Trucking for a Living

What is it about trucking? It attracts so many people from so many different walks of life. You will find former military, retired cops, airline pilots, school teachers, construction workers, unskilled laborers, office workers, nurses, and all kinds of other people all working as truck drivers. Perhaps one of the most common things that brings all these people to trucking is the desire for more freedom and independence. The idea of being alone on the open road in a big rig is very popular.

Trucking has changed over the the years, but the basic job remains much the same – pick it up here on time and deliver it there safely intact on time. The equipment is better, communications are much better and there are all kinds of other technological advancements and improvements that make life so much better for truckers these days. You will hear the old timers complain that it ain’t what it once was, but then again that’s not all bad either. Some of what it once was wasn’t all that great. It was a nasty dirty lonely job that could be very dangerous. It’s still dangerous, but not to the extent it was in the past. Equipment is safer, training is better, and there are a lot of things these days to help keep drivers and the motoring public safer.  Having said that you can make it as dangerous as you can imagine if you don’t follow safe practices and common sense – and of course some don’t.

There are plenty of truck stops and travel centers in most places all with decent, and some even nice, showers available. Modern truck interiors are relatively nice with plenty of space for belongings and most can accommodate a TV/DVD player, refrigerator, coffee maker and other creature comforts. It would be nice to have even more truck stops, and there are some areas where there are not enough available, but with some preparation on the part of the driver the trucks cab can be quite comfortable for a few days even then, until the driver gets to another area where better accommodations are available.

Trucking can still be lonely, even with cell phones, email, and of course the CB radio. For some these things are helpful enough to provide adequate interaction with others between home time. For some others it’s just not enough. They crave in person interaction with other people like you have working in an office or on a job site. You don’t find that same thing available driving a truck – and that’s an important consideration. Most truck drivers don’t go home for several days and some not for several weeks. That can be and is very hard on most drivers and their families.

The washout rate is very high in large part directly due to being away from home for long periods of time and away from typical interactions people have. Yet, for those who do stick it out and who come to love driving a truck as a way to earn a living, they wouldn’t be happy doing much else once they have that diesel in their blood. For them it’s a near perfect choice. While not completely free, they do get to eliminate most of the crap that goes along with a typical job from their daily lives and they do have more freedom in general. No office politics, nobody looking over your shoulder at everything you do every minute of every day. Yes there are dispatchers to deal with and others to be accountable to for safe practices and schedules but  that much is tolerable.

Just as there is no one job best suited to all people neither is trucking suited to all people either. You need to do the research and consider it carefully before trying it. If you can’t stand the thought of being away from home for several days at a time on a routine basis – then forget about trucking. If your family can’t stand the thought of you being gone for several days at a time on a routine basis then forget about trucking – unless you want a divorce that is. If you think it will work and your family thinks it will work, even then the only real way to know for sure is to try it.

If you are single, or for young couples, and retired people you can take your significant other with you on the road – if they want to come that is. Keep in mind that most companies will require you to go through initial training and then to get a few weeks to a few months of experience on your own before they will let you have a passenger. But after that you can easily have them with you if that’s what you want. If you are single then you don’t have to worry about it then do you?

This presents another unique opportunity too. If you can live in your truck for awhile, which is like a small camper in many respects, then you can get rid of your house or apartment and all the expenses that goes with it. No more mortgage payments or rent, no more power, phone, cable or water bills. No more homeowners or renters insurance, and no lawn care, leaf or snow removal. For someone looking for a fast way to get paid for housing while earning a living and then being able to use all available resources to quickly get out of debt, then becoming a truck driver is one very fast way to do it.

Something to think about anyway. If you think you’d like to give trucking a try consider buying my first book Introduction to Professional Truck Driving Careers which is available at Amazon.