Sizing up the plunge...

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by The Fiddle, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. The Fiddle

    The Fiddle Bobtail Member

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    Typical "newbie looking into possibly starting a trucking career, got some questions for you, brah" thread...but with some not so typical circumstances.

    So, first and foremost, I'm not looking into trucking as "backup" plan. Rather I'm looking into it with the same view I've always had it in, a lifestyle.

    Kicking this off, my pops has been driving for about 20 years (ever since I can remember, at any rate) so I have a little "taste" for trucking myself. He drove for Oakley out of Little Rock, AR, in the late 80's/early 90's and hauled grain until '02 when we relocated to here in CO. He's been doing flatbed pretty much since then.

    Enter me. 21 y/o, in college, works at said college, has pretty nice social life/network around the area, still lives at home/has nice home life, doing alright in school, got a pay raise this month at work, two more semesters of school to go, seems alright huh?

    At least the logical side of my head thinks so... For the past year I've been creeping this forum and talking a lot with pops (in a very sly, non-revealing way) about trucking and all that that entails. I've been pouring over my memories of riding with him all those times in my childhood, reliving all the experiences I've had and places I've visited. They remind me what an awesome way of life trucking is, at least in my eyes.

    I've slowly grown to feel that rush of seeing the hood eat up the road. I can't seem to get my mind off of it. I envy that freedom my father has when he is on the road, whereas I'm stuck here behind a computer screen doing reports and projects. Something I would rather NOT do my entire life, regardless of pay.

    Yet if I left school for a life on the road, I'm not exactly sure how my folks and other family would take it (basically first generation to go to a full blown 4 year school) though I know it wouldn't be good. But I'm also reaching the point to where I don't give a #### what they think or feel, this is my life and I'm here to do with it what I feel pleases me the most.

    So here I sit, CDL Handbook open in one tab, dreaded homework in the other. Figuratively at a crossroads. Not quite sure as to why I've made this thread. Perhaps for social validation, perhaps I'm just looking for opinions.
     
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  3. 7122894003481

    7122894003481 Bobtail Member

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    Alot of guys are gonna come and say STAY IN SCHOOL DONT GO INTO TRUCKING!!! Others will say FORGET SCHOOL FOLLOW YOUR DREAM!!!

    Only you can make the choice. Dont let anybody decide it for you. Ill be honest, its a pretty bad time to get into trucking. If you find the right company, you will be OK. But there really are many drivers out there not making much money at all, and being away from their friends and families for weeks or months at a time.

    Im gonna give you some advice nobody on here ever seems to give. Apply to the LTL trucking companies in your area. Get a job as a dockworker. Ask to use their equipment to practice for your CDL. Alot of them will let you do it for free, on your own time. Get your CDL, and get on as a local driver. Dont let anybody tell you that is not an option because its simply not true. Thats how I did it and alot of guys did it. You dont need to go to a CDL mill and sign a contract with a mega carrier to get behind the wheel. If you do go LTL, you will most likely make more money and be home every night.

    But of course, you could always go to a CDL mill, get your CDL, and go OTR. Some rookies find decent companies to work for right away, many dont.

    Just do your research on any company you look into working for, and any school you look into going to.

    Good luck.
     
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  4. Diesel Dave

    Diesel Dave Last Few of the OUTLAWS

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    Good post Harvey, My son started stocking the shelves for Coca-Cola at the local supermarket's, then the opportunity came when Coke offered there employees if they wanted to get there Class A that they would pay for there training and get paid to go to training. Anyway's, long story short, he stood with them until they started laying off due to cut back's like every where else. He had put his time in cause if you was to quit before the contract up was up, you would to reimburse the fees for training. Like any other place. Now he's working/driving for U.S. Food's and he love's it even more.
     
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  5. dave26027

    dave26027 Road Train Member

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    I think I can help you out here. What you're looking for is adventure. You're going to College and working there, too- that's a good gig but it's dull and boring. You need to do something that will scare you and raise the hair on the back of your neck once in awhile.

    HMMM.... Two more semesters to go..

    Not sure what your major is- hard to tell- but you're young. Life on the road was always there, it always will be. It will wait for you. If you leave College, it will be hard to go back. Trucking can suck you in and not let go. Before you know it, you'll be 30. Then 35. And 40, 45- and when you're 50 you ARE going to realize you should have finished College before you started driving.

    This life is like an emergency that never stops. The years fly by while you do dispatch favors, deal with the IRS, lose a house (or two), get divorced, wear out 3,4 or 5 trucks chasing the big bucks- the next thing you know you have more than twenty years of driving experience- and memories- and no one cares. For some reason, experience means nothing to trucking companies. You WILL wish you had finished college at this point in your life because there is nothing to prove that you did anything interesting with yourself.

    So Fiddle, finish those last few semesters. Get that degree. Then come join us, there's lots of room here for one more NooB with a college degree. Chances are good that trucking can pay off those student loans quick. And your degree is a great plan "B" if Trucking uses you up and spits you out.
     
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  6. zebcohobo

    zebcohobo Vincent Van Gopher

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    The romance of life on the road wears off faster than you might think. The freedom pops had in the late 80's is just like the 80's, a thing of the past. Nowadays there's a qualcomm in every truck. The company knows everything there is to know. Where you are, where you've been, how fast you're going, how many times you stop and for how long. I know you're probably bored with school right now but I urge you to finish, especially now that you're so close to finishing. Once you have your degree, then explore trucking if you still really want to. That way, at least you have your degree to fall back on should you decide driving is not for you. You're at a critical moment in your life, don't make any rash decisions. Like Harvey said though, the decision is ultimately yours to make. Good luck.
     
  7. 7122894003481

    7122894003481 Bobtail Member

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    The 80s wont be a thing of the past til you get rid of the mullet for good Hobo!
     
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  8. Big Don

    Big Don "Old Fart"

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    Hey Fiddle, welcome to the forum! You are not the first, nor will you be the last individual to ask this question of yourself, and other people. Only you can make the decision. With that said, I'd like to see you think about some things here.

    First off, at 21, you have your whole life stretching out before you, barring some kind of tragedy. I know that from your stand point, looking ahead for six months or a year, time seems to drag on forever. It probably won't start to "fly by" for you, until you are well into your 40's.

    I am strongly urging you to finish your schooling and get your degree. Yes, of course, you can "always go back and finish it later." Well, I've BTDT and let me tell you that later comes at a VERY high price, if at all. Don't be in a big rush to jump out of your school. No matter how dissatisfied you are right now, I am absolutely certain that if you finish your schooling, you will be thankful for it on down the road.

    Even if, after you get your degree, you never do anything but drive a truck, you will still have the education to allow you to do other things. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have completed something that a lot of other folks have not been willing or able to complete.

    Speaking of the completing part. Make it a life habit to finish what you start. Getting "almost done," and quitting, makes for a long and quite often unsatisfactory life.

    As another poster said, trucking will still be there next year. And the year after that. Get your schooling completed now, while you are living at home, BEFORE you meet that certain someone and find you now have a wife and a child to support.

    I am telling you this, because I know from trying to do it the hard way. It is funny how when you are young, those years just seem to stretch out forever in front of you. But when you are old, and looking back on them, it seems they went by all to soon.

    I am hoping with everything I have that you will finish your schooling before you come to trucking.
     
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  9. The Fiddle

    The Fiddle Bobtail Member

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    I hope I didn't give the impression that I'm going to walk into the student services building tomorrow morning and give them the bird. I'm not doing anything quite that brash yet anyway.

    I see the degree as a tool, a certainly valuable one at that (Ag Business). But the process of crafting that tool has certainly begun to take its toll on me.

    Dave26027 probably is speaking mostly to what this is that I'm on about, adventure. I would certainly love some adventure in this life, not that I currently receive none or anything, dodging angry motorist across six lanes of traffic to get to campus is quite adrenaline inducing.

    I certainly appreciate the responses so far. I'm certainly not doing anything about it for the next few months as I've already committed myself to finishing this semester at the very least. However, once December rolls around, who knows. I know for certain I aim to take the Thanksgiving week off and make a run with pops if he goes out. Maybe I can discuss some more with him, as he has his own authority and all.

    As far as QualComm/ELogs/mega carriers go, I certainly want nothing to do with any of that.
     
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  10. 7122894003481

    7122894003481 Bobtail Member

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    Just please be aware that the whole "adventure" and "life on the open road" phase of trucking goes away after about an hour...Then youre just like "Man......I still have 600 more miles to go today"
     
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  11. dave26027

    dave26027 Road Train Member

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    Your Dad's advice will be the best ever, that's for sure. Make Pops proud of you- it'll serve you both.
     
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