So You Want to be a Driver?
by, 05.09.2010 at 03.16 PM (546 Views)
No you don't or you wouldn't be here on this site getting info. You would have had to become a driver because you grew up driving one, there was a truck waiting on you to drive or your situation became desperate and you had to go. If you are looking to drive because it looks like good money or fun or any other reason it is a bad idea.
I am very harsh to people doing the feel good postings encouraging each other when they don't know what they are getting into and the long term downside.
Some one who is going to make a good driver really won't worry about going out and researching it, talking about it and being smart about it. They just do it. Unfortunately, that is what has been powering the big entry level companies for a while. The burst of enthusiasm from new employees for the first three to six months before people catch on that driving is not so much fun and is really hard work for low pay.
I see the comments that the naysayers must have had a bad experience or not been good at their job. I am not one of those. I just updated my profile to show 17 years of driving. Over the years I have tried to get out of it a number of times and I have other things I can do, but employers have learned that drivers don't make good employees because they get used to being independent and making above average pay although now days the pay thing is not as great as it once was. So it makes it hard to get hired for that reason and the poor image drivers have overall be it fact or fiction.
Do I likie driving, yes. Do I have a good driving job? Yes. Does it get old? Yes. I even applied to go back in the Navy knowing I would be sent to Iraq but missed out because they had just offered a bonus and were flooded with apps. The last time I got out of driving I had a job with good exercise and I was feeling good and in a couple of years back driving I can feel it about gone. There are three reasons I want out. Better benefits, more exerscise and not being so worn out I loose out on my free time. Not worn out always in the physical sense although that is common but when you spend all week going even if it is local it is nice to spend a couple of days not going and that is out of sync with the world.
When you top out in driving you don't have much. The better you are at it the more boring it gets. The more aggravated you get at the drivers who are not as experienced as you as well as the hundreds of cars you have to deal with that make your job extra dangerous.
I don't worry about the long term with people just coming in because so few stay but a lot of bad can happen in that short period of time. I have some horror stories about new drivers and most of them are not bad but the one that sticks in my mind is the story of the female driver of a red truck that stopped on the bridge in Memphis and jumped. Who knows why but this is one of those jobs that can make any problems you are dealing with at home even worse. If you can go into the military it would be a better option. If you tried and couldn't get in for some reason then driving might be an option for you. Maybe if the training companies could afford to treat drivers the right way it wouldn't be so bad but they can't. The prices to move freight have spiraled downwards since deregulation started and your working conditions will show it. Drivers don't have enough money or time to spend to keep the good truckstops and diners in business.
Contrary to popular belief, everyone can't be a driver just because they want to. Wanting it really badly helps but some people are just not cut out to do the OTR thing for whatever reason. I knew a driver trainer who quit training because he had to flunk a student who was older, had sold his house and planned on being a long term driver. except he couldn't drive and the trainer could not find a way to pass him. He said he would just quit training before he ever had to ruin someones life like that again. There are not that many really good driver trainers. I have known a few and known a few that quit doing it. One of the best I knew trained me and he asked another older driver if he was still training. He said "Not since my last student trurned the truck over while I was sleeping in the bunk."
And this was back in the day when we were out during the week, home on the weekend and stayed in motels at night during training.
One example of how a training company will pretend that they are putting out good info and looking out for their drivers. In a magazine article interview (I will see if I can find it and add a reference) a well placed exec at one of the largest trucking companies was talking with the interviewer and they were on the subject of showers. This person asked him about showers in the truck and he said something to the effect of "Our drivers like the system of taking showers in the truckstop". That one statement was a real eye opener for me about how a company can put out false information and think people will beleive it.
I hope this answers your questions about me if you came here wondering "who is that guy and why is he such an #####? I do it to try to save a few people a whole lot of grief. I thought the internet would make it easy to get the word out but it hasn't been working so well. I intend to revist and revise this but I wanted people to have an idea of how I think and what my intentions are when they read my postings. I am harsh but the job is too and if you were cut out to be a driver, you probably would not have read this far. Good Luck.