Finding The Motivation To Keep On Trucking - Article By Rainy

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Trucking is such a demanding job that it can be hard to stay motivated enough to perform at a high level. It can get lonely out there, you may get burned out sometimes, and it's easy to get frustrated with the day to day challenges.

This is a great new article by Rainy that will help you understand some of the challenges you'll face and find ways of overcoming them so you will remain motivated, perform consistently at a high level, and enjoy yourself out there:

Finding The Motivation To Keep On Trucking

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Trucking is such a demanding job that it can be hard to stay motivated enough to perform at a high level. It can get lonely out there, you may get burned out sometimes, and it's easy to get frustrated with the day to day challenges.

This is a great new article by Rainy that will help you understand some of the challenges you'll face and find ways of overcoming them so you will remain motivated, perform consistently at a high level, and enjoy yourself out there:

Finding The Motivation To Keep On Trucking

Rainy, great article. I sometimes have days where I lose motivation and I wonder why I am doin this, however I remember why I signed back up for this and then I also think about all the great advice yall have given me and all the things I would love to do with my life and that reignites my motivation and my fire and passion inside and I am able to get through the crazy days.

BTW: nice pic of the truck at the top of the article. That was my old truck with CRST. I remember when I took that pic. That was at a rest area in Montana right after I started with my co driver at CRST. We stopped there for a swap. That was actually the first pic I uploaded of my truck to this site.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Million,

every few months my FM gets an emotional call from me crying, "My day sucks, i need a break!" then 34 here i come. it refreshes me and then i think, "what the hell was i thinking?"

i once told him i was turning my truck in. you see that didnt happen when i came to my senses. instead, he gave me time off the ran me hard again.

Fm:

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.
Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

Really great article Rainy. Thank you.

The driver with the motivation problem needs to be reminded of one of my favorite one-liners "If it was fun, you would pay us, but it's not, so we pay you."

One thing jumped out at me in your article... and having read some of your other posts and articles: - You mentioned that when you were in training money was an issue, but that you had left the USPS making more money. What was that transition like for you? Specifically going from a stable home base and making $$$$ but not being happy to making $$$ and living on the go?

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Really great article Rainy. Thank you.

The driver with the motivation problem needs to be reminded of one of my favorite one-liners "If it was fun, you would pay us, but it's not, so we pay you."

One thing jumped out at me in your article... and having read some of your other posts and articles: - You mentioned that when you were in training money was an issue, but that you had left the USPS making more money. What was that transition like for you? Specifically going from a stable home base and making $$$$ but not being happy to making $$$ and living on the go?

maybe i need to clarify...the USPS i made more money technically, but cost of living in NJ put me in the hole really badly. My base salary was $55k but with overtime and other incidentals i could be at $65-70k. (or more, but we worked as many hours as i do now and never had a life. holidays were spent at work and vacations went by seniority. at prime i get off when i want, no haggling. i have been home for.more holidays since prime than 18 years at the USPS).

Plus, state of NJ taxes and other higher taxes federal.employees pay...i usually take home more per week now than i did then. My brother worked there with me. He cleared $1300 for two weeks (single guy minus taxes n insurance)....last week I cleared $1200 plus put $200 in my 401k in one week..so thats $1400 in one week.

back home i had a $1200 per month apartment, $400 car payment $200 car insurance payment, and utilities that were about $300-$400 per month.

When i went into training, i still had to pay that stuff cause i couldnt get out of my lease for 6.mos. Training at prime i cleared between $400-550 (gross $700). Was it tough? sure. I went solo and i think i was taking home $600 -$800 per week until i paid off the money i borrowed from Prime for food during the permit phase, the $1000 pet fee for my cat and the $600+ for chains and locks.

big deal, i bought lunch meat for awhile. I ran hard and used my rewards points from the truck stop.fueling to get a cooler, ice and food daily. i didnt waste money on a fridge for over a year. i didnt bother with a TV or video games. i set my priorities and my goals. i budgeted. I didnt even buy a Rand McNally GPS for over a year...another prime driver gave me one when he retired but it broke. I made due with an atlas and compamy GPS.

i paid off my car as quickly as possible by my 7th month solo i think i had everything paid off at prime (they take $25 per week for the food money borrowed, $50 per week for the pet fee, $25 per week for the locks etc). at one year all of my insurances went down to $50 per week total...that is health, life, disability, vision, dental. the policies arent much different from the USPS (we actually have the same vision) but are much much cheaper. Prime pays more of the premium than USPS did so.i pay a lot less.

With driving now, i have two storage lockers for a total of $300 per month. Because of the money i wasnt putting out for overhead, i paid off all my debts.

So although my income at the USPS was more, my cashflow with trucking is much much better. Also the per diem gave me a couple grand in tax return each year, where at the USPS i usually owed because i used the W4 to give me more money during the year for spending. the per diem is changing now, but it helped me in the past.

I think younger people could have a harder time with the transition because the way our society is now. People do not want to sacrifice anything to get what they want, they want it handed to them. the first thing i see new people do is get a lease truck, pay for all these decals and cool lug nut covers, get a huge TV, fridge, $500 GPS, and game system....then cry they have no money."Prime sucks cause they keep taking money out of my pay"...but they got school for FREE without any deduction...and knew they were borrowing $200 per week for food etc. no surprises there.

The only really large purchase i made in the beginning was my mattress...but i consider that a necessity. i need comfort to do this job. i still put it on layaway and paid $100 per month in payments.

Now, like i said...i want to be left alone. i have a trainee now and in the past 2 weeks i talked to my FM like twice only cause i wanted specific loads so my trainee could learn downshifting.

This is the best job ever for me. i get freedom and am socking money away. all of the stress of debt is gone. Because of that, it doesnt matter to me how many miles i get. If i have a slow week, who cares? it gives me a mental rest and lets me get off the truck a bit. i dont have that "i HAVE to run hard" pressure on me, i do it cause i want to. big difference. if i want to tell dispatch i want a day off, i get it and dont worry about the bills. While waiting for my trainee to test out, i only made $200 clear that week. Who cares, i have money in the bank and will make ten times that next week as a team trainer. if i wanted to rin local while he was testing i could have. its a great feeling!

my trucker boyfriend and i chase each other across the country, and i have met a lot of the prime forum members which is awesome! is it tough in the beginning? Yes...but is it worth it to me? absolutely. but im not married with kids, so things will be different for others.

i could never go back to a normal job.

Fm:

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.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Terrific article, Rainy.

Due to some mistakes and bad luck in my previous life, I'm in a position where I simply cannot afford to take much time off. I last had a few days off in January after running hard for 3 months....so now I've been out for coming up on four months without a day off and plan to keep on trucking another two months and then take a week off again. So, generally, I take a week off every three or four months.

How do I avoid getting burned out?

1) Having a goal - I agree with Rainy, this is paramount.

2) Staying in touch with family and friends. I check FB a couple of times a day looking for photos that family and friends have posted and making comments on them. I call someone every day or two on a rotating basis.

3) Visiting family and friends whenever the opportunity allows. Right now, I'm sitting in the living room with my eldest daughter and her children in Chicago. I delivered here last night, hid the truck at an appropriate spot, and my daughter picked me up. We just had pancakes. It doesn't get better than this. I had put in a 17 hour day yesterday and I'll be busting butt again this afternoon, but for now I'm chilling. A while back, I had a 2,200 mile run with an extra day on it due to receiver not being open on Sunday. So, I busted most of it out fast, then stopped at a friend's place in Vail and get a 34 in at his great place, then got the rest of the way Sunday evening.

4) Participating with my community of peers here on TT, and trying to contribute whatever I can now that I have learned so much from the gurus here.

Trucking is such a demanding job that it can be hard to stay motivated enough to perform at a high level. It can get lonely out there, you may get burned out sometimes, and it's easy to get frustrated with the day to day challenges.

This is a great new article by Rainy that will help you understand some of the challenges you'll face and find ways of overcoming them so you will remain motivated, perform consistently at a high level, and enjoy yourself out there:

Finding The Motivation To Keep On Trucking

Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

I really appreciate the replies Dave and Rainy.

I particularly appreciate and can relate to the extra insight you shared Rainy. Thank you. While I don't have a car payment, I do have a house with all of the expenses and upkeep that go with it. I'd probably just rent a room out to someone I trust so that someone is here all the time. That's not today's problem.

Like you, I'm going to need a comfortable place to sleep if I'm going to be happy. Although, my definition of comfortable is keyed more to temperature. I find most hotels to be comfortable provided that there is not some sort of party going on in the room next door. lol. I do not mind the engine noise of other vehicles or my own.

Trucking is going to be a pay cut. Driving a mouse pays really well... but I hate office politics. I'm the guy who says something is a bad idea if that is what I believe and that gets me in trouble in a corporate 3 ring circus where backstabbing, gossip, and ladder climbing are the main attraction. Running a printing company was a pay cut as well, so I'm not married to money. I'd rather be happy than rich and trucking is something I find appealing because it is less prone to micro management and has a good deal of strategy and process to it.

Hopefully, by mid Summer I'll be there. I have to wind down the shop this month, figure out how I'm going to solve the vision waiver and get into school.

The honest information on this site is invaluable.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

With the temps some companies have APUs , and some trucks idle. Be aware, there are extreme temps in trucking..and even the trucks cannot keep up. even with the APU it was 80 in my bunk in Miami today ..93 degrees here. the coldest i sat in was -39 in WY. it even froze my cats water bowl!

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

With the temps some companies have APUs , and some trucks idle. Be aware, there are extreme temps in trucking..and even the trucks cannot keep up. even with the APU it was 80 in my bunk in Miami today ..93 degrees here. the coldest i sat in was -39 in WY. it even froze my cats water bowl!

Haha, I'm not a load of ice cream. I won't melt at 80. That's actually about my upper limit for comfortable sleep. I may need a fan at that temp though.

I'm surprised your truck could not keep up with a 13 degree difference. The -39 doesn't surprise me. I suspect you did not have a happy kitty at those temps.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

Burnout is, in my opinion, one of the worst things that can happen, in trucking or your run of the mill 9-5. Something that we once loved to do every minute of every day becomes stale, the coolness factor wears off, it starts becoming a chore. As it relates to trucking, running off recap for weeks on end, or even months, without a day off can really drag someone down.

During the infancy of my career, I stayed out the entirety of December for an extra $200. It felt amazing! Now that I've been doing this for about 1.5 years, running 3 weeks off recap recently has been very mentally taxing! On this current tour, I've now been away from home since March 22nd or so, but I'm on my 2nd 34h reset. Having the ability to take a full day off gives me the chance to recharge my mental batteries, allowing me to focus on what I love to do during down time (laptop+MMORPGs). As Rainy said in the article, it's a break from the hustle and bustle of trucking in favor of something we enjoy. Yes, in a perfect world, it's ideal to be able to take a 34 at home with family/friends/fur babies, but it doesn't always work out that way.

Remember that you're not a robot; power down and recharge your mental batteries once in awhile so you can enjoy the long drive.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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