling, but a person who is not willing to take the effort to look into grants, or take the time and effort to endure the application process, and the consequential waiting game for the funding is generally lacking the commitment needed to be successful at this profession anyway. It is that same missing quality in them that makes them consider a one year commitment to a company, as a way of paying them back for their amazing generosity, to be a form of "slave labor."

We've all heard that phrase "having some skin in the game." It carries some weight when trying to get started as a rookie driver. Even if you go through a Company-Sponsored Training program and you don't have a big financial investment you have still got a commitment to honor - you have "skin in the game." Someone trusted you and gave you your first shot - it is only honorable that you do what you committed to.

You see, trucking is a tough field to get started in. It will throw you a new curve ball every day. It has challenges like no other career. You are completely separated from your family and friends while also facing incredible odds and alarming new obstacles, sometimes hour by hour. It can be dangerous, lonely, frustrating, and frightening. It is also very rewarding, but you probably wouldn't know that if you are just reading online reviews about it.

If I had all kinds of extra money laying around that I just wanted to give out to folks who couldn't afford to go to private truck driving school, I still would not give it out to folks like the one I'm referring to in this post. You see. that lack of commitment was so obvious in them that I know that trucking will eat them alive. It would actually be a disservice to both them and the industry to put them out there knowing that they have no "skin in the game." If you take an analytical look at the way that some of the successful folks in this forum made their start, and see how they were "all in," you will get a good "snapshot" of what it takes to not only survive that first year, but also to be able to thrive.

Commitment... it is the secret ingredient for success.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rolling Thunder's Comment
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This guy. Nailed it.

Jessica A-M's Comment
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Good post as always, Old School.

Steve L.'s Comment
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Thank you Old School. I Took this as a positive message for us rookies who sometimes question ourselves yet persevere. Have a great day!

Curtis J.'s Comment
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Wise words from a wise man.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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OS, as always, wisdom from a man who has been around the block more than once and has the commitment and humility to learn and apply that knowledge turning it into success.

That post is dead on and to quote good ol Stone Cold Steve Austin " ,,,,,,and that's the bottom line, ,,,,,,"

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Yeah... What everyone else said :)

Pat M.'s Comment
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Great post Old School.

I want to also add that this type of attitude works in any job. With this kind of attitude you can go far. The possibilities are endless.

Ken S.'s Comment
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While having not read the other persons remarks it seems to me that there's some sort of entitlement thinking going on where everybody makes the team nobody has to sit on the sidelines and maybe not play,most of us [from what i've read] have to work for what we want,and when we get it,it feels good because we EARNED it,i myself will keep on working for that chance to play on the open road ,the time wiil come i can almost taste it,ken

Fatsquatch 's Comment
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It is that same missing quality in them that makes them consider a one year commitment to a company, as a way of paying them back for their amazing generosity, to be a form of "slave labor."

Maybe it's just my own mentality, or my age, or maybe even a combination of the two, but I just don't get that form of thinking at all. When looking at the grand scheme of things across your whole working life, what's one year? It's a drop in the bucket. So the company who trains you "owns" you for a year. So what? Once that year is over (which happens so fast it'll make your head spin in this industry), your life and your career are your own and you can write your own ticket--assuming you get through that first year clean, that is. And who knows? You might even find you like who you work for and want to stay. Even if you don't, that year of experience opens so many doors it's not even funny, and the options available to you are virtually endless.

I went through company-sponsored training , with the standard contractual obligation to work for the company for a year. I ended up staying for two and a half years. I might even have stayed longer, but things changed drastically and the company became a total stranger compared to what it was, and I moved on to another company, where I've been extremely happy for the past year. That's the beauty of this industry. The opportunities for good experienced drivers are there for the taking. "Surrendering" a year of your working life for that kind of potential is a no-brainer to me.

Or maybe I'm just weird.

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.

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