Greenhorn And Trying To Make Sure I Don't Get In Too Deep

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The Lost's Comment
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I've been looking at truck driving for a while now, when I was told what the money could be and how long it would take me, I was really interested. I've lived on $1000 per month or LESS for years now. I'm not able to be on my feet all the time, I'm not able to do these fast paced jobs like factories and the like. I've tried office work but that well dried up fast as you need a degree for most, and the rest well...they're a joke to be honest. I've spent the past year or so now delivering food. I need something more though, food delivery is pretty fickle. I have found a really good school for CDL that will get me every certification except buses/public transport. I still have to see about tuition funding, but I've been doing research as they have companies that are willing to hire me on as soon as I graduate. I have never in my life researched a more confusing topic. Yeah everyone and their mother wants first hand accounts of what its like to work with X company or to do Y job. Me, I'm...a bit more lost. I did read that if I jump from company to company I'll be shooting myself in the foot so I'm trying to make sure I do this right. I don't like the sound of being gone so long, not so much as being away from home, I have few, if any ties, but its made out like I'm going to be working 18 hours a day, passing out, sleeping 3-5 hours, then back at it, continuously, for days on end, and that I have to be this flawless human being in order to do this work. Sounds like a ton of exaggeration. I was told this is the hardest job ever. That it is maximum stress. I've been told nothing about this is hard but it will chew you up and spit you out. I dunno what to believe. I'm rambling aimlessly. Let's see if I can condense this, Here's what I'm looking for honestly:

I don't want to be working all the time. Driving is OK, though I do get fatigued from that. From what I can tell I'll be driving 5ish days if I max the legal driving time each day. But I'm not 100%. I need down time. I need it to stay sane. I need it to be able to unwind and sleep and do life things. I don't rush for anyone but myself and only when I have to.

I'd rather not have people breathing down my neck all the time. Yeah I get it's a stats game. But I work better alone. Hence part of this industry's appeal. Support when I need it, otherwise let me go.

I'm not that motivated by money. See the first bit of this post. I know what my budget is, I know what it takes for me to get by. I'd be happy doubling what I make now.

I'm a bit worried about not passing the drug test. I had one hit of cannabis back in December, the Saturday before Christmas. Before that i had some about daily for two weeks sometime no later than September, before that it was March. I can be as heavy or as light on it as I wish, and if I have to give it up, so be it. But from what I read the companies have some sort of super test that goes back years or something.

I come first. Shock and awe, I know. I'm expected to lay down and die for a company that will replace me in a day. Nope. I tried that hard work gung ho bust tail approach. Now I'm in the situation I'm in. No Gods. No Masters. That doesn't mean I'm not willing to do my part, but again, no more sacrificing what little of my life I have left to enjoy.

It's ok if it gets tough. I may seem like a pansy to you. A baby. Ok Boomer. It's fine if I have tough moments, I just would not rather get to the point to where I dread going to work.

I'd rather do shorter range but again I'm more interested in how much down time I get than I am home time, but home time is nice too.

Should I avoid this industry? Would I be in too deep? I'm probably more flexible than you, or even I think, I just want something normal. Before you tell me go to trade school. Guess what? I did. Oopsie I spent that year and a half ish and magically I did it wrong. Or something. I dunno. That's a story for another time. But you know another reason why I was interested in this industry, the time. I don't have time to faff about and drive myself insane balancing school and work yet again for ages while risking nothing coming from it. Shorter time and seems to be, from what I can tell, and I have been researching job listings in my area, I can do a lot more with a CDL.

Questions, comments, concerns, general insults, etc are all welcome. I'm just trying to get more info.

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to trucking truth! I'd suggest you look into Paid CDL Training Programs. As far as working 18 hours a day, the days will be long but we're limited In our hours. Once you have started your day you have 14 hours that will continue to run. You can drive UP TO 11 of those hours a day which usually wont frequently happen. You're then required to take atleast 10 hours off. If you're only getting 3 or 5 hours of sleep then that's your own fault. There are exceptions to the rules above but as an OTR driver you likely wont deal with them. While being loaded and un loaded you're able to climb into your sleeper and nap. You wont be REQUIRED to run 3000 miles a week but this also isnt a vacation.

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.

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.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

First thing is do not attempt this career until you can pass a hair follicle test. It doesn't go back years. Usually it goes about 90 days. Just because you find a company that only tests urine doesn't mean they won't start doing hair. When I got hired on they did urinalysis but a few months later they started doing hair follicle as well.

Second thing to think about is if driving isn't your thing then this really isn't the career for you. Driving a truck is much more mentally and physically demanding than driving an auto.

Third if you're not wanting to work hard then you're wasting the company's time and resources. They expect you to run if you have hours available. These are not paid vacations. Yes you will see stuff but it is a job.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

Personally, based off what you have said I'm not sure trucking is the best career path for you at this time.

Trucking requires a commitment and flexibility I'm not sold that you have both.

Unless your attitude changes you'll most likely hate trucking and be unhappy at every company.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Lost's Want List includes:

I don't want to be working all the time. Driving is OK, though I do get fatigued from that. From what I can tell I'll be driving 5ish days if I max the legal driving time each day. But I'm not 100%. I need down time. I need it to stay sane. I need it to be able to unwind and sleep and do life things. I don't rush for anyone but myself and only when I have to.

I'd rather not have people breathing down my neck all the time. Yeah I get it's a stats game. But I work better alone. Hence part of this industry's appeal. Support when I need it, otherwise let me go.

From your title worries about getting in "Too Deep" I feel this career is full commitment. You can find part time or other limited driving work, but the great percentage of new drives have to go in all the way for at least a year. The job is a bit complicated (but plenty do make the cut) and dangerous in pulling 40 tons down highways and in bad weather day and/or night.

The time thing is interesting. No, you do not work "all the time", you have federal rules to keep you from being worked to death. But if you get "fatigued" in driving, watch out. 18 wheelers do have power steering, air brakes that are a cut above car brakes and an automatic shifting transmission. But it is still you holding the steering wheel. You have the advantage of getting down time about every months or so and you can arrange to kick back nearly anywhere you want to, whether it's Fargo ND or Flagstaff AZ. You can mostly drive at any time of the day you like, if that's important. And good or bad, Truck driving is a very lonely career. On your own in the cab, no one to talk to except at truck stop restaurants, things like that.

Sanity, or Insanity, is by your own definition. As long as you get the goods delivered safely and on time, you can pretty much be as sane as you want to be.

Bottom Line: Over The Road Trucking is a 100 percent kind of career. If you have doubts, maybe it's not or you.

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.

The Lost's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to trucking truth! I'd suggest you look into Paid CDL Training Programs. As far as working 18 hours a day, the days will be long but we're limited In our hours. Once you have started your day you have 14 hours that will continue to run. You can drive UP TO 11 of those hours a day which usually wont frequently happen. You're then required to take atleast 10 hours off. If you're only getting 3 or 5 hours of sleep then that's your own fault. There are exceptions to the rules above but as an OTR driver you likely wont deal with them. While being loaded and un loaded you're able to climb into your sleeper and nap. You wont be REQUIRED to run 3000 miles a week but this also isnt a vacation.

So basically I have 14 hours for a shift, to do as I need. But I don't have to use all of it if I decide not to? That's the best I understand it, and it didn't seem like I'd be on those 11 hours of driving all the time, but for some reason the way people talk that's what it seems like.

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.

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.
The Lost's Comment
member avatar

Not sure where people are getting the idea that i expect this to be a vacation from but OK... I'm not really a sightseeing person.

The Lost's Comment
member avatar

You say OTR , but surely, and I've seen it, there's regional , line, seems more flexible, less commitment. I see stuff for home every week all over, even ads talking about just being out two or tree days at a time. Does that just...not exist for me?

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.

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.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

You're probably still gunna have to spend a year out over the road to gain experience every company wants Once you get that under your belt, you can pretty much go anywhere else, and maybe find that dream spot ye seek lol Might check some closer mom & pop places for local AFTER you got your CDL.....

Note: some BIG companies have went belly up this year alone, so who's to say some smaller outfit won't as well?? Ya might wanna hop in your car and drive cross country and back as if you were in a truck, and see how you handle the long 10-11 drive time ??

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Not sure where people are getting the idea that i expect this to be a vacation

If you told any hiring manager at any company what you've told us you would never land a job in this industry or most others for that matter. This is an industry for high-performers who are motivated to put in long days, keep those wheels turning, and make things happen. I can say with confidence it is highly unlikely you'll fit in here.

If you've been living off $1,000/month for years then to be perfectly honest you're not putting in any kind of honest effort, and trucking requires maximum effort.

I agree with the others. This is not the industry for you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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