Ok, before current truck drivers start hounding me about the title of this blog, let me preface. Truck driving is very demanding and difficult. It is one of the biggest mental challenges I've ever gone through. From learning how to drive a truck to dealing with uncooperative customers, to the irregular hours and the time spent away from home. There is nothing simple about this job, and it takes a very unique individual to succeed out here. It's a jungle.
So if that's the case, why did I use such a title? I'll explain. Before I started driving a truck, I had a typical 9 to 5 office job as an Account Manager for a major IT company. As a young sales professional, I had dreams of making the big bucks. There is a lot of money to be had in sales if you're good at it. The visions of big screen TVs (with a surround sound system of course), a large house, and fast cars raced through my head. There were a lot of things I wanted out of life, and mostly it was material things. That was then, and this is now.
Being a truck driver really forces you to simplify your life. Driving is what truck drivers love to do. It's a passion for many of us. For the OTR driver, we spend more time in our truck than we do at our home, yet somehow we also love our lifestyle. So we try to make our truck home. But due to moving around all the time and the limited space, we must live in simplified conditions. I went from having a large screen TV with over 200 channels, to my little 13 inch TV, where sometimes I don't get any channels at all. I went from a two-story house to a living area smaller than most jail cells. Thoughts of fast cars, surround sound systems, and big houses have quickly left my mind. And the strange thing is, I couldn't be happier.
Out the windshield in Nevada - peaceful as can be
I believe one of the problems in America today is that everyone is so wrapped up in material things that we sometimes forget to just sit back and enjoy what we do have. This current economy is certainly changing that mindset, but I think that will help our country in the long term. For so long, we've had it so easy here in the US. We could pretty much buy whatever we wanted, when we wanted. And even if we couldn't afford it, we could put it on a credit card. Oh, how things have changed.
For me, it's been an especially big change living in this tiny truck. Before driving, I didn't really enjoy my job, but I did it anyway for the money. I figured if I could buy this or have that and save up for this other thing, I'd be a happier person in the end. But as I started researching a new career and stumbled upon truck driving, my mindset began to change. What if I could have a lower paying job, but actuallyenjoy what I do? I certainly won't ever be able to afford fast cars and big houses being a truck driver, but I've come to realize that doesn't really matter to me anymore. I love my life just the way it is, and instead of wanting more things, I find myself just enjoying what I have. The freedom of the road, the simplicity of living in my truck, and the lack of desire for more things. I feel I've reached a point in my life that people strive for all their lives...perfect contentedness. I'm totally content with what I have, even if it isn't a lot. I don't need more, more, more. I have goals in life, and still have a lot to live and look forward to, but that no longer includes a Corvette.
Truck driving is not a career for those who need material things in their lives. The money in truck driving isn't bad, but it won't ever make you rich enough to buy fancy toys. Not to mention the lack of space we have in these trucks for material things. And if you do buy something, like a boat or a nice car that you leave back home, you are rarely there to enjoy it. So why bother?
The fact of the matter is, truck driving is something you should do because you want to do it. Not because it'll get you material things. This job will force you to lead a simpler life. I easily put in more than twice the working hours per week driving a truck than I put in my last job, but it doesn't feel that way. Why? Because I really enjoy what I'm doing.There's a question you must ask yourself. Do you want to live to work or work to live? When I was in my last job, I wanted to work to live. I wanted to put in my 40 hours per week, then go out and have fun on the nights and weekends while saving up to buy fancy things I could enjoy. But now, I live to work. I don't need fancy things. Because what I really enjoy most out of life....is working. In fact, when I wake up and I can't drive yet because of my hours being regulated by the Department of Transportation, it's very aggravating. I want to work now, I don't want to wait!
So, if you want to simplify your life, truck driving might be a good route to go. Be prepared for a challenge as far as the "job" goes, but also be prepared to simplify your personal life. If you end up enjoying truck driving as much as I do, those material things won't matter to you anymore. It's a unique feeling to love your job and the lifestyle that comes with it. If you plan on being a truck driver, forget about the money, the big house, and the fancy cars. Enjoy your job, enjoy your life, and live within your means. You'll be a happier person overall because of it. At least, that's been the case for me.
Until next time, drive safely!
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.
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.
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