Should I Or Shouldn't I Become A Truck Driver

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GREG D.'s Comment
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OK, I'm about to be 37 years old. My youngest child is 13. Ive been in a number of different positions from car sales to the desk jockey job I have now. Nothing seems to be paying the bills and I'm so tired of stressing over the bills. I have a few family members that drive and I can't get a straight opinion out of any of them. They have either been driving to long and are sick of it, just ok with it, or have little experience and love it. I've been married now for 5 years and while I don't want to spend tons of time away from my wife or miss my only son's graduation next year I'm tired of not being able to provide for my family the things they deserve. I'm a very short guy (5'2") and i worry that it could affect my ability to operate a big rig. But i've dealt with these obstacles all my life and have yet to find something i can't succeed at. So anyone like to share any advice? should I just quit worrying and go for it or should I just be satisfied with getting by?

MRC's Comment
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Just a thought, Why don't you take a ride along with one of your family members and see how just observing the job, the duties etc. would effect you?confused.gif

MRC's Comment
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By the way, there are others on here that are vertically challenged and they are driving!

ButtonUp's Comment
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I had just turned 40 when I learned the job I had worked so hard at to finally make decent money was cutting my pay. I left for trucking school a couple weeks after my son's 13th birthday. After spending a few months in school and out on the road training, I found something that worked for me. It is possible. The biggest bit of advice I could give you would be to prepare for the period of training in which you will receive little or no income. I was lucky to have some money saved, and I went through it all feeding myself and paying bills while I was waiting to get an income. But, for me, it was totally worth it!

As for your height, I know that there's a lot of "shorter" drivers out there... just ask Red Gator! The only truck I've had a problem in so far is my current truck, I have the seat all the way forward, and I still have to stretch my leg all the way out to get the clutch brake to engage. A lot of it has to do with the way the seats are installed, trucks have different seats, even a same model truck with same type of seat can be different in if it can be positioned "just right" or not.

I would also recommend that your wife is 100% on board with your decision. You're in it together. Leaving my son for the summer was hard, but it worked out in the end.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

OK, I'm about to be 37 years old. My youngest child is 13. Ive been in a number of different positions from car sales to the desk jockey job I have now. Nothing seems to be paying the bills and I'm so tired of stressing over the bills. I have a few family members that drive and I can't get a straight opinion out of any of them. They have either been driving to long and are sick of it, just ok with it, or have little experience and love it. I've been married now for 5 years and while I don't want to spend tons of time away from my wife or miss my only son's graduation next year I'm tired of not being able to provide for my family the things they deserve. I'm a very short guy (5'2") and i worry that it could affect my ability to operate a big rig. But i've dealt with these obstacles all my life and have yet to find something i can't succeed at. So anyone like to share any advice? should I just quit worrying and go for it or should I just be satisfied with getting by?

Graduating school is a major point in life. While that is an important time cause your a parent its not the end of the world. Giving what I know from kids growing up and the age of your marriage as much as I really hate to say it I would talk you out of trucking. At least at this point. He is starting into a point in life that mom can not help as much as you can. While there is not much of a guarantee in trucking I will promise you that you will miss a few major events in his life.

If you can hold off until he graduates and out on his own then you and he will be much happier and more well adjusted. And then there is mom to thin k about. Just think of all the stuff you do right now at home.....well all that would be moved to your wife's shoulders. Just my opinion but I see it as a bad point in time for you to make a decision that will have you gone so much.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

GREG D.'s Comment
member avatar

I had just turned 40 when I learned the job I had worked so hard at to finally make decent money was cutting my pay. I left for trucking school a couple weeks after my son's 13th birthday. After spending a few months in school and out on the road training, I found something that worked for me. It is possible. The biggest bit of advice I could give you would be to prepare for the period of training in which you will receive little or no income. I was lucky to have some money saved, and I went through it all feeding myself and paying bills while I was waiting to get an income. But, for me, it was totally worth it!

As for your height, I know that there's a lot of "shorter" drivers out there... just ask Red Gator! The only truck I've had a problem in so far is my current truck, I have the seat all the way forward, and I still have to stretch my leg all the way out to get the clutch brake to engage. A lot of it has to do with the way the seats are installed, trucks have different seats, even a same model truck with same type of seat can be different in if it can be positioned "just right" or not.

I would also recommend that your wife is 100% on board with your decision. You're in it together. Leaving my son for the summer was hard, but it worked out in the end.

Thanks for your input. More about me. Just over 2 years ago i was laid off from a vending machine company so I decided to go back to school and earned a degree in Architectural drafting. I been working in that race now since graduation yet i'm just so bored with it. While my wife isn't in love with the idea of me being OTR for the next year or so she supports me in any decision I make to help our family. I actually had the conversation with her last evening and told her that if there was any chance that it could ruin our GREAT relationship that i would just find a second job and stay home. We both agreed that we could handle the separation and being that once the initial OTR requirements are through I could look for something close to home. The benefit I think I have is that there is a school within 20 minutes of my home and they offer evening classes so I may be able to keep my day job while in school. My main concern is really whether I should wait till after winter to do the training as i live in PA and not so sure that learning to drive a Big Rig in the winter is the way to go. I mean I been driving in it all my life and am not afraid of it and honestly I love driving in may car on winter roads but I know that the trucking is most likely another monster all together.

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.

GREG D.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

OK, I'm about to be 37 years old. My youngest child is 13. Ive been in a number of different positions from car sales to the desk jockey job I have now. Nothing seems to be paying the bills and I'm so tired of stressing over the bills. I have a few family members that drive and I can't get a straight opinion out of any of them. They have either been driving to long and are sick of it, just ok with it, or have little experience and love it. I've been married now for 5 years and while I don't want to spend tons of time away from my wife or miss my only son's graduation next year I'm tired of not being able to provide for my family the things they deserve. I'm a very short guy (5'2") and i worry that it could affect my ability to operate a big rig. But i've dealt with these obstacles all my life and have yet to find something i can't succeed at. So anyone like to share any advice? should I just quit worrying and go for it or should I just be satisfied with getting by?

double-quotes-end.png

Graduating school is a major point in life. While that is an important time cause your a parent its not the end of the world. Giving what I know from kids growing up and the age of your marriage as much as I really hate to say it I would talk you out of trucking. At least at this point. He is starting into a point in life that mom can not help as much as you can. While there is not much of a guarantee in trucking I will promise you that you will miss a few major events in his life.

If you can hold off until he graduates and out on his own then you and he will be much happier and more well adjusted. And then there is mom to thin k about. Just think of all the stuff you do right now at home.....well all that would be moved to your wife's shoulders. Just my opinion but I see it as a bad point in time for you to make a decision that will have you gone so much.

Man, I really appreciate your honesty. I think Maybe I should tell you more though about my son. Currently He is a 17 year old junior. Next school year will be his senior year and I thought maybe this was the right time as I am hoping to find a local job by the time he graduates and also I thought maybe over the summer I could get him to ride along with me on a couple trips and maybe get some quality time. I know he plans to join the military after graduation and I am very proud of him for that. My wife and I have been friends since middle school and while we've only been married 5 years we have been together for 10 and dated briefly in high school. our paths went in different directions after high school as i went off to the army and she married and had children. It was something of a miracle when we found each other again after each of us had failed marriages and have been to gather since. So maybe that will help. Thought?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

GREG D.'s Comment
member avatar

Just a thought, Why don't you take a ride along with one of your family members and see how just observing the job, the duties etc. would effect you?confused.gif

Actually that is something I am working on... My wife's Uncle drives a Maggot wagon from NYC to NJ and has offered for me to ride along with him and has also offered to try and hook me up with his company after I get the required experience... I know for certain that what he brings home in a week is double what i bring home every 2 this is why I think i need to find other work. I'm so tired of being broke on payday and trying to figure out how i'm getting back and forth to work for the next 2 weeks.

Brian W.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I take it your son will be graduating sometime in May; that is roughly 7 months away. Lots of LTL and dedicated runs are in the NE, so I am not seeing where you will be OTR for a year unless that is what you want to do. With school and training, I see at most 4 months tops before you are on your own. Also, if you are doing anything other than OTR, I do not see where it will be a problem to attend your son's graduation, because you are home every weekend or every other weekend. Just make it known to your FM that you need to be home the day before graduation, just to be on the safe side. Good luck.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.
GREG D.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I take it your son will be graduating sometime in May; that is roughly 7 months away. Lots of LTL and dedicated runs are in the NE, so I am not seeing where you will be OTR for a year unless that is what you want to do. With school and training, I see at most 4 months tops before you are on your own. Also, if you are doing anything other than OTR, I do not see where it will be a problem to attend your son's graduation, because you are home every weekend or every other weekend. Just make it known to your FM that you need to be home the day before graduation, just to be on the safe side. Good luck.

That was very insightful, I was under the impression that I needed 1yr+ OTR experience. I think though if i want help paying off my tuition that i need to sign for a 1 yr OTR with one of the companies. Is this not true?

But my son won't be graduating for about a year and 7 months and my wife's one stipulation is that I be there for him when he walks across that stage. and also be there to see him graduate his basic training.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.
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