"The Road Home" Podcast

Episode 19: You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

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Episode 19: You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

You hear a ton of horror stories from Youtube and Facebook about how awful truck driving is or how awful a particular company is. As a new driver it's terrifying to hear so many people giving ominous warnings about life in the trucking industry. I'm here to tell you it's safe to ignore these people, and here's why.

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Transcript: You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

Hey folks, I'm Brett Aquila with TruckingTruth.com and welcome to another episode of our podcast 'The Road Home' where we help new drivers prepare for life on the road.

Today I want to talk about finding the right sources for career advice and why there are so many people on the Web trying to convince the world that trucking is a lousy job or that their company isn't treating them fairly.

So you're considering a career in trucking and you've noticed that Youtube and Facebook and many of the trucking websites out there are filled with horror stories from people who say that trucking isn't treating them fairly. They say they're not making a good living and that their company is a bad company to work for. Many of them will tell you to stay away from trucking altogether.

The scariest part is the sheer volume of complaints out there. There seems to be no end to it. There are thousands of Youtube videos and Facebook posts with one horror story after another. Not only that, but these complaints apply to every major company out there. Every major company out there has a long list of complaints and accusations being thrown their way.

So what's the deal? Is truck driving really just a terrible job? Are the large carriers that hire new drivers really as awful as these people make them sound?

The obvious question is why would these people lie? Why would they make these accusations if they weren't true? That's one of the key questions we're going to address today. If trucking is such a great career then why are there so many haters out there warning you to stay away from the industry altogether?

Let's dive into this and dig up the real truth about truck driving as a career and whether or not you should listen to the doom and gloomers out there.

When you're heading down a challenging new path in life there is going to be a steep learning curve, and trucking is certainly no exception. Learning how to handle that rig is tough enough, but learning to handle the stress, the long hours, and the travelling lifestyle is even more difficult. There are few jobs that are more demanding than truck driving. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment, a lot of nerve, a strong work ethic, and the ability to handle a long list of responsibilities if you want to survive in this business.

To be honest, there are quite a few people who take a shot at trucking that really don't belong there. They're in over their head or they're simply not cut out for this type of job. Maybe they don't have the work ethic. Maybe they're not the independent type that can work through tough challenges on their own. Maybe the long list of responsibilities is more than they can handle. Whatever the reason, they simply don't have what it takes to be a Top Tier Driver in this industry.

Fair But Unequal

Well there's one fundamental truth that you have to understand about the trucking industry. Trucking is a performance-based job. It works a lot like the sports world where the best players get the bulk of the playing time and the highest pay, while the underperformers sit the bench a lot and make far less money.

I would say any system that rewards people based upon their performance is a fair but unequal system. The best performers get the best pay and treatment while the underperformers make less money and get fewer perks. That's fair treatment, but it's certainly not equal treatment.

Now if you're the type that loves a challenge, who loves to compete, and you're excited about getting the opportunity to show people how good you can be then trucking is exactly the kind of thing you're looking for. If you're ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done safely, you're up for the challenge, and you're confident you're going to stand out as a top performer in the end then you're the type of person that's going to thrive in trucking.

Unfortunately most people don't take an ambitious and competitive approach to their career. In fact, many people don't understand that trucking is like that at all. They may have never had a performance-based job or maybe they didn't play competitive sports growing up. They don't really want to compete with the other drivers for better freight and better pay. They don't want to solve tough problems independently or challenge themselves continuously to get better.

A Top Tier Driver who knows what it takes to perform at the highest level can look at any underperforming driver and immediately see why they're falling short of the mark. Ironically, it isn't always apparent to these underperformers that they're causing their own problems.

In fact, if you listen to these underachieving drivers they always seem to believe they're doing a good job, or at least they sound like they're convinced they're doing a good job. And I'm sure some of them really do believe that.

But the reality is that they're underperforming when compared with the Top Tier Drivers. They're not managing their time as efficiently. They're not finding ways to get some of their appointment schedules moved ahead so they can squeeze in more miles each week. They're not taking the tough loads they're being assigned without complaining, but instead are refusing to run certain loads or to run under certain conditions. They're not showing up for all of their appointments on time. They're not communicating their situation well enough with dispatch.

There is a long list of ways a Top Tier Driver can outperform their peers, and most of the time their peers either aren't capable of performing at that level or they're simply not interested in performing at that level. The work ethic and the commitment it takes just isn't there.

So as a new driver coming into the industry you face a rather scary situation. You're hearing this huge chorus of complainers warning you that trucking is a terrible career where you'll be treated unfairly, and a small number of voices like those of us at TruckingTruth who feel the opposite. We feel that trucking is a fantastic career, and it's one we've enjoyed immensely and have had tremendous success with.

So who should you believe? Well let's dive into this a little further and figure it out.

The Success Of Large Carriers

I want you to think about the success the large carriers have had over the years. There are quite a few carriers out there who have hundreds or even thousands of brand new trucks blanketing the nation. Most of them have been around for 50 years or more and their main customers are some of the largest corporations on the planet.

It seems obvious to me that a company with thousands of brand new trucks must have enough freight to utilize those trucks efficiently. It also seems obvious to me that any company that has remained at an elite level for a long time must be very well managed.

When I started out in trucking it never once crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to get great miles or make a great living working for a major carrier. Those thoughts literally never crossed my mind. These large carriers are the best of the best in this industry and I knew they were going to give me an opportunity to go out there and prove to them that I had what it takes to make it in this industry. Not only make it, but perform at an elite level. And that's exactly what I did.

Yet with all of the success I was having and as happy as I was I listened to an endless stream of horror stories from other drivers about how unfair the industry was and how poorly they were being treated. Well that wasn't my experience at all. Mine was quite the opposite in fact. I was getting so many miles I had to beg for a break once in a while. I was always driving fantastic equipment and I was being given a lot of special favors by dispatch that most drivers weren't getting.

So I realized right away that trucking worked exactly like the sports world I grew up in. If you could prove to the people in charge that you were the type of person they could rely on to get the job done and you could outperform your peers then you would get the most playing time. If you couldn't keep up with the better players you were going to spend a lot of time on the bench. It was fair but unequal treatment, and I was 100% up for that challenge.

I love to compete. I love to be given the opportunity to show what I can do because I know I'll outwork the next guy and I know I'll do a better job in the end. I simply won't settle for anything less. I'm going to continue to improve my performance relentlessly until I reach the highest level. That's how I've always been.

If you want to be successful in trucking, or at anything in life that is extremely challenging, you need to seek out the advice and guidance of those who have reached the highest level of success and remained there for a long time.

You wouldn't try to learn to golf from someone who couldn't make their high school golf team. You'd want to learn golf from someone like Tiger Woods. You wouldn't want to learn basketball from someone who sat the bench on their high school team, you'd want to learn from Michael Jordan.

When a driver gives you a bad review of their company or a bad review of the trucking industry in general, what they're really giving you indirectly is a review of their own poor performance. The largest most successful companies in the nation were able to achieve that level of success by utilizing their best performers. They give the most freight to their best drivers, an average amount of freight to their average drivers, and those who aren't performing very well get whatever is left over at the end of the day, if there is anything at all.

No matter what the endeavor there are going to be people who succeed at a high level and there are going to be people who fail spectacularly. If you want to have success in trucking you need to follow the advice of those who have had success for a long period of time and avoid the people who are always complaining that they're not getting the same miles or great treatment that the top drivers are getting.

Every company out there has a few great drivers, a bunch of average drivers, and a few underachievers. You have to decide whether or not you're ready to get out there and compete to be one of those top tier drivers. If you're up to the challenge then seek out those who have achieved the level of success you're hoping to achieve and follow their advice. The fact that you're listening to a podcast from TruckingTruth means you're in the right place if you want to have success in this industry.

Don't fall for the gloom and doom scenario that the underachievers are trying to convince you of. Don't let the underachievers discourage you. Trucking isn't the problem. Their company isn't the problem. Their own poor performance is the problem. Follow the lead of the top performers so that you'll find that same level of success and in the end you can kick back, relax, and enjoy The Road Home.

I'm Brett Aquila. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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