Making A Good Choice?

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Zachary S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello there,

I am writing to see if professional drivers in this forum will agree that I am making the right choice in deciding to go into trucking. I am a college graduate that has been out for seven years now and has made absolutely no progress into my career field. Its very frustrating to me and is beginning to take a toll on me personally. I take all my jobs very seriously but its becoming increasingly hard to keep working jobs where I am barely making a living wage, living pay check to pay check. I know that this is the norm for the country during this recession but I am tired of sitting idly waiting for the chance to jump into my career field when I can't even get a lousy interview!

So I have been reading through the site and have decided that I would really like to take trucking as a profession. I am already a driver, class B in ct, but have always wanted to get into class A. Not only for the adventure and sight seeing but also for the challenge and the accomplishment of calling myself a class A truck driver. Has such an awesome tone to it! I love driving and have always been a good driver. If there was a long trip with friends and family, I was the one driving.

I guess I just need to hear some input from other drivers on whether or not its a good move? In my mind and in my heart I know I will love it. I'm a sucker for adventure and random trips to nowhere. But with my past accomplishments I want to make sure that its a good move. Right now my family isn't going to support this type of move, which is very hard on me. But I believe that its because of a misconception that trucking is a lower class job for someone like myself. In the end I know that the final decision is mine.

I hope no one views this letter as a cry for help or pity, but a shot in the dark for a helping kick in the butt to what I think will be a good career. Besides, who wouldn't want to make money traveling this country, seeing new stuff everyday, challenging yourself, and shifting gears?

-Zach-

Tazzy's Comment
member avatar

Hi Zachary

Your right, the choice is yours when it's all said and done.

Like you, I'm a college grad as well and I am positive there are more on this site who are Professional Truck Drivers. Some thirty plus years ago, but a college grad. I just recently got my CDL A, 8/7/2015 and start orientation with my company tomorrow, a new chapter in life and I am as excited about it as I have ever been about starting any job.

There's money to be made in trucking, but from what I understand it's not an easy life and it's not for everyone. Take your time with your decision, talk to your loved ones that this will effect most, as your life is going to change. It's easy to say have your finances in order as the first few months you may not be making the money as you would in 6 months. Having your finances in order may not always be possible and having lived paycheck to paycheck you already understand what it takes to live and be broke. But don't fool yourself thinking you are going to become rich (although I am sure there are many who have become rich, probably not by driving but by owning and owning more than 1 truck).

Once you made your decision and you want to join the industry, do your research!!!! There are thousands of trucking company's, find the ones that you think fits your needs and wants. Talk to them and see what they are all about, but remember you will be talking to a recruiter and not every recruiter is a snake in the grass, but there are a few who will promise you things that just aren't true.

This site has many members and some are true professional drivers who have been driving for a long time who are more than happy to give you advice. Ask questions, search your question (it's probably already been asked), find a driver on here who drives for the company you may be interested in and pick their minds.

You have already made a great choice by joining this forum looking for answers. If you decide to join the trucking profession, this forum also offers all the training documents you will need to study in order to get your CDL.

But most importantly do your homework, talk with your loved ones!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish you the best of luck with whatever decision you make, keep us posted.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Zach, if you want to believe truck driver job ads, take those grains of salt! Don't miss the "to 10%" part of the line that says "The top 10% of our drivers make $67,000/year!" means the other 90% make less. Decent starting pay will be around $40k if you drive your a$$ off.

Have you read Brett's Book, or checked out the Truck Driver's Career Guide?

If you're going to take the plunge, start right away on the High Road Training Program to save the CDL tests.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Trucking made my family really really comfy when I was growing up. My stepfather owned 15 trucks and sold out the limestone quarry he and his brother owned to Columbia Stone Company. So yeah, the big money.. and the big risk is in ownership. Own 1 truck.. it will be your home, your vacation villa.. your entire life. If it's not moving, you are losing money. Own multiple trucks.. more risk but more potential to do better, IF you can find good drivers and keep your maintenance, fuel, and insurance costs in line.

However, there is this sweet little thing called being a company driver. Take my dad for example. He retired from Exxon, sold his stock, bought a truck, this was in 1979. Well with the deregulation in 1980 and some mechanical problems.. he lost his ass. So, he went back to being a company driver. He worked for CP America which was later bought by Proline in Nashville. My dad LOVED being on the road. He ditched the home and stayed out for months at a time.. to the point Proline demanded he take time off lol. His hometime was spent visiting me and his grandbabies along with a few scattered lady friends stashed all over the east coast. God help him he loved driving in the Northeast and Canada. They took the risk and paid the bills, and he did what he loved best. Depending on the type of company you drive for, you'll make a solid living and either be home daily, weekly or somewhere beyond that.. Rich? No. But enough to stop the paycheck to paycheck grind if you're not extravagant.

I too have not 1 but 2 college degrees. I've done my sentence and committed no crime and these days I would rather flip burgers than work in my chosen healthcare profession. After 20 years in healthcare, I'm sick of sick people and if I had to look at another trach tube or ventilator, I'd scream. That being said, I walked away. I tried my own business. Then I ultimately took a job with a major online retailer, til I figured out what's next. My youngest kids are almost grown. 2 teens at home but one is moving out in October and the other is never home. I spent alot of time in a truck OTR with my ex years ago. I still miss it (not him, but being on the truck in general) so, yeah I'm starting a 10 week class soon and I plan on company driving til I retire.

On the road, you'll find lot's of folks with degrees. Healthcare, Engineering, CPAs, Teachers, etc. and plenty of fine folks who never did college. Everyone has their own personal reasons for driving a truck. It's an honest living but not everyone can do it. You either love it or you don't. It is stressful and challenging at times. Hopefully your family will get over it if this is what you choose to do. I'm lucky in that my teens are extremely supportive of my new endeavor, and they are the only ones who matter for me.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Frito's Comment
member avatar

Dr. Aquila... Paging Dr. Aquila...... You are needed stat in the truckers forum, general discussions category......Dr. Aquila with your years of insight, ability to read between the lines and with your finger keenly on the pulse of the human condition...stat to the forum.... Dr. Aquila please!

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Hey Zachary, it kind of sounds like you've already made up your mind :)

Just curious, what was your degree/career field?

DaveDiesel's Comment
member avatar

Zackery,

As you continue to read all the resources on this website, you'll find a very broad range of people that enter this career field. People from all walks of life. I think the diversity of the community is really great. Go the the search box and type in "What I did before this" I think you will find the thread interesting. Hope this helps.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Zachary, Welcome to the forum!

I am writing to see if professional drivers in this forum will agree that I am making the right choice in deciding to go into trucking.

I can't really tell you if you are making the right choice or not, but I can tell you that if it is what you want to pursue then go for it full speed ahead. Be prepared for your friends and family to **** their heads and look at you like you've gone nuts though! The trucking career is such a mixed bag of folks, and you are going to find that there are quite a few malcontent slobs that have left an indelible finger print on our industry. Unfortunately they are the ones that most people get their stereotypical ideas about what truck drivers are like, so don't be startled by some of the responses you will get when people hear what it is that you are going to do.

I am a well educated, and well read person who managed my own business for thirty years before I decided to go into truck driving. Some of the people who I used to conduct business with think I've gone nuts - I just ignore their ignorance and keep on enjoying myself out here. I have met all kinds of people out here - former professionals, even a retired lawyer who always wanted to drive a truck! I have a friend who was a former Anesthetist who is driving truck. There is no limit to the different types of individuals who are out here on the road.

It is a great career with many rewards. Foremost it is a lifestyle, and if the lifestyle appeals to you then you can do really well at this. It sounds like you have already established the fact that you enjoy the travelling lifestyle, so you are one step ahead of most folks just getting started in this.

I think I noticed in your post that you are in Connecticut. I'm in Bristol tonight - I come to Connecticut almost every week. I deliver one of several truck loads of aluminum extrusions from Delhi, Louisiana to the Stanley manufacturing facility in Farmington every week.

Here's the thing about choosing this career - you can't pay attention to what your friends and family think of your decision - everyone of us professional drivers have had some well meaning family member try to talk us out of this. People just do not understand our career, and it is our fault because we have allowed the malcontents in the industry to define us.

Best of luck to ya Zachary - keep your nose in these forums and you can learn a great deal about this lifestyle. I have chronicled several different trips I have made with my daughters over the years, here's a link to the last one, called Ride Along with Old School. If you'll read that thing it will give you an idea of just how enjoyable it can be out here on the road.

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.

Zachary S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Zachary, it kind of sounds like you've already made up your mind :)

Just curious, what was your degree/career field?

I actually have two degrees, an Associates in Criminal Justice and a Bachelors in Criminal Investigation. With this type of education I always get, so you want to become a cop? In my head I always scream a resounding NO! I know the cop lifestyle and career field quite well and its just not for me, on many levels. On top of that I also did extremely well in college, top A's, so it makes it more frustrating.

However, the more I have read through this site, the forum, the articles, and just reading the article "Why I'm Finally Becoming A Truck Driver" by TruckerMike I realize this is the life, not job, for me. Would I like to get into my career field I went to college for someday? Absolutely! Am I willing to wait for it? Not any more! After reading TruckerMikes' article and reading the responses I have received on here I know this is the life for me. The article described how I fell about driving and life in general to a tee.

I am determined to get myself out of this self imposed rut due to my career choice and financial situation once and for all. I know I wont make it rich in trucking but that's not what I want. I have always said to myself that I am not going to be like my parents and family and settle on doing something to just make ends meat. I am going to do something that I love, something that gives me an energy rush, goosebumps every time I set myself to it and trucking definitely does that for me.

I thank everyone on here for your help. I got what I needed to make my mind up and take the next step. For now, its keep reading through this site to get all the info I can get and make the best decision for my next step which will be how I will get my CDL A. For now the journey continues, and one of my favorite sayings to some of my closet friends, till next time.

-zach-

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.

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.

Jason R.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you have a plan, like a lot of people I also have a college education, I have a duel degree a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and a masters in English. Call me Doctor. LOL but PLEASE DON'T, if I hear that one more time I think I would pull my hair out. HAHA My family always said, get a education, it's just what you do. As I type this I am getting ready to go to work and sit at my desk and join the rat race for another week, I feel I am at the top of my field and after 20+ years I am DONE!! I cant stare at the same walls, look at another set of blue prints and listen to other people bitc*ing. I start trucking school in a few weeks. I cant wait for the day I walk into my bosses office and say SEE YA!!

Sorry if I missed the post but did you find a company to work for?

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