OTR Trucking Is HARD WORK???

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Johan Broad's Comment
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The paranoia so THICK in the office it chokes you. That kind of stress sucks the life out of you. Some days I called in sick, just because I couldn't face another day of it..14 YEARS of that! WHINE to ME about stress!!!!!!!

Things like that are the reason I quit my CSR gig with a large delivery company. That and bull**** rules about restroom usage, a stupid and irrelevant dress code, and a supervisor who thought his job was coming up with the flimsiest possible pretense to deny my annual raise.

I know it's gonna be tough, and I'm apprehensive and anxious, heck, I 'm SCARED!!

Well damn. I thought I was the only one...

Cube life ain't living y'all...

Aaanndd I just found my new T-Shirt! smile.gif

It slowly eats away at you until you're just numb and DON'T CARE. Maybe that's why my job was eliminated, because I just didn't care anymore..

Nah. Your job was eliminated because it could be contracted out to someone else for 1/3 of what they paid you. It's not that you didn't care, it was because the employer didn't care.

Dean63's Comment
member avatar

Now I'm 52, divorced, kids all grown

I'm in the same boat. Well, the divorce will be final in Nov. At that time I'm going to downsize (I live in a home that's just too large for one person). However, I'm making $63k. I know I won't be making that in trucking, at least not for the first 2-5 years. On the other hand, I have no bills and all my belongings are paid for.

My current job is very stressful and can personally, just do w/o it. I'm VERY seriously looking into OTR.

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.

Gar H.'s Comment
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Left a 35+ year career in the copier and printer repair and sales field. It was great fun, BUT my knees were starting to get tired of doing squats all day long. Hopefully I and my wife will be starting driving school in January 2019 down in Texas. We are looking to team drive and have been traveling with a 5th wheel around the western U S. I am also an Air Force veteran and have heard that is a plus. We both drive sticks all the time so should be no problem there. Still looking for more information on the best driving schools/companys for Husband/Wife team driving.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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We both drive sticks all the time so should be no problem there.

Actually, if you're used to driving synchronized manuals it may be harder to learn double clutching plus manually synchronizing a ten speed. You will have to overcome a lot of previous muscle memory and create new muscle memory. Also, you have to learn that you very seldom push the clutch to the floor. This was a problem I had to overcome and still find myself reverting to my old habits if I lose concentration. You and the wifey might want to go into a program or company that has AMT transmissions. They are a lot easier, but all the other hard work that comes with truck driving is still there.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Marc Lee's Comment
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Former IT project manager here! Perhaps "Leaving IT for OTR" should have its own thread!

Had a pretty solid run of about 27 years. Had my own IT sales and services company for a couple of years.Enjoyed much of my time in IT. Won a couple of awards for the work I did, and you have seen and possibly used (and no doubt benefitted from) some of my projects' work. I was doing work at United Airlines on 9/11. That was pretty special! Survived a couple of major recessions.

Gradually I have seen my work outsourced and "off-shored". One award-winning project was largely done in India. Got to train them to do some of the work. Worked another project to move United's Accounting Department to India. (I helped with the document imaging piece - 2nd gig working part-time with United, while working full-time for BP (on the award-winning largely off-shore and other projects)).

As projects became fewer and fewer and harder and harder to get, I started doing handyman work (after helping my Brother fix a bunch of his rental units). Enjoy much of it (helping people deserving and needing help with their homes, investments, etc.). Don't enjoy getting screwed by a**holes, being told I need to sue people to get paid because Police have no ordinance with which to charge someone for what should be considered theft of services. (Try driving off without paying for fuel in WI! They pull your DL and vehicle registration and I suspect can even impound your vehicle!)

On one of my last jobs the "customer" stopped payment on her worthless $800 check. Met with Sheriff's (Deputy and Sergeant who consulted with on-call Assistant DA) who misinterpreted the law. I will wind up suing her for way more.

Looks like I will be starting a 7-State Regional position Jan. 7th. We are pretty much at re-running DL and background checks next week. Did online Onboarding training as this is a "direct to account" start. (I show up at account, fill out some more paperwork and go out with a Trainer for Week 1).

Am I cut out for this? Who knows!

Do I have what it takes to "run with the big dogs" and succeed at what I think is one of the toughest gigs out there? Again... who knows!

Scared? Yes! Excited? HE** YES!

Have I done what I can to prepare for this new challenge and adventure? I like to think so!

I am very grateful for all the help and encouragement I have gotten here and other places along the way.

I was more than a bit surprised when my instructor texted back in response to me sending him a photo of my physical CDL license ( I always sent him DMV test results, paper docs., etc.) "You're going to make a great truck driver!" (Especially since it was shortly after a couple of significant and "highly-charged" disagreements.

Is he right?

Dunno that either.

Here's hoping!

Best Wishes to you all!

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

I recently joined Trucker Truth and this thread caught my eye in an e-mail. After reading the posts, I think I am beginning to understand what Brett and the others mean by "OTR Trucking is Hard Work." It seems to me that really what they are saying is "OTR Trucking is a hard lifestyle." Meaning that 1) you are away from home for weeks at a time, 2) driving 500 to 600 miles a day requires mental and physical stamina, 3) you encounter unexpected challenges every day, that YOU (because its just you in the truck) have to overcome, and 4) dispatchers and others in the company often may be more of a hindrance than a help.

To determine whether OTR trucking is for you it seems you have to decide whether your personality melds with the trucking lifestyle. For me, I love to be alone. I see these memes on Facebook that have a picture of a cabin asking if you could you stay there alone one year for a million dollars. My response is do I still get the million dollars if I refuse to leave at the end of the year? I also love to drive because it relaxes me. My leisure time each weekend is driving hundreds of miles on my motorcycle. Two years ago, I rode from St. Louis to Santa Monica on my motorcycle. I covered about 300 to 350 miles per day, starting about 7:00 a.m. and finishing about 3:00 p.m. I could have easily covered another 200 miles a day. I've done an "Iron Butt" 1000 miles in a day. At the end of a day of driving or riding, I am tired, but its a good tired. Also, riding motorcycles, I have learned that other drivers will do stupid things. I have just come to expect it so it doesn't bother me. I am also very self sufficient. I drove a tank in the military. While we had mechanics, we were primarily responsible to keep our tank up and running. I never had to be towed and I never missed a mission because my tank was out of commission. Duct tape on a radiator hose won't stop the leak, but it will slow it enough to limp to the field support site. Probably the biggest thing is dealing with people in the company, which is why I am considering OTR trucking. And it seems like a lot of people on here have left the corporate world for the same reasons that frustrate me. The people.

In my current corporate situation, I am asked to do the impossible every single day. It would be like a dispatcher telling me, we need you to drive a load of steel to Chicago, leaving Monday, while at the same time drive another truck to Houston leaving Monday. When I say I can't drive two trucks at the same time, they would say "figure it out." Because no one can accomplish the impossible tasks expected of my company leadership, the people who leadership praises are those who are effective at managing the disappointment of company leadership and clients. In other words, forceful personalities who are good at manipulating people. That is not me and it just exhausts me to try.

What does sound appealing to me is that I have to get load from point A to point B by a certain time. And it is possible to do it. I may encounter obstacles on the way that prevent me from making an appointment, but most of the time there is a way to make it happen. And most of my day is spent driving, which is my most relaxing activity.

So:

1. Do I understand why trucking is hard; and 2. Does it seems like I would make a good drive?

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Shannon C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Gary, I am in the IT field as well, but as a single woman, and I am looking at getting into the trucker life and career too.

I knew a fellow ex-coworker who said he was going to do it too. I thought he was kinda wacky, but now I must be wacky too because I am thinking about it! I know trucking can be exhausting and often challenging but I am used to that working in IT. The pressure is sometimes so intense and there is no getting out on the road and driving away. You are just stuck in an office every day with people you mostly can't stand to be around. I like my time alone and do better alone. I am ready to let the younger generation beat each other up and brown nose their way to management positions. I am done.

Plus I LOVE driving, I am a VERY safe driver, and living on the road, stopping at the truck stops for coffee and the rest stations and seeing different states - it is such freedom! I drove from Florida all the way to Canada by myself last month and mostly slept in my suv. It was awesome, albeit a little exhausting. I had a schedule to keep even though I was on vacation, but I am excited and can't wait to do it again. Even better if I got paid to do it.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Shannon,

Gary's post was from 5 years ago. Below is his last post from over a year ago where he did not pursue trucking.

It's been a while but here I am again on TT. I was close to becoming a trucker a few years ago, had my CDL learners permit and some training on backing, etc. but bailed at the end of my tech school training to go back to IT work. The thing is I'm SICK of IT, doesn't pay nearly what it used to, and it's saturated with kids working for 12.00/hr. I still feel that "what if?" every time I see a truck pass me. I'm currently a printer technician travelling around throwing parts at old dirty and greasy printers. Could be the WORST job I ever had. BUT I just turned 60, and I just gotta know if trucking is for me.!!!

I just don't want to work the next 10-12 years not enjoying what I'm doing. There's too much to see! I love driving around Atlanta and the suburbs just for the joy of driving. I'm single, no kids, it's just me. I'm on the road 10-12 hours a day ANYWAY, and, like I say, I see these big rigs cruising through Atlanta and I think to myself "yeah" THAT'S what I wanna do!!

I'm close to Millis trucking school in Cartersville Georgia and I'm thinking about starting the application process. I just GOTTA try this or I'll regret it, like I already regret not finishing CDL school when I had the chance. Thoughts on an old 60 year-old hitting the high road????

There are lot of resources on this website to learn about trucking.

High Road CDL Training ProgramTruck Driver's Career GuideBecoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

Good luck.

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

Peter M.'s Comment
member avatar

I hear ya, man. I was IT corp. Sales at the same company for 21 years. Then layed off in Oct. of 2018,I know the stress you speak of quite well. I don't miss it at all.

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