Truck Driving: An Escape From Poverty Or A Silly Fantasy?

Topic 10657 | Page 3

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Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

I am really thinking on doing the otr thing. I have a job lined up I have my CDL. I been a factory worker and school bus driver all my life. I am 55 years old no kids at home. Wife that is very supportive on this new adventure in my life. Back to the new career. It's 5 days out 2 home. Little nervous is this tipacal. An thoughts would be great. Thank you. To all the truckers out there that get the job done

Not sure where I want to start this. I've been browsing this site for a few days and a lot of my preconceived notions as to what truck driving is and what we've all seen in movies have already been blown away. Still, I'm not sure what to expect. After what I've been through and the life-long poverty I've endured the idea of getting paid even 12$ an hour blows me away, and I know trucking pays a LOT more than that. I'm not looking to match an attitude or take on some identity or lifestyle. I just want a living wage. But is truck driving worth it? I've been trying to find non CDL driving and delivery jobs in Phoenix but they are few and far between, and I'm still waiting to hear back from the one place I had an interview with. I wanted to do it for a year so I could tell whether I would enjoy driving for a living as much as I thought I would. I love driving. I love road trips. I LOVE maps (I collect them) and the one job I've had that wasn't silly minimum wage was a merchandising job with a company called CPM where I was left alone, worked without a supervising "boss" and had to complete tasks on time within a certain amount of time. The best part of all of that was the driving cross county and I didn't even get paid for that part! So since I don't seem to be getting any bites and most of the hooks are beyond my licencing Its starting to look like it might be a good idea to just jump the gun and go straight for CDL trucking. I know a lot of companies offer free training (but at what catch) and trucking certainly seems like an industry where the labor seems to have a fair bit of power and independence. Worlds away from what I've been doing wearing silly costumes and paper hats and selling people gas or office supplies, or what have you for 8.50$ because I'm just a 22 year old kid.

But still....I'm unsure and need advice. What kind of people drive trucks? Who will I have to deal with day to day? I'm not looking to enter a high school like environment where I have to "prove myself" to a bunch of guys. I just want to drive, and make a living wage, and provide for the one I love so they can be happy. All the technical stuff, the driving, in different places all the time, that I know I can handle. I might even be able to find a job that only runs me locally, or within the state so I can be home almost every night! Maybe I can even find a place that works me weeks out of the month and the 4th week I get off. (stop me if I'm being silly.) Point is, what can I realistically expect to find. Being as tired of my life as I am I'd tend to view this thing through rose colored lenses. I'd hate to waste a bunch of peoples time getting training in CDL, only to hate it because I'm only home 3 days a month, and have all this money but can never take the person I love out to dinner because I'm never there, or am constantly harassed because I'm not "dude" enough to drive a truck in the eyes of the people I work with.

Honestly, what can I expect, and should I even be taking this seriously?

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Little nervous is this tipacal. An thoughts would be great. Thank you.

Every decent driver starts out like that - it's very typical. It's the over confident ones who usually really screw things up. A little nervousness and respect for what you're getting into will help you be cautious and safe. It will be really tough for a few months or six.

I think you already realize this, but it is going to be a huge adjustment. The long hours, and solitude are the first things that get to most people. I decided early on that if I was going to be away from my family I was going to be giving it my all while I was on the road. After all, that's who I do this for. That approach helped me learn to be successful at it too.

Check out this podcast and see if it is helpful for you.

Stop The Fear And Doubt

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Brian. Yes, as Old School pointed out, being a little nervous is completely common and normal, and good. I started my venture into trucking on my 66th birthday and went through the entire progression: CDL learner's permit, CDL driving school, company training, two weeks on the road with a trainer. Now I'm 3 weeks solo and still nervous in certain situations. But with every load I deliver on time and safely, I get an increasing level of confidence. The industry needs guys like you who are older, wiser and have common sense. In fact, I was told that my age was a positive factor to my company. So, go for it, but remember it's not easy getting started. It was a lot of hard work for me getting started, but now I'm proud that I did it.

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.
Alexis 's Comment
member avatar

Hi Matthew! Are u still on here? I need some help too & your article title caught my attn..i didnt want to make my own post i guess lol! This is one of reasons i want to be a driver, but i also have several other reasons! Theyre all written down where i can read them everyday. Ive been working towards this goal for months. I applied to school,i wasent surprised they said no. And now im anxious to apply to the others..but obviously i have to lol! My problem is my work history, its a bit unstable, so i can see why they didnt want me. How can i fix this??? I cant change my past. How can i prove that nothing in life means more to me, then a chance to have a good career?? I live in a small town in California, everything is expensive & ****ed up here. Life has been a struggle for years. I have an education, ive tried community school here. Seems like nothing has gone anywhere. I was about to completely give up, when last August i learned that i can be sponsered for driving school & i just fell in love the more i researched it. I also understand how difficult it can be, but im fully confident i can handle this lifestyle. Im smart, friendly, extremely driven individual, want to travel, sick of Cali & rent, sick of everything lol! What can i do to show a company how serious i am? I dont want to miss a great opportunity when i know i will do well & theres no opportunities where i live. Thus reason some of job changes; trying to find my way. Had some other probs too, but i fixed those. Some werent even my fault & then i had crazy roommates,etc. Its just been hell of ride & i want to get the **** out of here & make myself useful! Im totally clean record, not drug user. Im a hard,efficeint worker; not a 1/2 ass. I already dont need much sleep, very safe driver my whole life. Both my parents were police officers. I was A & B student in school. I LOVE to learn, am sharp minded etc..how can u help me? Anyone? Advice?p>

Not sure where I want to start this. I've been browsing this site for a few days and a lot of my preconceived notions as to what truck driving is and what we've all seen in movies have already been blown away. Still, I'm not sure what to expect. After what I've been through and the life-long poverty I've endured the idea of getting paid even 12$ an hour blows me away, and I know trucking pays a LOT more than that. I'm not looking to match an attitude or take on some identity or lifestyle. I just want a living wage. But is truck driving worth it? I've been trying to find non CDL driving and delivery jobs in Phoenix but they are few and far between, and I'm still waiting to hear back from the one place I had an interview with. I wanted to do it for a year so I could tell whether I would enjoy driving for a living as much as I thought I would. I love driving. I love road trips. I LOVE maps (I collect them) and the one job I've had that wasn't silly minimum wage was a merchandising job with a company called CPM where I was left alone, worked without a supervising "boss" and had to complete tasks on time within a certain amount of time. The best part of all of that was the driving cross county and I didn't even get paid for that part! So since I don't seem to be getting any bites and most of the hooks are beyond my licencing Its starting to look like it might be a good idea to just jump the gun and go straight for CDL trucking. I know a lot of companies offer free training (but at what catch) and trucking certainly seems like an industry where the labor seems to have a fair bit of power and independence. Worlds away from what I've been doing wearing silly costumes and paper hats and selling people gas or office supplies, or what have you for 8.50$ because I'm just a 22 year old kid.

But still....I'm unsure and need advice. What kind of people drive trucks? Who will I have to deal with day to day? I'm not looking to enter a high school like environment where I have to "prove myself" to a bunch of guys. I just want to drive, and make a living wage, and provide for the one I love so they can be happy. All the technical stuff, the driving, in different places all the time, that I know I can handle. I might even be able to find a job that only runs me locally, or within the state so I can be home almost every night! Maybe I can even find a place that works me weeks out of the month and the 4th week I get off. (stop me if I'm being silly.) Point is, what can I realistically expect to find. Being as tired of my life as I am I'd tend to view this thing through rose colored lenses. I'd hate to waste a bunch of peoples time getting training in CDL, only to hate it because I'm only home 3 days a month, and have all this money but can never take the person I love out to dinner because I'm never there, or am constantly harassed because I'm not "dude" enough to drive a truck in the eyes of the people I work with.

Honestly, what can I expect, and should I even be taking this seriously?

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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