Wondering If I've Made A Mistake...

Topic 3986 | Page 1

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Dustin C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone. Just looking for some advice.

I just turned 28 yesterday while out on the road with my OTR trainer. I'm in my second week of it after fighting my way through trucking school and my company's orientation. Before all that I worked mostly retail jobs, but I got sick of retail and decided to try something new. I'm not well travelled, and it's completely different than anything I've ever done, so I thought why not get my CDL and try truck driving?

But out here on the road I find that I'm anxious about everything more often than not. I'm trying to take in everything my trainer says and learn so much in a short time, and I feel stressed because of it. I'm constantly nervous, tired, trying to remember what to do in every situation. My trainer tells me I'm doing well and that I'll be fine, but I'm just in a constant state of worry out here. I feel like I'm adrift in unfamiliar territory and it's very scary for me. FYI, I have had anxiety issues in the past, and my friends and family all tell me I worry too much.

The worst part, though, is how much I miss my wife and being home with her every night. Every day it makes me a little depressed. I miss her so much and I'm wondering if that feeling ever becomes more manageable.

My question ultimately is: am I cut out for this? Did I make a mistake? I know it's good to try new things and sometimes they don't work out, but if I quit then I owe the company that paid for my training the tuition they spotted me for this and I have to find another job. And I went through a lot to get this CDL. Does it sound like I'm reacting normally to everything or does it sound like this road just isn't for me? I'm so conflicted. I don't want to feel like a failure and an idiot, but I can't lie. I miss my wife dearly and miss coming home every day. Does one adjust to this on the road? Do I need to stick it out, or get out because I'm just a scared weakling?

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. My apologies for such a long post. Thanks for reading.

- D

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Is is a huge lifestyle change - it's tough on relationships and not for everyone.

But - that being said - hang in there and honor your commitment. It's quite normal to have fears and misgivings as part of the "human condition".

Similar fears have kept me from "taking the leap" into trucking myself - and I went through a County Vo-Tech (self-pay) and have held a Class A CDL for 5 years now (and still haven't used it). And mine are more along the lines of having to dump all my possessions (downsize to next to nothing) and not maintain a homestead - since I am single and my kids are all grown.

So suck it up - you're not a "scared weakling" - you're a HUMAN BEING. The sooner you start looking at positive things, instead of cutting yourself down all the time - the sooner you can take an honest look at whether or not this career is for you. And if being home every night is a requirement for you - than OTR driving is probably not going to work in the LONG TERM. OTOH - if you stick it out for a year, the odds of you finding a trucking job that does get you home more often (as in local or regional) increase exponentially. But you will have to get your "initial experience" under your belt first.

Since you're trainer and FM feel that you're coming along just fine, then you probably are.

Set a "short term goal" for yourself - get out of training phase and into solo - then reevaluate how you REALLY FEEL at that point.

Rick

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.

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.

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.
Dustin C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the encouragement. This is so new to me, and I've always been prone to worrying. The uncertainty is just driving me insane and it is indeed a rough transition. I do want to provide a better life for myself and my wife, which is another reason I thought I'd try this. Retail pays almost nothing and just wasn't satisfying. I just hope I have the fortitude to stick this out. Everything is so intimidating.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Dustin, pretty much every driver feels the exact same things you're feeling now. We always tell people that you're going to want to quit trucking numerous times before that first few months is up. Everyone wonders if they've gotten in over their heads. Everyone wonders if they'll ever learn enough to feel like they know what they're doing. And of course everyone misses their home, family, and friends from time to time - some more than others.

Trucking requires us all to make huge changes in our lives, our outlook on things, and our personality traits. Those of us with short tempers have to learn patience. Those of us who shy away from making decisions have to learn to be in command. And those who tend to lean on others have to learn to become fiercely independent.

So I don't care who you are or what you've done in your life - getting your truck driving career off to a great start is extremely challenging for everyone in a multitude of ways. And if learning to drive an 80,000 pound building on wheels doesn't make you nervous then there's something wrong with you - seriously.

I say stick it out for a while and above all else make sure you and your wife communicate well. As hard as life is on the road, make sure you understand how hard this is on her too. We all get caught up in our own lives a little too much sometimes and it's easy to forget we're not the only ones facing difficult circumstances. Work together, support each other, and formulate plans together.

It won't be long before you'll qualify for work that gets you home more often. In fact, just a few months of OTR might land you a local job somewhere if you dig hard enough. Remember, you can always walk away at anytime. But you don't want to walk away before you've really given it a chance. Maybe you'll never want to run OTR and you'll prefer something local or regional so you can be home more often. No problem! You'll get there soon enough. Then you'll have a job that gets you home every night which will greatly reduce the stress on everyone and allow you to consider either continuing with this career or using it as a stepping stone to something better.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ray F. (aka. Mongo)'s Comment
member avatar

It is a life style change for you and your wife. Try to focus on what your trainer says. This job is taxing on your entire life. Just manage what you can for the day. Everything else will work itself out or fall by the wayside. Best of luck to you.

Dustin C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you guys so much. It's reassuring to hear that I'm not crazy or that I'm not a complete wuss. My wife has also been incredibly supportive through this and we try to speak on the phone at least once a day. I'm lucky to have her and I don't want to let us down. I want to do better for us, and I want to be a safe driver, worthy of the title Professional. I've never taken a risk on myself like this before. Right now I feel like I'm awful at it, but maybe I am being too hard on me. I appreciate the support everyone. Thank you.

Rico's Comment
member avatar

Rome wasn't built in a day. Just take it one day at a time. Right now you are being bombarded with a ton of new information. No one expects you to remember it all after just a few weeks.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

So I don't care who you are or what you've done in your life - getting your truck driving career off to a great start is extremely challenging for everyone in a multitude of ways. And if learning to drive an 80,000 pound building on wheels doesn't make you nervous then there's something wrong with you - seriously.

Can Brett get an Amen! Stick it out Dustin.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Dustin, you mentioned that you just turned twenty eight, Happy Birthday! That's a day that you always enjoy being with your family, and I've a feeling that it just made your already apprehensive feelings more acute. Getting your new career off to a start is a tough job, we've all done it and have all shared your concerns and experienced your emotions. I'm a flat-bedder - you know the kind of truck driver that's supposed to be tough guy, well I'm gonna tell you a secret: if you had been driving on the road beside my truck on the right days you would have seen big old tears rolling down my face because I was missing my wife and family so bad that I couldn't hold them back.

Training is an especially emotionally draining time because it's all new, it can be very stressful, and your running on a lot of adrenaline. Your having to live in close quarters with a total stranger and there is absolutely no privacy - none! I had a crazy nut for a trainer which added to the already stressful situation, and I can tell you that I almost walked away not once, but twice. I am so glad now that I didn't make that mistake. I love what I'm doing now. It makes all the difference in the world once you get past that initial phase and get in your own truck and start making your own decisions and choices about how you are going to manage your job.

You will be so proud of yourself once you start getting the hang of this, and start earning some really good paychecks. Your wife will be very proud of you also, and glad to be supporting you in your new endeavor. This is a major adjustment for both of you, and you've got to be strong to help her make the adjustments she will need to make also.

My vote is to hang in there, we all know it's tough, but you will be glad you stuck it out in the end.

You can do this, and you are going to be making way more money than you ever could in retail. Hang tough, You've got this!

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.

David's Comment
member avatar

Dustin, Everyone here has pretty much said the same thing, stick it out mate.. I was 22 when I started with a wife and 3 kids, I successfully completed 9-10 months of OTR before finding a local position.. It was tough for my wife and kids and my self to get through the road blocks, but remember to keep the line of communication open with your spouse. Nothing will ruin a marriage more than lack of communication. Tell your family you love them every day, it helps. Send a text in the morning and at night, with just a simple "love you", or "thinking about you". We all have been there, its not easy. You can do this, keep your head up, get done with the training, and get into your solo status. One other thing that helped me, I took a week off after training to get some family time with my wife and kids. I'd talk with your company DM and see if thats possible when your released solo.

Take pictures of everywhere you go and do a slide show when you get home with the fam. show them what you see, it does make the transition easier.. After awhile it does get easier. Just takes time and work...

One other thing, DON"T leave home after an argument. Its just bad joo joo. Thats the 2nd worst thing in my book to do while at home. I've done it a few times, and it creates tension on both sides.

Hope this helps ya sir.

David

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.

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.
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