Truck Driving For The Ex-IT Pro

Topic 15078 | Page 1

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:
RocketMan's Comment
member avatar

The short version: I am at a crossroads in my life. I bring home about $500/week now. I am thinking about changing to driving and I am weighing if I can really pull it off. And I don't have a realistic idea of how likely I am to bring home enough to pay my student debt and child support obligations. I am in the hole $80000 as it is.

If I could have confidence that I could get my head above water eventually, I think trucking would be a good fit for me. Because I would have confidence and see that what I do actually pays off.

The long version: I have enough kids to have a basketball team, but they are older. I am going through divorce #2.

I have a lot of education and I enjoy to teach. For my living, I am a web programmer (LAMP, WordPress, xml, *anything else that comes up*) and computer support for a group at a University. Our grant is up for renewal and I don't even know if I will be employed next year.

I sit in front of a computer, day in and day out. I feel like the work is mind numbing and I pretty much cannot concentrate, so my productivity is low.

I work at a laptop (desktop replacement) staring out the same window every single day. I work from home, so my office is in my bedroom. Most of my work has been low pay tech jobs for the past 20 years and I don't have confidence that it will ever get better.

I feel like I am in hell.

I have seriously thought about driving a truck for 7 years now. To do so, I have to take the plunge and put it all on the line.

Is there anyone here who had a similar experience and was able to pull it off?

In another thread Trucker vs. Computer programmer? Two jobs lined up. there was a suggestion to start another thread with the title "Truck driving for the ex-IT pro". Shout out to Matt S. for the suggestion.

Kenneth L.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I'm that person that's pulling it off. I was in IT doing computer programming and systems admin for about 25 years. Been programming longer than that for my personal use but you get the gist.

Been trucking now for about 15 months. It's definitely a lifestyle change. There is no day and night study on a continual basis. No long thinking processes of how you plan on getting that MRP system integrated with the organization and keep it all running without a shutdown. I'm single and have no kids or family at home. So I am at home, no matter where I am. I try to make where I am, home. Just bring all your entertainment with you as compact as possible. Put your movies and music on an external hard drive. You can get an android pretty cheap that can play the music through the truck stereo (fairly decent, but not true 'high fidelity'). Put your favorite listening tunes on it. Watch the movies from the hard drive with a good laptop. For gaming I brought my home PC desktop. I mounted the flat screen monitor above the bunk headboard and the pc on the floor strapped in. Works pretty nice.

Other forms of entertainment you may have to just buy, or bring her along if you can.

If you're into programming / development. You can still do that while on the road. You just won't have as much time for it as you're used to. Most times I don't even care to get into it anymore. For my creative juices, I just play some creative games that needs extra thought to accomplish it for burning off the need to create. KSP, Factorio, Fallout 4, those kind of games.

You can still keep in touch with your friends and cohorts through skype or other means. You still get enough time off to get face time anyway, and you'll have plenty of stories to tell them when you get in anyway. It's also nice to have at least one trucker friend to share trucker stories with as other "normal" people just look at you funny when you tell them all the great tales and adventures you have endured.

Make new friends and KEEP them. You can never have too many friends.

Oh yeah, don't try to fix the world. You gotta get that out of your mind. Being in IT, you're used to having to put all the pieces of the puzzle in the right spots to make the world operate. You gotta get out of that mindset. That is kind of tough to do when you've been into IT for such a long time. You gotta learn to let fools be fools. You will find SO MANY retards out on the highways that it makes you wonder how they even get by in life. You will need to have good driving skills and learn to read other drivers minds. You will acquire a skill to know what another driver is about to do before they do it. You will have to adapt to the trucking lifestyle or will fall to the wayside. You logical thinking process will help and hinder you. It will help you solve problems, but it also frustrate you that so many others do things so wrong.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi RocketMan! Bringing home $500.00 a week in what is supposed to be a highly skilled, white collar field is very demoralizing. I got sick of the rat-race, the low pay, the periods of time being on call for no additional compensation, etc. I also got sick of having to deal with inferior technology forced upon me with no input whatsoever from me. Ultimately, I think you are right when it comes to IT - it is a race to the bottom. It will never be seen as an asset by the business types, always a liability. In short I wasn't being treated as a professional. That much said, getting started in trucking has not been easy at all and you could say that I am still trying - it takes a completely different way of thinking and mindset. I've always tended to over-analyze problems. I might also add that initially, you may earn less than 500.00 per week in trucking as you learn the ropes. Anyhow, here is my story:

Literally, one day I simply gave my notice to my IT employer and I got escorted out. That was in November of 2014. About a week later, I found myself at The Swift Academy in Richmond, VA. I did very well academically but failed the first test which was straight line backing and I was sent home. I really needed additional time and training because I had never even sat in a big rig, let alone driven anything larger than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Undeterred, in December of 2014, I plunked down some savings on private schooling at Smith & Solomon in Norristown, PA. The more hands-on approach was really what I needed. After graduation in February of 2015, I had a series of health problems that prevented me from really getting started in the industry. Finally, my health began to improve enough in November of 2015 to begin driving again so I spent the past 6 months driving a class B vehicle, a bus. I've done well at it and I had been looking longingly at the big rigs. Well, 2 weeks ago I called up Western Express and I leave for orientation on Tuesday. The recruiter was really friendly and understanding when I laid it all out to her. She said, "I want to make a home for you at Western." I'll be happily going in as a student and looking forward to the words of wisdom from my mentor.

I recommend trying company-sponsored schooling first. Swift's program at Richmond really is top notch if you are the type of learner that tends to get things fairly quickly. If you're like me and need more time and training, then you can look into private schooling. I wish you the best, man!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Five years ago I was more or less, you. 30 year veteran in an industry that has become a commoditized, throw-away, and price over quality culture. After being repeatedly outsourced, downsized, right sized and reorganized I had enough. Trucking is a diverse industry that elevates a person above the political nonsense that kept me awake every night. I sleep really well now.

Perhaps a really good place to start is the following links:

Although I agree, Swift is a great option, I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest to look at all of the available options. As follows:

Paid CDL Training Programs

Trucking Company Reviews

Lots of reading, but a good start. Good luck, don't over analyze this and let us know what else you need.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Kenneth wrote:

You will find SO MANY retards out on the highways that it makes you wonder how they even get by in life.

Kenneth you strike me as an intelligent person with a solid vocabulary. I agree there are numerous bad drivers on the road, and many a**holes with zero common sense. But none of them are mentally retarded.

Please refrain from using the slang and derogatory word "retard" in this forum. Not cool. Although I believe there was no offense intended, consider and respect those of us who have family members struggling with diminished mental capacity every day of their lives. Driving is something they will never experience.

Thank you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Perhaps a really good place to start is the following links: ... Lots of reading, but a good start. Good luck, don't over analyze this and let us know what else you need.

I already bought and read Brett's Book: The Raw Truth About Trucking (the pay version from Amazon) cover to cover. I don't have a good handle on what is different even now compared to 7 years ago when it was published.

The truth is that I expect that I would do really well as a solo driver. I have custody of 1 son who has a couple of more years to go before he graduates high school. If I can be home with him weekly, that would be best for now. My income would just go to paying my debts and scraping by (something I am already doing at $500/week anyway).

The idea appeals to me that I can make money driving while I listen to audio books for hours a day and decompress from years of high stress and anxiety having to solve computer problems day in and day out. Perhaps this is also a "grass is greener" mentality... I know that in recent years I have had to spend 4-6 hours per day driving several times per week in addition to IT work and I found being on the road alone was very relaxing for me. I expect that making money doing exactly that would possibly be a good fit for me.

I am thinking about getting a CDL , driving LTR or a more local/regional for a couple of years, then going OTR (teams might work, I have no idea). Whatever pays more or brings opportunity. Given my education and years of experience, I might be able to work in a larger company doing programming, dispatch, or something like that after getting some experience on the road.

Please give me thoughts and insight. I have made a slew of bad career decisions and I am pushing 40. I can't afford to keep screwing up.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

I am 49 and preparing to make the jump into truck driving by the end of this year or beginning of next. From my research it is very difficult to start out local. You would have to look at the local companies in your area. I know you can do better than $500 per week if you are willing to work for it. As you read through the info on this site you will see what it takes. I don't think you will be home enough to take care of your son. Also, you may have to be without an income for a few weeks during training. Good luck. If I'm wrong I will be corrected.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Big Scott speaks the truth:

I am 49 and preparing to make the jump into truck driving by the end of this year or beginning of next. From my research it is very difficult to start out local. You would have to look at the local companies in your area. I know you can do better than $500 per week if you are willing to work for it. As you read through the info on this site you will see what it takes. I don't think you will be home enough to take care of your son. Also, you may have to be without an income for a few weeks during training. Good luck. If I'm wrong I will be corrected.

Nope, that's about right. Local companies usually want experience, plus local work tends to be more challenging for a new driver because of frequent backing & maneuvering in tight spaces and dealing with more traffic.

Local companies many times are not equipped to adequately road train a new CDL holder. Although it's possible to land a local job as a newbie, most Truck Load carriers will not recognize that as OTR experience, requiring at least a couple of weeks of road training before they will give you a truck and turn you loose.

The usual path is train with a TL carrier, get the year in and transition to local If that's what you want to do.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Geno I.'s Comment
member avatar

I also was a deal bound professional. I owned a business finance consulting firm for many years.

Trucking truth website started me on my carrer change.

Choose Millis Transfer as my career path. Have been in my truck for over a month now and I am living my dream.

As a prior efficiency expert for small business owners, it is trying to ignore the huge inefficiencies in the trucking industry. I just have to keep in mind that a lot of folks are not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Heck, some of them are not even in the drawer .

I am always meeting great people.

Unlike the preconceived misconceptions, 90% of truck drivers are cool, friendly and intelligent) or so I have found.

OTR driving can be a great career change, if you are ready for 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.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Geno!

It's nice to have you out of the shadows, and I hope you'll continue participating in some of our discussions. Haha! - some of the inefficiencies in trucking will drive you batty - but the great thing about this job is that you can set yourself apart from the others by developing your own efficient ways of dealing with all the issues that trip most people up.

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

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.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More