Was It Worth It?

Topic 32566 | Page 1

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Shane J.'s Comment
member avatar

"I heard you have to go through a lot, was it difficult?" I was asked that question a couple days ago by the cashier at Dennys after I pulled out a 10% discount card from my CDL school. Like everyone else you talk to about trucking in any fashion, he had a brother/cousin/sister/uncle/whoever that tried to do it and got hit with the tremendous amounts of B.S. obstacles put in front of them. "So much that you wonder if it was even worth it" was my response.

So I thought I would write this for anyone and everyone who has been hit with the background checks or maybe the failed drug tests or the cost or the empty recruiter promises. This is for you. I travel a lot. In the middle of an extended round the world journey I found myself needing to hitch from Copenhagen to Germany without anyone noticing.

One of the rides offered was in a truck. While I didn't accept that one it did reignite a desire to hit the road I once had. After a few years I returned to the hamster wheel and had to figure out what to do with myself. For a traveller with mechanical knowledge and no family to worry about, driving seemed like a good fit. After a little time in Alaska I started calling recruiters for training. Obstacle number one, work history. for obvious reasons my history was spotty. Now I am not writing this to sully the name of any company. But they're in the northern area, drive black trucks and are named after Tom Hanks' volleyball friend.

Before they ghosted me, his advice was "go find a job for a while." Thats it. In order to get a job, I had to go get a job. So I did for a while. Then I come back and spend a couple grand to reestablish residency. I even go get the cdl permit and DOT physical. Unfortunately two things happened.

One was I was sharing a house with four people who smoked like old locomotives. the second was the FMCSA. So obstacle number two, hair follicle testing. I was denied on work history by two other companies, but one said yes. Paid training as well. they also say that second hand smoke doesn't appear on tests. Not true. When that fell through I tried to get the workforce grant.

I hadn't worked for about three months and only had earned a couple grand but the workforce company works on a 6 month timeline so, in a move I still don't understand, they double my income and I am disqualified for the grant on income that I never earned. I go away for another 13 months or so. When I come back I try again. But life has a funny way of pointing you in another direction. After a few weeks I start with the recruiters again and a couple schools. The schools are running 6000- 8000 dollars.

1200-2000 to get a place for a month and then living costs. You're going to drop a minimum of 10 grand. Not an option for most people. But two companies said yes and gave me conditional offer letters. "Make sure you're ready to go before we do the full application." Sound advice it turns out. Two days later I find out a family member needs to go in for a rather serious surgery.

So I'm not going anywhere. But while spending time off I come up on the 6 month mark of unemployment. So I try again for the workforce grant. Also in this time reality sinks in and I ask myself, "is it worth it?" I have wasted more time, spent more money and gone through more B.S. trying to drive a truck than everything else I have ever tried to do combined and I haven't even got the license.

"No, it's not worth it."

Then I get approved for the grant. It's going to cost a couple grand for a hotel but I'll never get a better chance to do this. So I go.

More drug testing, more background checks, the newly adopted early driver training (mind numbingly stupid...thanks government) and a stunning lack of behind the wheel training is waiting for me at this school. I've had enough of this. Considering how easy the cdl permit and drive tests actually are it is amazing how many hoops you have to jump through to get there.

But I did and am now in possession of a shiny new class A license. Now to answer the question, "was it worth it?" No. It's not. "What are you going to do now that you have it?"

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

This industry can take its testing, Fmcsa , Dot records, Hair follicle tests, driver facing cameras, early driver training and anything else I missed, roll it all into a big ball and shove it. Then every time I hear someone whine about a driver shortage I am going to sit back and laugh my silly ass off.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I am a convicted felon who is required to register. If I am able to get into this industry and maintain employment for over a year now, then there are no excuses. It wasn't worth it to you because you give up too easily.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Friend, you're just not motivated enough to do this, and that's ok. You seem to be in a position where you don't have to work much.

You came to trucking looking for a paid traveling gig. I can dig that. You just didn't realize how difficult trucking is. Trucking is way, way harder than most people would ever imagine. After 30 years in this industry, I don't recall a single time that anyone said trucking was easier than they expected. Not once.

You're a casual traveler. I can dig that, too. But there is nothing casual about trucking. It's one of the most difficult and demanding careers you'll find anywhere.

I think you should go elsewhere for now. Without a high level of motivation, you won't last in trucking. Heck, getting the license is by far the easiest part, and that kicked your ass. You didn't even get near the tough part yet!

You should be thankful it's so difficult to get behind the wheel of a big rig. Would you want to share the highway with just anyone? You'd see a lot more tragedy on the highway if you didn't have to jump through so many hoops.

I wish you all the best.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

All 3 of the OP's posts are the same.

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

I pray that the trucking industry can keep its head above water without this driver. rofl-2.gif wtf.gif shocked.png

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I think back on everything I went through and conclude it was absolutely worth it.

Shane by devaluing the objective of becoming a truck driver, to you it’s not worth it. It’s not meant to be a hobby or pastime.

Be thankful there are a million of us out here who do feel it’s worth it.

Pete E Pothole's Comment
member avatar

You get out of this industry, what you put into it. The end result really is a reflection of your effort and determination.

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