Trucking Paper

Topic 30078 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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If you tell someone something long enough, they will begin to believe you. Advertisers know this fact well. They will repeat things several times in an advertisement just to "hook" you in. I am convinced that truck drivers are guilty of creating their own echo chamber. All we ever hear from one another is how badly we are being treated. Anyone who has had to sit at a company terminal while their truck is being repaired knows exactly what I'm talking about. I have watched rookie drivers just sink right into the mindset of the veteran drivers they were listening to. What we take into our minds tends to play itself out in our attitudes. Our attitudes tend to form our behavior and work ethic. I am convinced this echo chamber we live in as truck drivers has influenced most of us very negatively. Our stigmas may be well deserved if my theory is correct. We may be invisible because we have made ourselves that way.

Are we mistreated? I don't think so. Are we invisible? I don't think so. We like to complain about our pay. I made fifty grand my rookie year. In eight years I was making a little over $100,000. What kind of job do you know of where a man can do that without the need for formal education? I cannot complain about my income from trucking. I cannot consider myself invisible when a company is paying me well. I think most of us just don't understand how to make this career work for us. It is tragic how we set our standards so low. Most truck drivers could be doing much better for themselves, but they would rather settle for less so they can wear this perverse badge of honor that claims they are being mistreated. I don't like the culture that we have created for ourselves. It is a culture that keeps us from recognizing how much opportunity lies within our grasp.

You also made this statement in your paper...

It is not work for the faint of heart, but there is a sublime joy to be found once a new driver has achieved their balance.

I applaud that idea. There is ample opportunity in trucking for each of us to find his own niche. The problem is that most of us like to have something to complain about. We are a bunch of whiners for the most part. Like I said earlier, it may just be my personality. I like to improve myself any way I can. I don't dwell in negative thinking. I move myself forward even if nobody cares to go with me. I will always be satisfied with this career. It has been very rewarding for me.

I may not be all that visible to anyone but myself. But I know my superiors in my company have made great efforts at recognizing my efforts and doing anything and everything they can to make sure I am satisfied with things like home time, routing and schedules. I am oftentimes given my choice of what loads I would like to run. I am certain my experience has differed from many of my fellow drivers, but what I am not certain of is if my experience has been determined by my approach to this whole career. I look for opportunity and I grab it when I can. Most of us are convinced that there is no opportunity. We look for the daily drudgery that we are convinced is our lot as truck drivers. I say poppy**** to that approach, it has undermined our entire industry with it's venom. It has wormed it's way throughout our entire truck driving culture. It is poison in it's purest form.

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.

Keith A.'s Comment
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That's positively fascinating Old School -- I'd still be willing to stand by my premise (for now, at least), but I had not considered the basic influence of /how/ that premise would influence my perception.

That was and is a lot of why I never liked spending much time around other drivers, because so few of them seemed concerned with actually attempting to reconcile their complaints with reality and find ways to address them or live with the reality of things. That being said a lot of this paper stems from my experience working for Knight and so there's definitely anecdotal fuel in my perspective, although I tried to make sure I had eliminated or countered for that in writing this paper.

I think that there's definitely a conversation that should happen about the... cultural element at play here: depending on your exact phrasing, it comes down to a nature vs. nurture viewpoint, individual responsibility vs. systemic assistance. I operate primarily from a nurture perspective, with a side-serving of wanting systems to be well constructed to assist people on their way towards being responsible. This might be a paradox or a dead end though, I'm not sure yet -- but it's based (again) heavily off my personal experience. Without the information and advice offered by this forum and the mentors I've found along the way when I worked for Knight, I would not be where I am now, and truth be told I'm not sure I'd have made the grade without their assistance.

With your permission, is it okay if I copy your replies into a word doc to use as possible sourcing/reminders for if/when I return to this topic?

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.

Old School's Comment
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With your permission, is it okay if I copy your replies into a word doc to use as possible sourcing/reminders for if/when I return to this topic?

Of course you can.

Also Keith, think about this. You make this comment: "a lot of this paper stems from my experience working for Knight and so there's definitely anecdotal fuel in my perspective." You struggled a good bit at Knight. I would assume that much of your struggle was from simply being a young and somewhat reluctant rookie. I want to suggest that you don't allow your rookie issues to influence your total perspective on the trucking career. It is easy to keep ourselves in our own little bubble. My experience at Knight has been nothing short of wonderful. I did come there as a somewhat experienced driver.

There is no question that some of your points in your paper are valid reasons that people struggle with trucking. It is a tough career for many of the reasons you give. I don't look for government regulators, legislators, or corporate managers to correct any of those issues. I just try to reconcile what it is and make sure that I am able to deal with those issues so that I am satisfied with my work. I try to do my best to be hyper productive. I put forth a strong effort at keeping myself making really good money while enjoying what I do. When I can do that, I am just as happy as a pig in mud!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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