“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Nearly every child has heard that question at least once. Responses range from astronaut and ballerina to veterinarian and cowboy. But over time, priorities change, realities take hold, and adults look at the professional world from a new perspective. Now, you take in other considerations such as finances, your past experience, and a desire for quality time with family into account.
One of the most promising careers that fulfill on those concerns is truck driving. By now, you’ve likely heard about the industry’s competitive salaries, accessible training programs, and consistent home time options. But how do you know if the job itself is right for you? Read on to learn three essential qualities you need to make it as a driver.
You Want Independence
As the job title suggests, truck drivers spend most of their time driving. Many local drivers will make several daily stops and interact with business owners along the way, but for most regional and long-haul drivers, that workday is solitary. You will depend on a team of dock workers, dispatch callers, and your carrier management, but most of your professional life will depend on your self motivation.
Here, people aren’t looking over your shoulder to ensure you arrive on time. As long as you obey all traffic laws, no one dictates how you drive, what you listen to, or when you stop. Want to catch up on that audiobook you’ve been wanting to finish for weeks? Done. Feel like stopping at a nearby gas station to shower, grab a meal, and chat with a waitress? When you do that is up to you as well. While you will have scheduled destinations, how you spend your time on the road is entirely up to you.
You Are Dedicated
Independence is certainly part of the equation, but we may have glossed over the fact that “your professional life will depend on your self motivation.” To become a successful truck driver, you must be dedicated to the job.
Driving positions are tailored to different tasks, and that means a variance in how much home time and salary you receive. On average, drivers work for 11 hours each day, which includes breaks and lunch. If you have more questions about drive time and their limits, consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
You will thrive as a truck driver if you commit yourself to the job. For many people, the most trying time of the position is the first few months, after you complete your initial training. Without a trainer in the truck with you, you get the first taste of having to navigate the road alone. Whether its because you got lost in city traffic or are simply tired after a long few days of driving, it may seem easier to seek out other employment. However, if you get passed that initial learning curve and continue to operate as a hard worker who takes pride in their job, the tasks become much more manageable.
You Crave Adventure
One of the most popular reasons for turning to the trucking industry is the adventure. You can find countless blogs about truck drivers detailing their lives because, frankly, their lives are interesting. Traveling across the country and passing bustling cities and quaint towns along the way allows drivers to see people, landscapes, and cultures they may never have had the opportunity to observe otherwise.
For many, this is an opportunity to get paid to travel. And with the onset of simple communication technologies, you can stay connected to family and friends while you’re on the road. Many truck stops have wifi so you can keep up to date on news and video chat with your family.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Truck driving can take you places you’ve never been, literally and figuratively. However, you also have many options to weigh in your mind before you make the decision to drive. If you are independent, dedicated, and adventurous and want to learn more, speak with a trucking mentor. He or she will help navigate you through the application process and give you more information about training options to get started on your trucking career.