At a career crossroads and once again considering trucking (OTR)

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by PossiblyDelulu, Feb 17, 2024.

  1. PossiblyDelulu

    PossiblyDelulu Bobtail Member

    Sep 30, 2018
    Hi there. Looking for advice. Been browsing this forum for a bit.

    I'm pushing the big 5-0 in a few months and will soon be ending a part time construction management gig and have been struggling to find a full time career I can go the final 10-15 yrs and retire with. Without going into details of the what I have done, simply put I am a generalist/jack-of-many trades and have done a variety of blue and white collar work, including management. Problem is I am losing out on jobs because I (1) don't have the in-depth experience/certifications in a field I have some experience in, (2) am overqualified for the job and they don't want to hire me thinking I will leave quickly OR (3) it is another generalist position at a scrappy start-up and they don't have the budget to pay me. I've pieced together work the past few years but each year it is harder to find something and my income keeps sagging. I've gone from 115K to 85K and just recently lost out on a FT job that was offering 60-70K. I've seen this trajectory in others and I don't like it one bit.

    Ok now the trucking part. I genuinely like travel and driving. I have driven my share of sub 26-foot box trucks for various jobs over the years, including in San Francisco and New York. Once drove over the Berthoud Pass when I-70 was closed and didn't freak out. The OTR aspect definitely appeals to me. I am long divorced and my kids are in their early 20s but no grandkids. I had to relocate to the Atlanta area for family reasons but after June, I am no longer tied down to that place. I do have the means and time to get a CDL while working part time w/out losing any more income. My driving record dates back to early 90s with just a pair of tickets (1990-something and 2018). I'm in generally good health.

    My idea is to sell everything (including my current residence which would net me 40-50K after mortgage is paid off) and drive for 4-5 yrs, reduce my personal expenses to an absolute minimum and bank everything. My goal is to save towards retirement, a possible house and still be able to contribute to my youngest kid's college education (split with my ex). Honestly I'd be content living out of a truck, writing and drawing on my off time and maximizing my earnings. I view this as both a lifestyle change with financial goal set to bank money. I know my first year earnings will be probably far lower than I have seen in a long time but after that earning 50-60K (or more) w/minimal personal expenses will be much better than my current cash flow situation which is currently negative (ahem, multiple kids in college, car, lifestyle creep etc)

    After that, maybe a local trucking job near wherever one of the kids / family winds up settling. If you're still reading after all that, here's your chance to tell me this is a terrible idea and why it won't work out. Based on obligations and CDL training, I probably wouldn't be looking to go OTR until Jul-Aug at the earliest. I would do CDL school in the Atlanta area but after that, I don't care where I go next.
    Chinatown Thanks this.
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    Can probably get free cdl school, no cost to you, through WIOA Program Georgia. Not sure about the Hope Scholarship, but you can check that one also for free cdl school.
    PossiblyDelulu Thanks this.
  4. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    You have a viable plan and it's pretty common with truckers.
  5. lual

    lual Road Train Member

    Oct 22, 2020
    SW Georgia
    Understand that trucking is not just a job -- but also a LIFESTYLE.

    It's a lot of long days in the saddle -- 12 to 14 hours, in many cases.

    It's tough on relationships (being single for you is a huge plus, obviously).

    Also -- the CDL job market is tough right now for rookies -- & likely will remain so for (at least) the rest of the year.

    Bottom line: take your time. Think carefully & research the type(s) of freight that you think you might like to pull. Take a local-area CDL course that will final exam you out on manual tractors -- so you won't later have an "automatic only" restriction on your CDL license. Then get ALL the relevant endorsements: tanker, hazmat...& doubles/triples.


    -- L
    PossiblyDelulu Thanks this.
  6. 201

    201 Road Train Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    1st, welcome aboard, you came to the right place. Once you establish this is really what you want to do, this "Chinatown" character, our resident recruitment,,guy, will have you swimming with offers. He makes it pretty easy.
    2nd, you certainly have all the qualifications, we get many folks that around your age, that suffer from career burnout, and trucking becomes a viable option. Many, however, are desperate, literally the last game in town, and fail miserably. My standard stat is, 50% of new drivers quit in the 1st 6 months, and 25% of the remaining, don't make it a year, so the odds are clearly against you. The good news, you can do it, and "run the clock out" doing something you like. Trucking has many issues non-trucking folks aren't prepared for. OTR and regional ( local or maybe an overnight) are 2 distinct different games, each with challenges of their own. My best advice, and many will agree, going to a local school, not affiliated with any company, may be cheaper, but risky business. Go to a company that Chinatown suggests, go through THEIR program, and you'll have a job waiting. Private school, not so much. Initially, you may not get the loads you like, but you have to be open minded, and sounds like you are, patience pays off in this here industry. Good luck, and keep us posted, eh?
    PossiblyDelulu Thanks this.
  7. cuzzin it

    cuzzin it Road Train Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Berea, KY
    You have a realistic plan, and Atlanta is good area for jobs. Give it a shot.
    Maybe think of plan b is it is not for you, but i think you might enjoy it
  8. tarmadilo

    tarmadilo Road Train Member

    Dec 12, 2018
    I like it. Be picky about who you hire on with. I got really lucky with my first employer. I was just looking for a decent starter job and their local terminal was the closest one to my house, five years later I’m still with them.
  9. Allow Me.

    Allow Me. Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    May 28, 2009
    Rancho Mirage, Ca.
    OP mentioned he was not happy with $85K a year. And moved to Atlanta "for family reasons" but is long divorced and a mention about college for his kids. That's the real anchor on his wallet. I mean college ain't cheap. Not trying to be Mr. negative here. Just making an observation.
    Numb Thanks this.
  10. dngrous_dime

    dngrous_dime Road Train Member

    Jan 28, 2014
    Lansing area, MI
    He also mentioned that after his situation changes, 55-60K will have a better cash flow.
  11. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    You can get lots of miles with an OTR refrigerated company.
    KLLM Transport is one of the better refrigerated companies for new cdl school grads. Also has their own cdl school. I think the pay you're looking for can be achieved at KLLM. This company runs all 48 states.
    Here's from the website:
    Our two Class-A CDL school/academy locations serve entry-level students and permit holders from Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. We offer refresher courses to students from around the country.
    Home - KLLM Transport Services
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