Prospective Trucker Asks, "Isolation And Loneliness. What Is Your Experience?"

Topic 23461 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Taco Samuelson's Comment
member avatar

**The ice-breaker question: Trucking appeals to a sense of freedom. What about the loneliness? In my desk-job, I have people that I can go to, and I have people that just kinda... look after me. As a prospective trucker, I have a worry that I'll be "too free." Too isolated. Too lonely.

From the podcasts and some of the posts I've read, one of the "warnings" or ... "romance is fun, but its a job and career" ... I've heard about isolation. Freedom is what I imagine it feels like on those sunny days. But I've seen the winter before (only to see spring again!), and I'm just wondering what y'alls experience with isolation and loneliness (aka winter) is when you're operating that truck for that company, and you're days away from family. ------------------------------------ First post!

I'm considering the career. Over the past year or so, I've listened to all of Brett's podcasts. Some a few times, like reading that dusty comic book under a box of old toys. And I've chilled with some vlogs. And I've been on some deep, internet rabbit-hole, explorations. Trucking has been on the brain since I was in middle-school, on a family vacation to and through the 4-corner states. My hometown (back then) of Dallas just got a lot, freaking, bigger.

I've had a lot of dreams in my life. Trucking has been there since I first made a list, and while the list hasn't gotten shorter... trucking is getting towards the top.

Whats it like??? I'm ~6mo out from a decision point... no rash decisions is a lesson I learned the hard way... so I'm deciding to try to strike up a chat!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi and welcome!

Truckers are a special kind of breed to say the least. We do spend a ton of time alone, but Im never bored or lonely. I made a lot of friends at my company, and i often talk to them while driving with my head set. i made it a point in training ti get A LOT of phone numbers from experienced drivers to help.me and help.it did.

My first month out in Feb, my brakes froze, i got stuck in a snow bank and couldnt back out, and i climbed a 7% grade mountain in a blizzard and didnt know i was on a mountain. i was terrifed, but two very special friends were with me on the phone even at 3am to help talk me.through it.

Going through WY in the winter the road will close a few times before you exit the state and if you park at a truck stop with a lunch counter, you will always have plenty of truckers to chat with during your meal. i make them laugh lol heck, a few bought me dinner saying i was so funny i was.like a comedy show.

Many of us have pets, i have a cat. but even a cat is a big responsibility on a truck. you need to use your limited space for kitty litter boxes, and stored litter and food. you need to have at least a few weeks of food because you never know when you can get to a walmart. And honestly i the beginning i was too scared to try. some are very tight or veet busy with trucks.

when i go.to the terminals, i always see drivers and inhouse people i know and it feels like.family. And believe it or not, i have met over 27 drivers from this forum, most who came to prime and i just happened to meet them at the terminal. a couple meetups we arranged with drivers who work at other companies.

my point is it is about attitude, but there are people who are prone to.depression and for them the isolation can be terrible. thats one of the reasons some.companies are strict about current and past antidepressent and antianxiety use.

amd yes, it is freedom. no one enters my little world even on the phone unless i want them too. i live in a bubble i control. its great!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Jamie's Comment
member avatar
I made a lot of friends at my company, and i often talk to them while driving with my head set.

I made a lot of friends but only of we were allowed to talk on the phone it would come in handy when I get in a jam. rofl-1.gif

But I would have to pull over(at a "safe and legal" place) to call anyone or risk my job even with hands free devices. Regardless I'm still enjoying it, not sure how to feel about this coming winter.

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

I am usually talking to friends and family when I'm driving. If I don't feel like talking or I'm driving while the rest of the world sleeps, I have satellite radio. CFI provides that for us, I now feel it's a necessity for any vehicle, I will drive for the long term. I also, have a very active mind and can spend hours working on stuff in my head. I never feel isolated and alone.

Taco Samuelson's Comment
member avatar

Awesome, thanks for the replies. What y'all said is kinda my theory about how I'd handle it... I've got family (blood or not) spread throughout the country and if I'm trucking, my relationship with them is no different (all over a cable in one form or another)... and if I'm trucking, hell, I could maybe arrange some "home-time" with them instead of my "home" listed on my forms and tax returns. Like... "Once a decade we get to touch flesh and laugh like you do with old friends? F' that, I'm coming to you!"

I'm also drawn into the notion of being kinda "anonymous." I currently work phones... its a fine job at a fine company (hard work and looking out for each other is valued), its just my lifestyle that I'm disappointed in. Anyway, from working phones I have spent a few units-of-time thinking about how to build trust with strangers. I guess I like it, the thrill of meeting strangers and seeking out that conversation. Nothing ventured nothing gained... venture and nothing lost, even if it ends poorly... sometimes free things cost you something, I guess!!!

I feel like I live in a city (and I pay city rent + city taxes)... but my nature is to travel and be aloof yet very warm. My friends are either people I've known for a short time... or a very long time... and you know, every once in a while one of those short-term friends sticks around and they become family, but yeah... I think this quality of mine is something that would be in my pocket on the road.

Thanks for my rants and your replies!!! I'm gonna push myself and tomorrow answer this thread (if its still alive) and post in another one. Thanks again!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi, Taco. I jumped into OTR after a lengthy other career. I, also, was kind of concerned about the whole lonliness / isolation factor. I can tell you that, like others above, you will probably find a way to make it work. You will make connections with coworkers that you meet during orientation or at the terminals. Friends / family - Phone calls. Email, text messages and Facetime if you can when you're parked for your 10 / 34 (ONLY when parked). I had some absolutely wild memory moments while driving along early in the morning with no traffic. The great thing about this job is that you are allowed to BE YOURSELF when you're doing it.

You will find that many of your fellow drivers are in a similar spot to you, and will readily engage in a conversation that begins off the simplest weather observation, or comment on fuel line length. If they seem standoffish, don't push them there will be someone else along the road of life that will gladly chat with you. Being by yourself is not the same thing as being lonely.

Good luck to you - this is the probably one of the top three jobs in the world. Enjoy your time doing it!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Don's Comment
member avatar

During my very short time OTR , while driving I listened to favorite stations on Sirius XM. I also talked to family and fellow drivers. Like Big Scott, I too enjoyed the alone time with my thoughts. When stopped, I read, watched tv or surfed the web. If I were stopped at a Mom and Pop truck stop, I would spend some (little) time talking to drivers. If your company keeps you moving, it helps with the feelings of isolation. It did for me, at least.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Taco...your first post included this prefix...

**The ice-breaker question: Trucking appeals to a sense of freedom. What about the loneliness? In my desk-job, I have people that I can go to, and I have people that just kinda... look after me. As a prospective trucker, I have a worry that I'll be "too free." Too isolated. Too lonely.

I think the isolation concern you highlighted, has received some really good responses. I'd like to take a moment to share my thoughts and experience with the Freedom point of your post. I've actually toyed with the idea of writing a blog article on the "freedom" subject, frankly because although it's perceived as a major benefit, it's arguably one of the aspects of this job that can have a detrimental effect if not fully understood and handled accordingly. Here is an excerpt from the notes I have made on the subject…

The Freedom of Trucking – is it a Blessing or a Curse?

It depends. I think we have all heard this saying: “with freedom comes responsibility”.

At a high level we can all understand how freedom applies to our personal lives, our lives as United States citizens and all the privileges we can never take for granted. But this concept, perhaps in a more intrinsic way, also applies to the new trucking career. How so? Of all the topics we cover in Trucking Truth; things we must do to be successful and the things that will cause failure, our new found freedom can swing either way. All depends what you do with it and the necessary adjustments required for embracing it.

I think it’s safe to assume that most of us did not enter into trucking experienced “how-to handle” and “manage job freedom”. Most jobs require us to follow a set schedule; basically following the rules of where to be, when to be there and what to do when we are there. A highly structured job is what most of us have experienced before our trucking career. The freedom associated with trucking is often viewed as a great benefit, one that most everyone entering into this career desires and looks forward to. At least they think they do. But is it always a positive? I suggest the Freedom associated with this job, many times requires one of the more difficult, but not so obvious adjustments. This adjustment can be problematic for almost anyone because most of us have never had this much of “it” in a job or at school. It can be a trap that you may not expect because for the most part we are on our own to either sink or swim.

The first step with any potential problem is recognition. Once past the comfy-confines of the trainer’s truck, we are all effectively “cut-loose” from the Mother Ship, launched "kicking & screaming" into “Truckerdum”. We are free to roam the vast bi-ways and highways of our great country. This moment of clarity is when it’s important to realize, we must adjust how we have handled our day to day lives in our other jobs. Take me for instance; older guy worked most of my life in various technology consulting and project management positions. I had the bosses who signed my paycheck and the bosses (customers) who signed my status reports and deliverable acceptance reports. Once we evolved into a more “Agile” process of software delivery, I had meetings from the time I got to work until I left. Everything was planned out by others, structured. I never needed to worry about having any freedom at work…because basically;... there wasn’t any.

Although I was happy to leave that box, my new found freedom created an interesting situation for me. Basically most truck drivers are given a start date and time, and a delivery date and time with potentially a whole lot of space in the middle that' other than e-logs, we have very little accountability for; usually no one looking over our shoulder, asking if there is anything they could do to help, "have you considered this?" or "will you have those reports to me by 5:00 PM?"

In conventional jobs, there are usually all kinds of people poking their noses in our business, micro-managing our every move, keeping us on-point and in-check. I get stressed out even recalling those days. But with trucking, those frequent checks, the invasive oversight doesn’t typically occur. I suggest this is one of the bigger adjustments a new truck driver faces. It’s up to you now to do all the planning and preparation for each and every trip. This is the price we must pay for the new-found freedom with this job, please do not overlook it or underestimate it.

Looking forward to others responses to this...and add how I learned to manage my freedom resulting in higher performance, greater efficiency and better compensation.

Good luck!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Taco Samuelson's Comment
member avatar
Here is an excerpt from the notes I have made on the subject…

Dang, G-Town, those are solid notes! What I got out of it was sort of. . . pointing the microscope on my daily habits, especially the ones I don't notice (because they're habits, kinda the point is to not notice them!). Those "unnoticed things that will change as a trucker" are important to how I understand a value like Freedom. . . so if we accept that the value doesn't change, but our interaction with it. . . what happens when you're 2000 miles away from your destination with more-or-less time to get it done? GPS helps, and there are rules and e-logs by which you gotta obey... otherwise, its your job, your responsibility, your reputation in this career. I guess the "hidden" factor, for me, at least, is just enjoying that personal feeling of a job well done. I'm no saint, I just think it feels better to be noticed as "gets it done" when you aren't expecting to be noticed for doing your damn job.

Very thought provoking, G-Town, thanks!

this is the probably one of the top three jobs in the world

I'm still learning this forum, so hopefully you'll see this, Mr. Curmudgeon. . . What would you say the other two jobs are on that list? LOL, maybe I don't want to know, as it could just be a distraction from checking "100k+ miles in a big rig" off of my bucket list. For me, it'd be owner of a company (doing whatever, the principle being it was mine) or. . . dang. . . yeah, I guess trucking is a top job if you want the lifestyle. Seriously. . . what other job in the USA offers good coin for the ability/requirement to be a traveler? A professional migrant.

------------------ Satellite radio has been brought up. What is cell phone coverage like? Well, non-roaming coverage. I was living in upstate NY when an older couple died in the winter on I-87 in the Adirondaks when their car broke down. They had a cell phone, but no coverage. It was a thing, and afterwards my hiking buddies were stoked that the whole interstate was given poor, but passable, cell-phone coverage through and through. I'm guessing this isn't always the case??

Thanks for the welcome and the thoughts!

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

I'm still learning this forum, so hopefully you'll see this, Mr. Curmudgeon. . . What would you say the other two jobs are on that list? LOL, maybe I don't want to know, as it could just be a distraction from checking "100k+ miles in a big rig" off of my bucket list. For me, it'd be owner of a company (doing whatever, the principle being it was mine) or. . . dang. . . yeah, I guess trucking is a top job if you want the lifestyle. Seriously. . . what other job in the USA offers good coin for the ability/requirement to be a traveler? A professional migrant.

Taco - the other two would have to be (#2) Firefighter / Paramagician - you show up when the world is falling apart, everyone is in crisis and yet they're still happy to see you, you get paid to sleep, watch TV and eat dinner (and all the girls love firemen), and (#1) IMHO - being a Dad (or Mom as the shoe fits). Can't do the firefighter gig while OTR , typically, but you can make the parent thing work. It's tough, but then the tough things bring greater reward.

Before anyone takes issue with my FF comments, I worked alongside those guys/gals for 30 years, and know how rough they can have it when it's busy.

Good Luck as you move into this career! Peace

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 1 of 2 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