It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that trucking isn’t a career for everyone. It requires a lot of sacrifice, solitude, and patience. Becoming a truck driver is a leap of faith and full of uncertain challenges, but also full of opportunities for growth and development.
You won’t know if you truly have what it takes for a long and fruitful career in the industry unless you give it a go. However, there are some telltale signs that suggest you have what it takes to be an extraordinary truck driver.
You can handle the high pressure
You may think that trucking is all about you, your radio, and the open road. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Electronic monitoring, logs, regulations, and GPS means that your employer is always aware of your actions.
Where you are, what you’re doing, how long you’re idling for - these are all metrics that will likely be tracked and monitored by your employer.
Even though trucking is about the freedom of the open road, it’s not as free as it used to be. You’ll be subjected to a lot of scrutiny, so if you want to last in the trucking game, you need to be ready to handle the pressure.
Remember that your job isn’t just to drive, it’s to be the responsible and professional operator of complicated and expensive machinery. You’re more like a pilot than a regular driver, and staying cool and carrying out your duties with patience and a level head is a must.
You can learn to live on the road
Trucking already asks for much of your time, but many new drivers are unprepared for just how much the job will demand of them.
If you’re out on the open road, your job is just one of the things you’ll need to worry about. Apart from operating your truck, you’ll need to find time to shower, eat, do laundry, fuel up, take care of repairs, and do a lot of waiting.
Living on the road requires planning, preparation. Living on the road has a rhythm, but it won’t be as predictable as the daily routine of a regular citizen. Learning to live properly on the road takes time, but the sooner you figure it out, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of your life as a trucker.
Luckily, there’s a lot of perks to being on the road as well. You’ll get to see beautiful sights, see great cities, and meet a lot of interesting people.
Living on the road will also give you many opportunities to reward yourself with experiences and gifts that are inaccessible to regular people. Treating yourself to some gear at a truck stop, eating great food, and enjoying the scenery are just a few of the many pleasures of being on the road.
You’re prepared to absorb a lot of information
Drivers that have been in the game for a while may forget just how overwhelming learning the industry is. From truck driving school to your first gig, there’s a lot of information that you have to absorb - and fast.
Then, when you’re on the road for the first time, you’ll realize there’s a lot more practical knowledge to pick up on before you feel truly confident. It’s a lot to take in, but the reward is worth it.
Even as an experienced driver, you’ll need to keep learning new things. Maybe you’ll decide to try flatbed driving or hauling cars, or even delivering fuel. Each new branch of your career will come with lots to learn.
The more you learn and the more experience you acquire, the more bargaining power you’ll have in the industry. A driver worth his salt with knowledge and industry experience is one to be reckoned with.
The more you know and specialize, the more valuable you become. In an industry with a driver shortage, experienced and knowledgeable drivers are worth more than gold.
Ready for a challenging and unique career?
Trucking will never be a career path for everyone. It requires a certain type of person that can live through the hardships and come out stronger on the other side. Trucking is super tough, but that doesn’t mean that your entire career will be a struggle.
If anything, the hardest times come in the beginning, when you’re learning the ropes. As you rack up experience and miles, your confidence grows and so do your opportunities. If you can handle it, stick around for a year or two and see how your perception of the industry changes.