I Love This Job

Topic 2376 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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Sitting at the Flying J in Lebanon IN @ the 139 on I-65 doing a reset before my Monday delivery in Crystal Lake IL. Woke up in a sort of contemplative mood and was thinking about my past few days on the road. I see a lot of people living this lifestyle that really don't belong in it. I'm not sure why they got into it, maybe they just needed a job. It's a great job for those who are up to the challenge, but it is demoralizing for those who just jump in thinking "hey I know how to drive, and I love to travel, I might as well get paid for it."

It takes a special person to fill the shoes of an American Truck Driver. We work long hours in all kinds of weather, we take considerable risks accomplishing our daily tasks, and we do it with little thanks from anyone other than the modest paycheck we receive from our employers. I feel a sort of sadness, or maybe it's more a feeling of compassion, for the many people I come across in this field who just shouldn't be in it. I was in Roanoke VA securing this load of steel I'm hauling now and noticed another driver from my company beside me working on his load. The poor fellows shoulders looked like they were hanging down below his knees. It was pretty obvious he hated what he was doing, and after talking with him a few minutes he made it clear that he was completely demoralized by his choice of career. He told me that trucking was sucking the life out of him. He clearly needs to be doing something else. This is not a cushy job for the faint of heart, but sucking the life out of you?

It was such a contrast to the way I feel about this career. I love this stuff, I can't wait to get started each new day and show what I'm made of. I love being challenged. I get a charge out of coming up with creative solutions for the difficulties staring me down. I'm energized when a plan comes together and the obstacles are conquered and vanquished. I don't ever really think about my pay in connection with the amount of hours I work, I look at the accomplishments and the victories, and if there are defeats along the way I commit to learning from them and facing them square on the next time I'm up against them.

I love it when I read the reports from some of you who are out there making things happen. People like Red Gator who used to have a nice clean job wearing good clothes and being all civil too a bunch of whiny customers at a hotel, or Special K who ran herself broke trying to keep the doors of a restaurant open, or Daniel B. who was a forklift operator at a retail outlet, Mother Superior who just needed some more income to support her family, and Troubador whose once useful skills weren't needed anymore. All of these, and many others of you, have become a solid part of this nations economy by hitting it hard each day and making your own way through the obstacle course of what is a rewarding career for some and a demoralizing defeat for others.

I came up from Roanoke yesterday through the mountains of West Virginia on I-77 an I-64. There was a beautiful carpet of snow on the ground, and bits of it lying heavy on the bare limbs of the trees. I've got to tell you it was simply beautiful. I was hauling a 47,000 pound precarious load of flat steel up through there and was listening to Tom Petty singing "I Won't Back Down". I've got to tell you that a certain degree of pride rose up in me to be doing this job. I love what I do. And I hope you get that same feeling, at times, that I enjoyed yesterday while commandeering my rig through those mountains. This is a great job. This is a great life. I couldn't be happier.

Here's to you, the American Truck Driver!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

Well put Old School. I have stayed at that Flying J many times when I was pulling a reefer (had delivery just around the corner at a cold storage).

Too bad we have not been able to cross paths so far here on the road. Hope we can someday before I make my move to get something more local to my home in VA.

Ernie

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah Old School is talented when it comes to avoiding us. I haven't tracked him down yet either! rofl-2.gif

Awesome post Old School, I feel the same way. It's a wonderful job if you're cut out for it!

Howard P.'s Comment
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Good post, Old School. That guy sounds like I used to feel when I was doing sales. Hated every minute of it.....

Cheers, Howard

Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

I am that guy in my job now. That is why I am looking into driving a truck. I have dreamed of driving one since I was a little boy. Everytime I saw a big truck, I gazed at it with excitement. I do not mind hard work. Your post makes me want to drive even more. Thanks.

Svetlana K.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm the girl who's life is being sucked out of her. I hate my job now, when I cashier, stand in one place I feel horrible, on my days where I stock and clean the store, I'm happy. The harder I work physically the happier I am, go figure. I've had other careers, cashiering was close to home so I took it. Never again! I don't mind driving, I've driven from duty station to duty station each time, and I feel happy when I see a big rig coming down the road. If it wasn't for all of you giving us advice we would be lost. I've been on other sites when I started studying but stuck with this one. I really appreciate all of you, I can not say Thank You enough.

Larry E.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, Old School! We are on the same EXACT wave length. I made a similar post on my FB page this morning. I love this new life that I have in flat bed trucking. It is by no means peaches and cream, but I love the challenges that are thrown our way every single day. This is my 3rd career and by far the most physically demanding. Along with it goes the depravations that most people take for granted like bathroom and shower facilities. I think a certain amount of what you are pointing at is maturity and a bit of risk taking. If you like it, stick with it, if not get out. That level of maturity isn't necessarily age related either, as Daniel B. is a testament to. It is more about attitude than anything else. A positive or negative attitude affects you not only mentally, but physically as well. Life is too short to not positively appreciate as much of it as we can.

Thank you for putting in words some great thinking about this lifestyle we call trucking!

Turbo Dan's Comment
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Hi Old School, I heard on the Chicago News, and I'm sure you already know, 80/94 and I guess I65 are shut down, I just spent 6 days on the road and got back last nite (Sat) going from Chitown to Williston ND and back which should have been 3 and a half days. Spent over a day trying to get 5,000 gals of Frac Gel unloaded, but most of the delay was weather getting back to Chicago. Basically a white out blizzard going south to Bizmark, spent the nite in Jamestown, found a dead tire on the trailer during pretrip the next morning. got going into MN and the outside temp was +16 degrees with light RAIN on the windshield ! so on top of Blowing snow it was freezing rain. with 4 wheelers in the ditch every 10 miles, Uhaul box truck on it's side and a couple of pickups on their roofs, I only did about 250 miles for the second day in a row. the last accident I seen was a 4 door SUV on it's roof with a large wrecker rushing to pull it up right as the occupants were trapped inside. At that point I decided to grab the next truck stop for the night, which was at Sauk Center MN I believe, Shell AMBest. got going Sat morning at 6:00am to do the last 550 miles, weather was clear until I got to Beloit WI and I hit the Chicago snow storm on I90. It took 4 hours to get to Chicago Heights to park the rig. Back to the point of this thread, I was the Guy also that got to the point of hating my career as a service technician with Xerox, when I started in 1968, I loved the job, as a dragracer I enjoy fixing things. I was happy to be the guy to get the machines going for the customers. then thru the years they started bringing in Bean counters right out of college and decided to make Customer service a proffit center instead of a business expense. they kept cutting the parts budget and increasing the workload to the point where no matter what I did nobody was happy, especially the customers when I walked into their offices later than they were used to. I could'nt stand it any longer, so after 35+ years I took their buy out package, this was probably buy design to loose the older more expensive work force. I've been on a long path to end up in trucking, I started Drag racing in 1966 and for the last 24 years traveling over the road putting on Jet Car shows every summer. my racing transported is a 42' tripple axle goose neck box trailer and a short cab ford 1 ton dually combination. I got DOT'd 3 years ago during truck safety week, they made me get a CDL A license (28,000 GCVW) so I ended up working for a Trucking company as a mechanic, I enjoyed that, but after I started driving the Mack trucks I liked driving the Big Rigs. I finished up my CDL by passing the air brake test and adding double and tripples, tanker and hazmat. my company sent me to williston twice last winter to run the tanker to deliver product onsite at the oil well a week at a time. I ended up driving the Tanker with a driver as an instructor on those trips. I felt real important this wednesday because instead of just delivering the product to the warehouse, they needed me to go out to the well site at midnight for an emergency delivery, as their on site tank was empty and a 40 man crew was waiting for me so they could continue the Fracking of the oil well. I know it's along story but I think I've been working towards my new career for along time. A smooth bore tanker at 80,000 lbs takes light controls so as to not get the surge going out of control. I'm getting better, and always trying to anticipate, curves, down hills, stops ect. my training as a commercial pilot and driving my 300 mph Jet dragster helped, but also I'm used to OTR truck stops, sleeping in the pickup truck sleeper or the bed in the trailer helped to. You end up in life mostly by the decisions you made in the past, I did'nt plan on being an 18 wheel tanker truck driver at 65 years old but I'm glad of where I'm at in this stage of life. this past week even with all the adversities I was thinking that I was enjoing the challenge. I respect the responsibility and professionalism of what I'm doing and after I parked the rig last night, I thought to my self that I was glad I did it. So what you started out by talking about the guy that hated his job, that was me a while back. Right now I Love trucking, 10 years from now, who knows. Thanks again Old School , you always have a way of getting people to think about things.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Old School that was very well said and an awesome read!

Those exact same sentiments are what inspired me to start this website in the first place. Not only did I want to help people understand what a career in trucking was all about, but I wanted to help prepare them for how brutally difficult it is, even for those of us who are cut out for it. But hey, that's also what makes it one of the most rewarding careers out there!

And at the same time I wanted to try to keep people away from trucking that didn't belong there. If you're not cut out for it, it's gotta be the most miserable career imaginable. I too feel for those people. They must hate every second of it.

How would someone know if they're cut out for a career in trucking? If you wake up in the morning feeling this way about life then you'll likely do well in trucking:

I can't wait to get started each new day and show what I'm made of. I love being challenged. I get a charge out of coming up with creative solutions for the difficulties staring me down. I'm energized when a plan comes together and the obstacles are conquered and vanquished. I don't ever really think about my pay in connection with the amount of hours I work, I look at the accomplishments and the victories, and if there are defeats along the way I commit to learning from them and facing them square on the next time I'm up against them.

If that sounds completely foreign to you then please run like h*ll! because trucking is not where you belong.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Bravo, well said.

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