It is interesting for us to meet new drivers and hear about their career path. We have drivers who are fresh out of CDL school and always knew they wanted to be on the road because their family was in trucking. We have drivers who are in their second or even third careers! Some of our drivers are former military servicemen; some are former pastors; but all of them have a story. They all had to go through the process of discovering if trucking was the right path for them.
Here are a few things you should consider as you determine if life on the road is in your future.
Do you like Alone Time?
Trucking can be a (blissfully) lonely venture. There are long days with very little human contact, save occasional bathroom breaks. The key isn't whether or not you like being around people, as there are both introverts and extroverts in the industry, the key is whether or not you like being around yourself.
What Kind of Schedule Do You Want?
Some people prefer to be on the road for 40 hours a week and do local deliveries only. But those jobs are few and far between and, generally, don't pay as much. Make sure your expectations are realistic when you take on this career. Do you want to be out for a few days at a time? One week at a time? A few weeks at a time? If you know your scheduling goals it can make finding the right company a whole lot easier.
Do you have a Supportive Family?
The life of a trucker is inherently a life of compromise. You enjoy the freedom of the road and a great paycheck, but you miss out on daily life at home. If you have a family, consider how they feel about you being on the road. Are they prepared to deal with your absence? How do they feel about the long hours (and weeks) that trucking brings?
Please don't let this discourage you. We have plenty of examples of amazing marriages here at K&J Trucking; these are people who made it work despite the sacrifice. But we also have some heartache in our midst. Make sure your family is behind you before you make a commitment to this career; if they are, it can be an amazingly rewarding journey.
Do You Like Driving?
This one seems pretty obvious, but we aren't talking about whether or not you enjoy driving your brand new pickup across the state, we are talking about big machinery. If you don't know the answer to this question, that is okay! Get some basic experience and find out if you enjoy life on the road before you commit to a career.
Are You Prepared to Take Charge of Your Health?
Being in a truck seat all day isn't easy on your health, but that doesn't mean you can't be healthy on the road by making good choices and being diligent. Can you handle sitting for long periods of time? Are you prepared to get creative with healthy eating and exercising even in the confines of a truck? These are important questions if you want to be healthy enough to enjoy your life both on and off the road.
Can You Stay Organized?
There is plenty of paperwork involved in trucking, although much of it is done on a computer these days. You will need to be able to manage a tight schedule, budget your time wisely, and be an excellent planner. Many of the tips and tricks in the industry can be learned as you go through training, but if you have a basic level of organization and commitment to timeliness you will have less growing pains as you get started.
Are You Responsible?
This goes a bit beyond basic organization and timeliness. When you are in a truck you are sharing the road with vehicles significantly smaller than you. There is a lot of inherent power and responsibility that comes when you accept a position as a truck driver. You have to watch out for others because they rarely watch out for themselves. When you are in a truck you represent the trucking company and that takes a lot of control and restraint.
We love watching brand new drivers catch a passion for the industry. If you're just starting out on that journey, we want to meet you and hear your story.