Don’t ever use this phrase. Don’t say, “I’m just a trucker.” Like the old phrase, “I’m just a housewife”, it is demeaning to you, and says that you value what society thinks of what you do more than you value what you KNOW you do on a daily basis.
Aside from the glory days of Smokey and the Bandit, truck driving is not seen as a glamorous occupation. Society values doctors, lawyers, some scientists and college professors, and, of course, movie stars.
Hmmph! What do they know?
Trucking is viewed as an unskilled labor job. Earning your CDL requires very little formal schooling, in some cases only two weeks. After four to six weeks of co-driving with an experienced driver at the company you are hired on with, you are a full-fledged truck driver. No wonder it is seen as low-skilled.
Those of us who have been out here for a while as drivers know the real truth. In this job, one never stops learning. The moment you think to yourself, “I’ve got this!” is the moment you become dangerous to yourself and others.
There may come a time, a year or two into your driving career, that you relax a little. You are no longer grinding gears – worked that out months ago – and can usually back into a space without 47 pull-ups. You can find the shippers and receivers without too much trouble. You know how to fix a lot of the little things that will go wrong with your truck.
That’s when you get a new problem to solve, of course. Perhaps it is the fun of going from paper logs to the EOBR. Or learning to follow, and when not to follow, the mapping software.
You might change companies and have to learn their way of doing things. You might get into a newer truck and have to learn its ways. I just recently did both – new company and a new truck with an automatic transmission! Talk about a learning curve!
Even if none of these things happen, there is the ever-changing road. Dealing with weather, construction, traffic jams, and four-wheelers gives truth to the fact that a driver makes hundreds of decisions each minute while operating the truck.
Lest I forget, you also have to deal with people, at least your dispatcher and the company’s customers, some of whom may be having a really bad day, so they take it out on you.
Then there is your ever changing schedule. Most of us have to learn to sleep when we can, as the loads we get are not always ones that pickup during the day.
If you deal with all the above – and all of us drivers do – do not let anyone put you down for being “just a trucker.”
Tell them you are a Materiel Relocation Engineer.
Tags: Truck Driver
, Trucking Life