October 27 2009 is a special day for me because it was October 27 1976 when I entered the transportation world. My only experience in this world was riding the school bus for all the years in school. Its all I had to go on to have some knowledge of the world I was entering. I wanted to do this since I was a little kid. When the time came to go job hunting, all I got was "You're a girl and girls don't do that" and "That's no place for you." My place? What is "my place?" I asked them. This was not being said to the male species. So why the double standard for women? Do I not look capable of doing the job?
I have a poem from 1983 with 12 examples of the double standard. A couple of the examples are about the men having lunch with the boss so they can continue to climb the ladder. For the women it was considered having an affair. A man's desk is messy? A sign that he is a busy person. A woman's desk is messy? She must be disorganized. Sadly this thinking still goes on today. Maybe not everywhere, but I see it and I am affected by it.
Just this week at my part time job I was talking to a trucker and I said that I know what he is talking about because I'm a truck driver too when not at this job. He looked at me and said "I find that hard to believe." Since I was at work, I had to be polite. I want to know why this is so hard to believe or understand when women announce to the world, "I drive 18 wheelers!" What does a trucker look like? I just happen to be bigger than a few of the men I have seen and I know men don't get this treatment.
It has been a battle all the way to get to where I am at today. I had to get doors to open and keep on opening them to move up. I had to deal with men getting promoted faster because they were men and many times with less experience than me in the bus world. You get burned out quickly dealing with battles that just keep arising.
I moved on to being a state employee and spent 5 years traveling the state doing traffic counts driving a state car. Then I went on to a testing lab for road building for 6 years and one winter I plowed snow for the state. Whether you do or do not count this time, it does not change the fact that its been 33 years since 1976.
Trucking is a strange life, but it has treated me and other women equally. I entered trucking in 2001 with my experience and knowledge being even less than it was when I decided to become a bus driver. I needed a job and I was going to make it work. There is some satisfaction in doing this job. We are supplying America with needed supplies. There is satisfaction after learning how to back the darn trailer!! Practice and practice and more practice is what it takes. Eventually the light bulb will come on and you will get it. I wish I had kept more notes on my trips so I can do more stories of my adventures.
Our interim pastor suggested I try to do trucking devotions. "Are you kidding?!!" I said to him. Naturally this never entered my mind to do one but I accepted the challenge and I've gotten two finished so far. Both were approved by interim and a friend with suggestions to "tweak" them some more. Maybe. That is far down my list of things to do.
Every driver has a story to tell. There is so much that we see and do, and so much that we endure that you just would not believe it and would wonder why it goes on in today's world. We drivers don't understand it either. Since we can't have every 4-wheeler ride along in the truck with us for a week to see what we do and put up with, I enjoy writing about it. That is why lots of drivers write and have done books. 33 years have gone by now. Looking back its gone by fast. I had no idea I would be in it for this long.