What Did You Do Before Becoming A Truck Driver?

Topic 7924 | Page 28

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Victor C. II's Comment
member avatar

Root you are a absolute blessing and encouragment, I started with Swift on the 2nd of April and I am loving the scenes and although I have family back home that I love dearly and still want to be a part of I know I need to make a living. I have worked at 4 farms, one of which I vunteered because it was my Aunt Kellies, and at a dead end job at a dealership. Then I got turned around and have been fulfilling my dream since I was 10 as a truck driver.

Again thank you Root!

Victor.

whosfate's Comment
member avatar

Old thread, but it seems to keep going...and going

I delivered newspapers with my dad in elementary school and then on my own in middle school and part of high school. During high school I attended Votech half of the day for auto mechanics and worked at a local garage in the evenings. Decided auto mechanics wasn't right for me (I was very good at it, but it didn't seem to pay much) and worked at a local roofing company. This was a low paying, dead end job, so I thought I would go to culinary school to become a chef as I had enjoyed cooking. Lasted a week there and returned to roofing for a short while.

Afterwards, a friend of mine told me that the company he worked for needed someone to help out. It was a local contractor that was in the telecommunications construction field. I worked there for about a year and half and really enjoyed the work and the travel. This was in 2000/2001 when the DOTCOM bust was happening and work slowed down a lot. I was 21 and thought about driving truck for a living and was in contact with Schneider, but there were some things that didn't work out. I continued building cell tower sites for the next few years and met my wife during a long period of no work in the industry; I was a pizza delivery guy at the time when I met her. I went back to building cell tower sites when work picked back up for a little while, but decided at 22 that I had met my future wife and I wanted to come off the road and settle down and start a family.

I then took a local position at a small, niche engineering firm as a Mechanical Engineering Technician. The pay wasn't much, but the work was steady, I was home every night, had good benefits, and was learning a ton. After 2 years, the main guy that was working there left for another company and at 26 or 27 years old, I ran the entire day to day operations of the company as a design engineer/project manager. I was the only that worked for the company the last 3 years that I was there. I learned a lot and felt it was time to move on to greener pastures.

I then went to work at another local company where I was a Field Engineer for 6 years. We deployed CAD/AVL systems for public transit agencies nationwide (looks something similar to the Qualcomm systems you use in trucks, but a lot more functions). Anyway, I was in charge of managing the field installations, managing subcontracts/subcontractors, and mechanical and cabling design. I also mentored junior staff members. This was a good paying job with excellent benefits (I had 27 days of paid time off per year with 401K/ESOP), but I really wanted to get into project management and was a burned out on what i was doing. So I left that company for a project manager position with a manufacturing company that rebuilt train wheel sets and gear boxes. I wasn't a good fit there culturally, so they found reason to terminate me and I am actually glad to be out of there. That was in December of 2016.

Since then, I have been on unemployment and have submitted about 100 resumes and have received a total of 2 interviews. During this time, I have looked heavily into starting a new career as a truck driver and have talked it over with my wife and children. I am now 36 years old and currently set to go to TMC for orientation in May.

TT has been a huge resource for me in deciding on this career path and has dispelled so many untruths that I came across when I first started researching trucking. Interested to see what the good Lord has for me down the road as I start this new chapter.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

ChefsJK's Comment
member avatar

I was a Chef or at least working in kitchens for 20 years, i worked a lot of hours in a hot hot little box most of the time, i just got burnt out with it and didnt enjoy it anymore. No life pretty much, always working weekends, holidays and days where everyone else is off, so i figured id make a change, travel, have ac at the turn of the dial and have a much better view. Plus im supposed to be getting 2 weeks out, 2 days home with my schedule, and they would prefer me to take the weekends off since there is less freight to run those days. I said done deal, lol

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I worked a lot of jobs before finally getting my CDL and a job I actually enjoy!

Concrete laborer, pipeline construction, security guard at an American Eagle DC in which I handled inbound/outbound trucks after hours, unloader at a Walmart DC, salesman/ service advisor at a Ford dealership, tree trimmer, two "driving" jobs where there was more manual labor involved than driving, basically a bunch of jobs that just weren't right for me even though I was good at them. I also spent the better part of the last decade booking and promoting shows for death metal bands as a hobby. I loved doing that for the most part but it diverted my time and energy from more important things in my life.

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.
ChosenOne's Comment
member avatar

I have done a lot in the past. I worked as a Shell Station pumping gas, servicing, tires, driving a tow truck, etc. I have not seen a real service station in years, now the attendant sits behind a counter for the most part. I remember when they put in the self serve island.

Next I enlisted in the Air Force, maintained nuclear weapons, looking back at it, they must have had some real trust, sending a couple of 19 year olds out to target, and work on them.

From there I went into law enforcement, in 1998 was involved in a traffic accident, took 2 1/2 hours for them to get me pried out of the car, I still remember hearing them talking when they first arrived, they said I was most likely dead, and to start notifications, they had the Chaplain at the house, just waiting for confirmation, but eventually they were able to get to me, see I was still alive, and get me out. My wife and kids were taken to a trauma center 53 miles away, in patrol cars, lights and sirens. She said after they arrived, I was still not there, then they heard the helicopter and saw me being unloaded. I was medically retired 2 years later. They said I should not be chasing 15 years old over fences anymore. I had punctured both lungs, broken more than a few bones, bruised things I didn't know you could bruise, but thankfully my back and neck were saved from any cracking or fractures. I was in the hospital for 2 months, then rehab, and finally home. I remember the accident like it was yesterday, hope to never repeat that again, probably won't turn out so well next time.

My next great adventure was IT. I started out at desktops, went to servers, networking, databases, architecture, then management for a Fortune 50 company. I oversaw multi-million dollar sales and implementations, I never thought making so much money was even possible, then last year came the layoffs, and my number was picked. Having no degree in this day and age really diminishes your ability to even apply, let alone get an interview for an IT job. After months of applying, the unemployment ran out, and we are living on our savings and medical retirement, thankfully we saved a few dollars for a rainy day. Then came the big question, what to do for my next great adventure.

Not finding a position due to the lack of a degree, the State advised me strongly I needed to apply at my local JTCC. I applied, took tests, and asked me what I wanted to do. I could not see myself in an office, or the same office day after day, I have traveled the last few years weeks at a time. I remember spending summers with my grandfather, and sometimes uncles traveling with them when they were OTR. I remember how much I enjoyed it, so I asked about it. Now I am in school with a WIOA Grant. Next will be, what company, then more training, then if all goes well a truck.

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.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I was discharged from the USCG on less than honorable terms, got burned by the system really. I Worked as a Travel Agent, making vacation sales. There was no Up in the industry, & the man who I worked for was a Snakeoil Salesman... try to sell you on a Bill of Goods that you know Down in your gut is flawed. I was burned out on working for People. Getting used to either get someone promoted or get someone else rich while I struggled & just worked hard cause I know nothing else. I was in a Spot, my father had asked me to leave his house by the end of March... I made some calls, marketed myself... with a record, everyone was under the thinking that I was done, pigeon holed to work for Peanuts for the rest of my life. By the end of the third week in the Month, I had 2 hard Job offers, & also only needed to show up on the following Monday for CDL Class if I wanted to Truck. I made my choice, based on what I felt God had spoken into my heart. A lifestyle I am already accustomed to due to 9 years in the Service... & a hunger to Work with no Glass Ceiling to where I can truly develops & grow into the industry based on my own desire to work hard & excel. I will hopefully own my own company in a couple years, a few trucks & some trailers. I can work for it.

Add to that, I'm a dog guy. For YEARS I have seen the holy Grail of a Job being something that I can get paid & have a Dog 🐶... well, I have the Phoenix Bassett Hound Rescue on my Phone, & once I get my own independent Truck, I am getting a Furry "Co-Driver". That was really the Deal Maker... you put a Dog in my Future & I am ALL ABOUT DAT! Don't tell anyone... last thing I need is some woman knowing the way to my heart is Through my Dog!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Lynn H.'s Comment
member avatar

Fast food worker, cashier, hotel shoeshine girl, coffee shop waitress, multiple customer service phones jobs\blackjack dealer, preschool teacher, elementary school teacher, special education life skills teacher, tow truck dispatcher. Plus, I'm marketing a horror novel and some short stories. I wanted to drive a truck since my early twenties, but my ex mother-in-law said I was "too smart" to be a trucker (she always cared too much about what people think is my guess), and then I had a kid and didn't want to leave him. But he's all grown up, and it's almost time. Woohoo!

Dispatcher:

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.
Nika's Comment
member avatar

I worked at a casino for 8 yrs, attended college, started in healthcare in 2003 until 2017 in Admitting, medical insurance, medical billing, medical collections and medical coding. Have two sons both have graduated. Dealing with medical insurance and medical insurance companies is alot of red tape. It's much more stressful than when I began in this field and I'm tired of it. My sons are adults, I do not have grandchildren as of yet. I have lived my life for everyone else, I want to try something new and travel. I'm excited to say I begin trucking school this month. I know it will not be peaches and cream all the time, I'm use to hard work and it is my time now.

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.
Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

I went to school and graduated with a degree in radiologic technology (x-ray) but couldn't get a job as a white male with no experience in a heavy dominated female field, so I swallowed my pride and got my old fast food job back. Worked there for a year before I got a job with Professional Transportation Inc. (PTI) through a friend's recommendation being an OTR cab driver for railroad workers (this is where I discovered my love for driving). We had to follow DOT clocks so I got used to keeping track of my 70. The farthest we would have to drive was to KC and back. After a contract dispute with Canadian Pacific (one of the 3 railroads we were contracted with (also contracted to BNSF and NS)), PTI lost their contract, and Renzenberger took over the duties with CP. They offered the PTI drivers first dibs at local yard driver positions which were a steady 40h/wk. I jumped ship and became a yard driver for Renzenberger. After a solid year, CP ended the contract with Renzenberger and, with the help of a coworker and good friend, I decided to go back to school to get my CDL. After 6 weeks, I opened up a new chapter in my life which is still being written 8mo later.

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.

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.

Lance B.'s Comment
member avatar

My first job was scrubbing pots in an old kitchen at the Jersey Shore when I was 14. I hung around alot of gas stations growing up, so the older mechanics taught me the trade. Started as a lube/tire man at 16. Delivered pizzas part time at night. At 18 I started my internal tour of NJ let's just say. I worked in the state use wood shop in Rahway State Pen. Came home at 30. Was driving a box truck for an auto salvage yand and delivering pizza at night part time. Also drove for a car/limo service all through NYC for about 2 years. That was fun. Was an Uber driver for over 2 years as well. Then I decided to play to my strengths and start researching truck driving as a career about 1 year ago. And now I'm off to CFI in Joplin, MO on June 27.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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