The Pros and Cons of Truck Driving
Everyone knows there's no perfect job out there. It doesn't matter if you're a fast food restaurant employee or a marine biologist, anyone who's worked a number of different jobs throughout their life knows there's no such thing as a completely flawless profession. Stress and frustration occasionally find their way into every job on the market today, but as a working society we find ways to cope with this.
Knowing ones own strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes is perhaps the best way to determine which "flaws" in the job market one is best equipped to deal with. But knowing thyself isn't the only method of preventing a potentially disastrous employment decision. One needs to be equally familiar with the strengths and weaknesses within the job market as well. And while I obviously can't provide helpful facts about every type of employment out there, I can enlighten you on some of the jobs I've done. I'm guessing there's only one job you want to learn about, however, for purposes of this article, and that's trucking. If you're asking yourself, as I once was, should I become a truck driver, there's a few general things I can tell you about this profession to help answer some of the questions you might have.
First of all if you're searching for a good paying job, as most people undoubtedly are, and you enjoy traveling you would probably think truck driving is as close to a perfect fit as you can get. While possible, I'm sure pretty much everyone enjoys making money and traveling. Consequently, I'd be willing to bet there are very few people in the world who can say they've never at least considered this type of work at some point in their lives as a means of earning a living. Learning more facts about this career, as you're doing right now, along with the vastness of other available professional options out there is undoubtedly why only of minority of people can say they've actually done it.
The truth is the constantly changing scenery and opportunities for very good pay are only a couple of good things about the trucking profession. You also enjoy a great deal independence, relatively easy work, and fantastic tax write offs, if you can claim per diem. These, in addition to the fact that there's typically a high demand for truck drivers in the US, as well as in other countries, and it's a relatively easy profession to get into are all obviously good reasons to consider this profession.
So why not turn in that job application to haul cargo right now then? Well, obviously there a number of red flags associated with this type of employment to take into consideration first as well. These include safety hazards, condescending dispatchers and managers, if you're a company driver, long hours, extended periods of time away from home, and repetitious work, to name a few. It's not always going to be a life filled with peaceful relaxing drives along scenic shorelines. On the contrary there's a lot of highly unappealing situations that have to be dealt with.
And while it's true a lot of truckers who didn't go to college are earning a better income than a large number of college grads, think of the long hours they're putting in every day, and the sacrifices they're making from their families to accomplish this. The pay for being a truck driver usually is also not very good until you've done it for at least a couple of years without employment gaps, and while maintaining a clean driving record.
On the bright side, however, two years in any profession can go by fast, and there's typically a flood of opportunities for truck drivers who have put in this time without blemishing their professional licenses with reckless accidents and traffic violations. Unlike many other professions that require degrees, if you have the experience and the right credentials it doesn't take months to get your foot in the door of a good paying trucking company. Even without many favorable connections, a qualified applicant with a professional drivers' license should be able to land a good paying trucking job with ease. He or she just has to be willing to put up with the downfalls, as even the most polished truck driver will get frustrated in this profession from time to time.
So if you're willing to commit yourself to a lot of work and sacrifice in a profession that's not very intellectually rewarding, dangerous at times and where you're almost sure to find yourself repeating some of Rodney Dangerfield's most famous quotes on a regular basis, truck driving might be a good fit for you. Just remember, if you're still considering it, that trucks are tools, not toys. Safety will always be a top priority in every trucking job you work, and there will ultimately be company safety policies, along with required DOT regulations, with which you must abide to succeed. Just a tip to remember if you can still see yourself trucking as a profession now, never, or sometime "down the road."