Help! A Career Change Decision

Topic 22922 | Page 1

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Highway 44's Comment
member avatar

Hello, everybody.

Please, the guidance of this community is needed. I earned a CDL July 2016, yet have not put it to work to date. It took nearly two years (2014-16) for me to make the decision to attend the local community college’s CDL training program. I’d do it again knowing the credential would be unused for a couple years and perhaps more.

The cause of the delay, then and now, is me; the struggle of mind (logic) vs. intuition (soul) in decision. All of my major life decisions have been made by logical thought. It always has the most influence and power than my intuition. This time is different. It seems my intuition has become powerful enough to rival the mind, in decision, thus a nearly two plus year struggle to make a choice. My mind tells me to not drive a truck while intuition tells me yes. The major reasons against directly stem from the overall lifestyle; the long hours, high stress levels and sedentary lifestyle. The major reason in favor takes root in that my soul craves the travel and the substance it can add to this life experience. The alternative is to pursue a career change to bookkeeping. This is what my mind tells me to do. It certainly plays to my left brain strengths of logic and analytics/numbers. Ironically, this choice shares the sedentary lifestyle with truck driving only without the long, longer hours.

The motivation always has been to career change. What career change is the correct fit for me? The only bit of clarity in all this is, no matter the decision, my lifestyle needs and must have a healthy work-life balance. This means balance in stress level, sleep cycle and home time. The smart decision is to listen to my logic as it tells me to pursue the more balanced option in bookkeeping. In spite of this, my intuition continues to push me to take the option of higher risk of unbalance to drive a truck; hence the conundrum, listen to the mind or soul?

Thank you.

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

You are Logical?

What is logical about investing time and money in getting a CDL then allowing it to collect dust, unused for two years? It’s worth less now than it was when you got it. I’d call that foolish and defeatest.

There are students who come through here who try for all their worth, struggle mightily and still fail, never getting as far as you have. Your post is an insult to all of them and the current members going through a similar ordeal.

This isn’t something you just try to say that you did it. My advice, get serious, stop wasting your time and ours pontificating and contemplating your navel. If you haven’t carried through with this by now, it’s likely you never will.

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

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

You are Logical?

What is logical about investing time and money in getting a CDL then allowing it to collect dust, unused for two years? It’s worth less now than it was when you got it. I’d call that foolish and defeatest.

There are students who come through here who try for all their worth, struggle mightily and still fail, never getting as far as you have. Your post is an insult to all of them and the current members going through a similar ordeal.

This isn’t something you just try to say that you did it. My advice, get serious, stop wasting your time and ours pontificating and contemplating your navel. If you haven’t carried through with this by now, it’s likely you never will.

This...

You have already made your decision, by your inaction.

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

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds a lot like paralysis by analysis. Since we don’t know your details (i.e. family commitment, financial responsibility, etc), I’ll just throw some thoughts in the hopper.

1. You can do some incredible travel with a few weeks off and an RV. You’ll go places a big rig can’t. 2. Even bookkeepers can have high stress and long hours. Especially if they’re being audited. 3. If you become a truck driver, you can still have a good quality of life. Recently a guy named Gladhand, opined he had better quality home time as an over the road driver, than as a “local” driver. I’d say my Home time is more precious and therefore, better utilized since going OTR. 4. I believe that if you pray about it, make your decision (based on logic and sound judgment) either God will help you through it or He will lead you out of it. Just make sure you give thanks and be the best you can be at whatever you do.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Alexandr S.'s Comment
member avatar

I think for most meaningful feedback you should provide some additional info as Steve L. has stated. If your only drawbacks really are just the ones that you mentioned ("the long hours, high stress levels and sedentary lifestyle"), I think you gotta go with your heart here. I am in a similar position and in the middle of a career pivot, possibly a full on transition. I am a white collar professional. My CDL school instructor used to be a white collar professional. There's something seductive about trucking. No matter how this turns out for me, if I end up washing out and realizing it's not a right fit -- something I strongly doubt at this point (similar to your "soul" drive so to say) -- I will not say I have regretted trying. I am ready to go to orientation for a trucking company in less than a month and almost done with the CDL.

Of course, if there are more tangible drawbacks re finances/family issues, which you do not mention, that would change the analysis. But based on what you are saying, go get it. Call up recruiters, they will be very responsive and help you find the right fit very quickly, you will be at an orientation before you know 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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I like the responses you've gotten so far and I'm going to add mine in hopes of giving another perspective.

I've read what you've written here in the past. This is from a couple of years ago and to me it's quite telling of your personality as it relates to your prospects for trucking:

The career path of bookkeeping satisfies my brain/mind. It allows an introvert such as me to thrive in a structured, autonomous work environment. It allows me to use strengths such as analysis, concentration/focus and mathematics. I could continue forward and be content in this choice of career. The conflict is in my heart/soul. It craves the satisfaction of more than the typical vacation travel in my current lifestyle. The notion of hitting-the-road by driving a truck while being paid to do it is an attractive proposition. The roadblock is the irregular sleep cycle of a truck driver and the day-to-day fluctuations of the 24/7/365 nature of the industry. I sense this may interrupt the ability to consistently achieve daily balance in rest, which I deem essential to my overall wellness. Thus, O.T.R. driving is not in consideration. Local driving is not in consideration because it is logically opposite of my primary motivation to travel by truck driving. Could regional driving be the compromise? Or, is truck driving not a good fit, especially considering a balanced rest cycle is most important to me?

You've mentioned a couple of times about being a logical thinker, good at mathematics. I'm also very logical and I was taking a college calculus course when I was 15 so I can relate. I'm also an introvert. Truck driving involves endless streams of problem solving and logical thinking. It also requires a lot of disciplined decisions and patience and nerve. The classic stereotype is of "dumb truckers" but the best truckers are excellent problem solvers and find creative solutions to challenges in an extremely dynamic environment.

As important as any traits, I believe a person who truly thrives in trucking is daring and adventurous. There is no shortage of people who struggle terribly in trucking or are simply miserable because they are not well suited to this career. It's one of the most unique careers imaginable, and therefore it's not for everyone. In fact, it's not for most people.

In my opinion you're most people. There's nothing wrong with that, unless you wander unsuspecting into trucking. You have that same fantasy of trucking everyone has:

It craves the satisfaction of more than the typical vacation travel in my current lifestyle. The notion of hitting-the-road by driving a truck while being paid to do it is an attractive proposition.

There's nothing wrong with that, unless you wander unsuspecting into trucking thinking that's what you're going to find. On that surface that makes perfect sense and most people feel that way. Why not cruise around in a cool big rig and get paid for it?

I'm going to piece together these clues about your personality:

The cause of the delay, then and now, is me; the struggle of mind (logic) vs. intuition (soul) in decision
My mind tells me to not drive a truck while intuition tells me yes. The major reasons against directly stem from the overall lifestyle; the long hours, high stress levels and sedentary lifestyle. The major reason in favor takes root in that my soul craves the travel and the substance it can add to this life experience.
my lifestyle needs and must have a healthy work-life balance. This means balance in stress level, sleep cycle and home time. The smart decision is to listen to my logic as it tells me to pursue the more balanced option in bookkeeping
The career path of bookkeeping satisfies my brain/mind. It allows an introvert such as me to thrive in a structured, autonomous work environment. I could continue forward and be content in this choice of career.
I sense this may interrupt the ability to consistently achieve daily balance in rest, which I deem essential to my overall wellness.

In my mind it's very clear.....you're entirely too timid for trucking. Again, that's not a bad thing. But trucking requires nerves of steel, tons of ambition, and an adventurous spirit.

Things you want that you will not find in trucking?

  • The ability to consistently achieve daily balance in rest
  • A structured work environment
  • A healthy work-life balance

Things you don't want that you will find in trucking?

  • long hours
  • high stress levels
  • sedentary lifestyle

Did you know that trucking is also ranked as one of the deadliest jobs in America every year? It's true.

See, I may be a logical thinker, but I'm also an adrenaline junky, massively ambitious, and tremendously daring. I am not at all looking for a work/rest balance. I work very hard, I play even harder, and I collapse at the end of the day for as long as I'm able and I'm back at it again the next day.....7 days a week. That's how I've always been.

I don't mind 18 hour days. In fact, I love em.

I don't like a lot of rest. That means I'm bored and I feel like I'm wasting the gift of being alive for the short time we have.

I love taking risks, challenging myself to the limit, and I'm in constant pursuit of adventure. Real adventure, like life or death kind of stuff even.

I see nothing about your personality that indicates you would be happy in trucking. It's not that you're not capable of maneuvering a big rig. Almost everyone is. But I think the demands of this job would eat you alive. If you care deeply about rest, a structured work environment, and balance then stick with being a bookkeeper. Truckers can legally work 70 hours every 8 days and the best ones use every second of that available time. That's almost two full time jobs. Truckers also risk their lives every single day, and are responsible for the innocent lives of the people around them.

You sound exactly like someone perfectly suited to bookkeeping. You're not going to find a nice paying vacation out there on the road in a big rig. You'll find your type of vacation in your family sedan. What you'll find out here in trucking is a level of risk, ambition, and adventure you're not well suited for. If you want more from your vacations then strap on a backpack and tent and head deeper into the wilderness. Call a hiking guide or climbing guide and do some adventurous hikes or rock climbing.

Trucking will feel like a buzzsaw to you. Within a month you'll be flabbergasted as to why anyone would want to make a living this way.

Listen to this podcast: Episode 6: Would You Survive In Trucking?

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Trucking is one of the most amazing adventures in the world for the right type of person. There are very few careers that offer anywhere close to this type of adventure, risk, and challenge.

But It's a complete nightmare for the wrong type of person. It really is.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

I came into trucking having been a chauffeur for most my adult life. I needed a drastic change simply because that industry is being decimated by Uber et. al. I won’t get into the autonomous driven cars thing but that was also a concern. On top of that, the traffic situation in NYC has become unbearable for someone who makes a living driving here.

NYC created separate bike & bus lanes that eliminated traffic lanes. They put parking lanes closer to the travel lanes which creates many more close calls with ignorant people opening doors without looking & waiting. The pedestrian malls that eliminated more travel lanes. The sheer numbers of pedestrians, the lowering of speed limits while equipping more police cars with radars just made us motorists prime targets for easy money.

Now I don’t know where you live but I wrote all that to point out my old stress levels as compared to now as drive across this amazing country delivering loads rather than people. I get waved at by strangers in their trucks as a form of brotherhood. I don’t mind driving 8 hrs straight to get my load in on time cause I still have to provide for myself & my kids. I’m divorced.

The sedentary lifestyle thing is a misnomer. I just read where someone went on a hike after shutting down cause he has time on his load. Singles & couples who go into different towns when they have time to take in the sights & sounds. Gladhand was just talking about going to certain places with loads to take in concerts he wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see back home. Shoot when I shut down I try to walk around the lot to get the juices flowing.

Long hours? There a plenty of other jobs that have longer hours than trucking. Try investment banking or nursing or teaching (they go home only to grade papers & prepare lesson plans).

You see, the only obstacle to your finding out whether or not your capable of handling this lifestyle is you. We create imaginary problems to keep from making major life decisions unless we’re pushed into them. There are no magic words or solutions. You can only dust off that piece of plastic & put it to use. Obviously you need to do anything but then what’s the point of starting this thread if you weren’t wanting to do this in the first place.

I’ve met plenty of meek, introverted individuals in my travels. That doesn’t make them pushovers or incapable of problem solving. It’s like what one driver told a receiver who mentioned how his paperwork was all wrinkled & torn. His response was simple but yet very profound, if that’s my only problem today then I’m way ahead of the game. The receiver just laughed cause she knew that was true.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have found this site & to have a great trainer who still to this day will get up out of her sleep to hold my hand & answer any questions that come up in my day to day life as an OTR trucker.

In short, change your mindset, logic can get in the way of reason & passion. Fear is healthy unless you let it paralyze you. It keeps you focused & attentive. It’s when you get overconfident or complacent that you create an unsafe environment for yourself & those around you. Good luck with whatever decision you make. But please make one.

Let me add a bit of real life trucking to help your decision making process. Your lifestyle, sleep cycle & home time will all depend on your load assignments & financial needs. Take my last load for instance. I had just dropped a load in Lancaster, PA. My fleet manager had me repower another drivers load going to Springfield, MA. I had time on my clock then but the other driver got stuck in 2 traffic jams & took way longer than expected. I had to force myself to sleep & do am 8/2 split (with the help of my trainer & FM) & got the load in on time. On top of that, I had to cat nap 2 hrs while I got unloaded to get to a truck stop to fuel & washout the trailer.

Like Brett said, it’s dynamic. Every situation requires it’s own solution. But for the most part, it’s a lot better than sitting in a cubicle counting someone else’s money. As I sat in business school many years ago, that was the vision that made me stop & find another way to live my life. It has not been & still isn’t a life less lived.

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.

P & D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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