What Percentage Of The Time Do You "enjoy" Trucking?

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The Zen Joker 's Comment
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Hello All,

There is a wealth of experiences and insights throughout this forum. Much of which states the raw truth and challenges of trucking and life on the road which reinforces the value of TT. So with that said, here is a general question. Looking at your career as a whole whether you are a rookie or a seasoned veteran, amidst all the challenges, what percent of the time do you actually "enjoy" what you are doing? 30%? 50%? 75%?

Just looking to see the general consensus. Would also appreciate if any parents with younger kids at home can weigh in. Regional driving would let me home 38-48 hours per week, but even still it is weighing on me to leave my wife and daughter for 100+ hours a week. I know I cannot underestimate this factor so trying to evaluate the whole picture.

Thanks!

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I enjoy nearly everything about my day while behind the wheel with the exception being long delays getting loaded/unloaded. It's relaxing (in good weather) just going down the road listening to some music. Yesterday I nearly lost control twice on a road that I was unaware had freezing drizzle underneath the light coating of snow. That was a very uneasy not so enjoyable hour. Today my warehouse was 4 hours late and I had 400 miles with 4 stops I needed to get. What should've been a 9 1/2 to 10 hour day turned into nearly 14, and more freezing drizzle. Also not enjoyable.

I'm home daily so my situation will be different. I live 45 minutes away from my terminal so roughly 1 1/2 hours every day is spent commuting in good weather. We have 3 young kids, 6 5 and 4 years old. Lately I've been trying to start my day around 3am and getting home around the time my oldest 2 get home. Eat dinner as a family maybe play a game or 2 put the kids to bed around 7 or 730 and im usually in bed by 8 or 9 waking up around 145AM. I recently changed to a 5 day work week (instead of 4) which is allowing me a little more sleep every night but it's still not as much as I should be getting. I've discussed the challenges of balancing trucking and family commitments quite a bit on here. In addition to my work schedule both of my boys are involved in cub scouts (meetings of different days of course), had been talked into coaching my 6 yr Olds flag football team. My wife's able to help with all this but she's currently attending online school so she can re enter the work force next year when our youngest starts preschool.

I started out local because I want to see my family every day. That is in no way shape or form meant to be an insult to those that spend days/weeks away from their loved ones. My father in law was a driver for 40 years. My wife was supportive of my career choice but we agreed OTR was a last resort. She grew up without dad around and wasn't going to put our kids through it. Due to Thanksgiving coming up our warehouse has been super busy. Our grocery stores are stocking up on their holiday goods. Normally i start my day around 3am. Today i clocked in at 5am and didn't hit the road til nearly 9am. By the time i got home i was able to give the kids a quick kiss goodnight. Hopefully tomorrow theyre not so far behind so i can get home earlier. Banks is another member that started local due to family reasons.

If you have more specific questions please don't hesitate to ask. Lately I haven't been posting much due to other commitments but I still read quite often.

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.

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

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Maybe I’m weird but I think I can honestly say I enjoy trucking 100% or nearly 100% of the time, but I don’t enjoy 100% of the things in or about trucking (maybe like 80-90%?) Idk, I just enjoy being in the truck and getting to drive it, always. It’s just so fun and cool to me and brings out the kid in me and I love sleeping in the truck whenever I get to do it these days. I just don’t like everything about trucking—for example, traffic, the long hours, delays, breakdowns, over-regulation, etc.

I enjoy the hell out of my current truck and job but if I could work 8-10 hours a day instead of 12-14 and make the same amount I’d probably do it forever.

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The Zen Joker 's Comment
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Thanks for the insight and pics Piano man.

Rob, you are amazing to juggle all that and stay safe driving on 4-5 hours of sleep while being so involved with the kids. You sir are the man!

I posted this question as I know if I end up needing to pursue this option late next spring, it will be a HUGE change for the family even doing regional routes and being home weekly. Worked from home the last 11 years. Besides the huge shock, I know rookie year will be brutal. I figure if I can enjoy it 60-70% of the time it will buoy me a bit while I go through boot camp in year 1 (with rookie errors PLUS the standard crappy weather, breakdowns, parking issues, getting jacked around by shippers/receivers, fighting the sleep monster, etc). I can see myself being on duty 10-12 hours a day while trying to get 450-500 miles and 5-7 hours of sleep per day as I get physically conditioned to driving 8-10 hours a day. Trying to ensure I have the right mindset. If the wife and I can't find the right local and/or remote employment it is truck driving for me and I will need to tough it out to save our homestead and our dreams. Have the work ethic, have the drive, have the positive cooperative attitude, but I'm wrestling a bit with it as I know 70% wash out. But in my case I have everything to lose if I end up washing out.

Thanks again!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hmmm. Trying to figure out the right words. Okay! Coming off home time you are assigned a good load. Lets say Atlanta to Bakersfield. Reefer load. You get loaded and head to the scale. Weights are off. Moving tandems doesnt work. Go back to shipper and get load adjusted. However your hours are up. You find a place to shut down. Irritated you go in to truck stop for a bite to eat. Get a good meal, great conversation w other drivers, get back to truck and plan your trip. You have plenty of time to get the load to its destination so you settle into the sleeper feeling satisfied. You wake up, pre-trip, get down the road. You leave before sunrise to hopefully get to shut down before all the truck stops get full. Two hours in you are cruising thru a random countryside boom! the sunrise is beautiful. Hammer down. Smiling, loving your job. Make it thru the day no problems. Rest for ten hours. Get up excited for this day. Two hours in you get a message. "We need you to repower. Meet truck blah blah at Loves in blah blah. Switch trailers. Your new load is to New Jersey right outside NYC. Oh boy you think. There goes my nice load! Irritated you grumble thru your new trip plan. Dreading New Jersey. But you push forward doing what is needed to help out your dm. You do not get disgruntled. You run the load. Get a good load from hmmm..Hershey Pa to St Louis. Hammer down. Have plenty of time but happen to hit every traffic issue possible. Irritated and stressed you push through. Its getting to you. Wtf? Just wanting an easy run. About to give up but its early morning, the sun is rising, you are coming into St. Louis BOOM the beautiful Gateway Arch is glistening in the morning dew. You smile. You cry. You realize you love your job. If you can relate to this mindset or whatever you choose to call it, you can set your " enjoyment" level damn near 100%. God Bless!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dm:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd have to say, right up there near 100 % as well.

The sunrises and sunsets. The places I go, the routes through forgotten towns of America from a time gone by, the America I grew up in. We sit up above traffic, where I get a whole view so much better.

I love the challenges, the chess game with our clocks, the logistics, solving the puzzles and finding solutions.

There are lots of annoyances, and things that could be stressful but there are systems and routines that I've carefully crafted over time to prevent those stressful situations from becoming catastrophic. I like seeing those systems work together like a well honed machine.

For me having success in this career has been a new lease on life. It brings me tremendous gratitude.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Your mindset will have a massive impact on your enjoyment of trucking.

Some people always want everything to be easy. To those types, things are either easy, or they're bad. They just want to get through the hard part and get it over with, so things can go back to being easy.

I remind these people that things can be hard and fun at the same time. Mostly, I just get blank stares. They don't get it.

One thing you'll find with that mindset is you never get anywhere in life and never have anything worth having because most of the best things in life are hard!

When I got into trucking, I was looking for adventure. I wanted to face tough challenges. I wanted to test myself. I wanted a job and a lifestyle that had meaning and purpose. You find joy in life by pursuing things that have meaning to you and doing so with intensity and purpose. When you do this, you grow as a person and your life takes on more meaning.

I enjoyed most of my time in trucking. I'd say 90% of it at least. Maybe 10% of the time I would be annoyed with the circumstances, but as time went on I learned to enjoy almost everything.

I grew so much as a person throughout my years in trucking and built up a lifetime of wisdom and memories.

If what I'm saying resonates with you, trucking might be the adventure of a lifetime for you. If you prefer easy, I don't think you'll stick around for very long. Trucking takes a high level of commitment and resilience, but the rewards are well worth it for the right type of person.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
James H.'s Comment
member avatar

I enjoy it pretty much 100% of the time. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. I'm fortunate that I'm financially secure and (mostly) retired from a more lucrative career, and at least for now I can continue to get as much consulting work as I want at about 5x the hourly rate I'll ever make as a driver. But I keep on driving just because I enjoy it, and am burned out from what I spent most of my life doing. Since I don't have or want an extravagant lifestyle and no longer need to chase every dollar, I don't.

I remind these people that things can be hard and fun at the same time. Mostly, I just get blank stares. They don't get it.

I think they almost have to be. Easy gets boring very fast.

How much fun do you think an experienced skier will have by sticking to the easiest slopes? The challenge is what makes it interesting. I don't love it when I'm sitting in a door waiting to get loaded, and I'd rather not get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it's part of the job, and developing the state of mind to handle it, as well as tactics to minimize it, is part of the puzzle that I enjoy solving.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I am really enjoying these responses. Zen Joker, you'll have a hard time finding a definitive answer to your question. Here's what I've found after running more than a million miles out here. Truckers are divided. There are truckers that love this life/job, and there are those who talk as if they despise it. The mystery to me is why the haters stay on board. Do they just enjoy having something to complain about? I can never figure it out. If I don't like something I'll find something else to do.

I don't think you'll find any truckers who will give you a 30% or even a 50% response. Did you notice the things Davy mentioned? He enjoys the challenges. He appreciates the fact that trucking allows him to be his own advocate and problem solver. It's always been a mystery to me when I see the internet wannabe truckers complain about being "micromanaged." The only reason a trucker will ever be micromanaged is because he refuses to make good and practical decisions on his own.

Nobody ever tells me how to do my job. I run an efficient operation without needing any help. My support team knows that and respects it. I seldom talk with anybody about my job. I get dispatched and I take care of things. Almost all my communications are electronic. I've said for years that trucking is the closest thing you'll ever find to self employment without the financial risks. It's a very independent job that requires a person that can problem solve and be quick about it.

If you like overcoming challenges and taking charge, you'll enjoy this career 100%. Of course there are frustrations involved. What worthwhile venture does not have It's issues? Trucking is an incredibly enjoyable lifestyle, but it requires incredibly motivated individuals to make it worthwhile.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

80% if I am training. I learned yesterday I can no longer do team training or team at all because I have no patience for someone else's lack of urgency. This is an industry based on urgency.

When I am solo, I enjoy it probably 98% of the time. Walking through a foot of snow in 60mph winds in WY just to go take a shower or eat isn't fun. Fighting with a trailer door or tandems isn't fun in a hurricane or severe storm.

Being in town and doing CDL Instruction I enjoy it 100% with great students and 80% with bad ones. But I am home everyday and don't have to have them on the truck. If I had a bad student on the truck OTR I would probably stop training.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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