Getting Cold Feet. Do You Ever Feel Ready?

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Derek S.'s Comment
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Over this past week I've gotten all the things I need to start sending out applications and even go and get my CDL permit. However I'm still dragging my feet on it. It probably doesn't help that not one person in my social circle is supportive of me getting into trucking except my Dad, which is more of a "go make some money" attitude instead of "im happy you chose trucking." He definitely wanted me to get into a trade like HVAC instead which I even signed up for classes but dropped before the start because I decided on trucking. I tend to be the type of person to think of the worst possible outcome and since I'm unemployed it means a lot of time researching and coming up with a dozen different ways to not get into trucking. Most of them brought about by silly hypothetical things such as driving around and hitting 4 wheelers in big cities/heavy traffic which I have avoided most of my life, getting yelled at/rushed by other drivers, chaotic truck stops, etc. One medical condition I have that worries me as well is my IBS-C (irritable bowel syndrome but chronic constipation primarily). I do take Miralax to treat it (gastro's orders) but there have been times while driving across the state that all of a sudden I get intense cramping and need to stop asap. I got a feeling driving speeds up my gut due to the movement and shakiness of the road. While I doubt this will be possible on a trainer's truck, I've found buckets at Cabela's with toilet seats and a trash bag that would be useful in a situation like that so that's one fear I've been successfully dealing with and come to terms with. I have driven a class-B International 4400 fire engine and tanker (vol. FD) with air-brakes but it was in a small college town and have never driven anything big such as that on a crowded interstate/city traffic. I loved driving those trucks and that's why I keep coming back to trucking and not letting it go. I feel like I'll have regretted not at least trying it.

Anyone else on here who struggled with taking the plunge? And if so, when you finally did it was it as hard or as difficult as you thought it would be? I'm hoping some words of encouragement from this great community will put my mind at ease and finally allow me to put my fears aside and just do it.


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.


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.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


Hours Of Service

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

Derek, you're in great company. Tons of people get cold feet the closer they get to making that commitment.

Personally, I'm the exact opposite. I'm all about adventures and I thought trucking would be one of the most fantastic adventures imaginable - and it certainly was. For someone like myself who loves a challenge, loves every day to be unique and different, and wants to have a rich life full of amazing experiences, trucking was every bit of that from day one. I absolutely loved it.

But trucking is never easy. I've watched a lot of people become completely overwhelmed by it and run away screaming like a lunatic. It's super hard in the beginning and it does get a little better as time goes on. But OTR trucking never gets easy. You're always going to have long days, tight schedules, heavy traffic, and tough weather to deal with. If you want to thrive in this industry you have to embrace the challenges and understand that an easy life is a boring life not worth living. People can't live like dogs. Our brains are too busy. We need more. I come from Upstate New York where people seem to crave easy and predictable. It makes for a super boring life, a dull simple mind, and a person who isn't capable of handling even the smallest challenges in life.

It's not until we put ourselves outside of our comfort zone that we can expand that comfort zone, learn more about ourselves, and make an exciting life full of tough challenges and fantastic memories. Your confidence will grow and so will your taste for adventure.

Trucking can also be one of the most gratifying jobs you'll ever have. Those tough challenges combined with the fact that you're a critical part of the lifeblood of our economy making people's lives so incredibly nice every day is super rewarding. It also pays pretty darn good if you're willing to hustle. We have quite a few members making over $70,000/year after only two or three years in the industry.

It doesn't matter that the people around you aren't supportive. You're a grown man. You don't need their support. Get out there and build the life you want for yourself, the life that's going to make you happy. Anyone who cares about you cares most about seeing you happy. If you build a great life for yourself you'll be happy, and they'll be happy for you.

Personally I never cared a lick about any of that. I was given the greatest gift imaginable. I'm alive and healthy at the turn of the 21st century in America. I'm free to do anything I'd like and the world is one gigantic amusement park as far as I'm concerned so I'm going to ride all the rides before this journey is done. So people can think whatever they like. I'm not hurting anyone.

When I'm on one of my fantastic adventures the very last thing I'm thinking about is what anyone else is thinking. I have no time or concern for that. They're sitting on their porches living like dogs and I'm living life to the fullest having the greatest adventures imaginable. Why would I care if they understand or approve? I don't see why that would matter to me.

If you're going to do this then you need to be prepared mentally to go all in and endure the tough lessons along the way, and there's going to be plenty of them. It's a right of passage for truckers. You're going to make mistakes along the way and you're going to feel overwhelmed at times. You don't become the captain of an 80,000 pound building on wheels navigating this country without some ups and downs along the way. But that's what makes it so special. Most people can't do this. The rewards are being able to make a great living and living a grand adventure on the American highways.

Someday you're going to be an old man nearing the end and you're not going to regret anything you took a shot at. You're going to regret the things you didn't do. You don't want to go up to bat and stand there with the bat on your shoulder watching three strikes go by, do you? You only get one shot at life. You have to get up there and take a swing at it.


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.


Hours Of Service

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

Twenty years ago my wife told me you need to become a trucker! I had other career ambitions. The idea of being gone for weeks at a time didn't really set well with me. Over the next twenty years I worked various dead end jobs, jobs that brought no satisfaction. My last job was as a casino investigator. That comes a point in all jobs when you know it's time to hang it up and move on. One night I get a call another department had a major emergency it was a rally the troops, call in support, the world is ending. The person on the other end of the line was in melt down mode. I responded by asking them to hold on I was ordering lunch. They of course lost their minds. They started dropping F 💣's like crazy. I of course made them even angrier by asking if they had tried a particular item on the menu More F 💣's. I finally told the person look idiot your freaking out over a problem that doesn't exist . Over the next five minutes I provided them with information about their so called problem which help relax them and gave them piece of mind. Last September the job the came to end. Two weeks later I got a job interview with a different casino. After an hour I was given a job offer. It was a dollar pay cut by the end of my first year I would be making 50 cents more an hour and by the end of of my second year I would be making $2 more an hour, the top out pay was $25-$26 an hour. I then meet the people I would work with and realized I couldn't do it, half of the people I meet in the department looked like they were about to go postal. So I told my wife about it in an email. I expect her to write back saying it's a job. Instead she responded it's time you become a truck driver. Did I have second thoughts, self doubts, concerns, did I ever think maybe this is not for me? Of course I did. Derek S Brett in his response said it best. I assure you the second you set behind the wheel of a tractor trailer and turn that thing on its like electricity rushing through your body, do not think of driving a truck as a career or job think of driving a truck as the greatest adventure of your life and Derek it's time for that adventure to begin.

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