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9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Trucker May 29 2020

Posted by K&J Trucking
9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Trucker - K & J Trucking
 
At K & J Trucking we love trucking. But there is one thing we have learned in over 40 years of business, trucking is NOT for everyone. If you're trying to decide if truck driving is for you, we have a list of 10 questions everyone should ask themselves before considering a trucking career. 
 

Do I Actually Enjoy Driving?

This probably goes without saying, but if you're planning to become a truck driver you need to enjoy driving. You also need to have good driving practices and a safe driving record with no major violations. If you have a checkered past, it doesn't mean you will never drive professionally, but you may need to wait a few years to be considered employable. 

Why Do I Want To Do This?

Trucking is attractive to many because of the potential for an excellent income, but if your reason for entering trucking is money alone you will be disappointed. While the money can be great, the lifestyle can be hard. You should also ask yourself if your motivations are internal, or if you are feeling pressure from others to pursue trucking. It isn't enough to think  that trucking is a good fit, it has to actually work for you and your family. 

 

Who Will Be Affected By My Absence?

If you have a family, how will they handle your absence? Are they ready for the realities of you being on the road? If you usually shovel the sidewalk, do you have a plan for what will happen when you are gone? Do you usually stay home with kids when they are sick? That won't be able to happen when you are 1,500 miles away. 
 
Unlike many careers, trucking is a family affair. Some even describe trucking as a lifestyle. And it isn't for everyone, or every family. 
 
If being gone over the road is a concern, you might consider local trucking jobs. Check to see if those are available in your area and if they seem like a good fit. 
 

Am I Ready For Friendships To Change?

When you are out on the road for days at a time you will miss important events. Frequently.
 
Even the best companies with generous time off policies can't make sure you are home for everything. Sometimes you will have to miss game night, birthday parties, and Sunday football games.
 
When your life moves to the road, friendships will change. Try to think through how that would feel for you. Are you able to deal with missing out? 
 

Am I Ready to Commit The Time and Effort?

The process of getting your CDL, training on the road, and starting a career is not hard, but there are hoops to jump through. In trucking you can't just apply for a job and start the next week. It is important to evaluate your long-term commitment to the process. 
 
Additionally, many employers that train new CDL holders ask for a one-year working commitment in order to recoup the cost of on-the-job training. Are you willing to commit the time it takes?

 

Am I Ready to Be Alone with My Thoughts?

At K & J, we joke that our drivers get a lot of "windshield time" to sit and think about things. For some people, this alone time is a beautiful and welcome thing, for others it makes them feel lonely and depressed. You know yourself best. Will social isolation be a problem?
 

Am I Ready for the Changes to My Sleep Schedule?

Different sectors of trucking have different schedules, so this doesn't apply to all sectors, but from time to time trucking will cause you to keep an odd sleep schedule. 

While it is possible to sleep at night and drive during the day most of the time if your dispatch team is willing to work with you, and they should be, or you've picked the wrong company, you will likely have some early mornings and late nights from time to time. 

How do you feel about driving at night in order to make a delivery, on occasion? Are you able to sleep anywhere or do you need a special mattress, sound machine, and blackout curtains? If you have trouble sleeping well at home, those troubles probably won't be helped by life on the road. 

 

Am I Prepared to Take Charge of My Health?

Depending on the type of driving you do, you will likely be required to have an active DOT physical and medical certification. The most common issues we see with medical certifications are high blood pressure, diabetic issues, and sleep apnea concerns. If you are currently in the midst of getting your health back on track, ask your doctor for their opinion about passing a DOT physical.
 
Even if you are currently in perfect health, the job can be very sedentary. You will be sitting for long hours, eating and sleeping at odd hours, and struggling to find time to exercise.
 
Staying healthy in the truck is absolutely possible, but it requires intention. That means planning your meals and making time for exercise on the road, even when it is difficult. 

 

Am I Ready to Deal with A Wide Range of People?

As a driver you will see all areas of the country, and you will deal with all types of people from very different walks of life. This can be a wonderful and fun experience, but it can also be frustrating and make it hard to find common ground and communicate.

You will meet people who think you are amazing, and people who think you are dirt. You will meet dock workers who treat you well and those who definitely don't. Do you know how to release your frustrations without retaliation? If anger is an issue for you, it will become an issue on the road at some point. 

With a CDL one bad decision can have catastrophic consequences for your future career. Make sure you have the right temperament to let things go. 

 


There are many factors that go into a decision to pursue trucking. This list is hardly exhaustive, but we hope it was helpful. Stay tuned for our upcoming ultimate guide to getting your CDL by subscribing to the blog!
 
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