Truck driving offers a truly a unique lifestyle and making the choice to become a truck driver should not be made in a rush without thinking about the pros and cons. Along with them, just as with any career, you should also consider the earning potential, hours, benefits, location and job security that come with the role. Once you have done your research, you will be able to make a solid decision as to whether the truck driving life is right for you.
Sounds simple, right? Maybe not.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to give you some insight as to what it’s like to be a trucker. What is important here is to really think about your lifestyle preferences and to be honest with yourself. After reading through our list of pros and cons, you will be better able to determine if truck driving fits your lifestyle, personality, and professional goals. Below are the good and the not-so-good parts of being a commercial truck driver.
Get Paid to Travel
If you’re already interested in traveling, why not get paid to do it? Enjoying the ever-changing scenery over the course of your haul can keep things interesting and can kill the drudgery of being stationed in one spot, all year. You get to visit and learn about many different places that you may not have known about if you had an office job. Travel, adventure, and experience are all up for grabs when you choose the life of a trucker.
Over 70% of goods are delivered by trucks across the country. What this means for the experienced truck driver is that there are always good companies looking to hire them as they are becoming a rarity. Experienced truck drivers get compensated well because it is known that you can handle the stresses of the job. For those newer drivers not quite there yet, keep in mind your pay depends on your mileage; the more you drive, the more you make. If you were to build your experience and keep a clean driving record, your pay potential goes up significantly.
Depending on your personality, this can be a solid perk of the job or the thing you hate most. Plenty of people consider solitude an ideal working condition as it allows them time for self-reflection, thoughtful contemplation and self-help. To make the most use of time on the road, many drivers download self-help audio books that they listen to when they’re on the road. Truck driving allows you to learn on the job and even pursue different hobbies and interests as whatever you can think of, there will be a book on it.
Depending on company policies, truck drivers manage their own breaks, arrange fuel stops, and even chart their own courses. Although each driver has a dispatcher to which they report in to and receive tasks from, there is still a lot of flexibility to make your own day-to-day decisions. This can be great for those self-starters that like to do things in their own way.
Opportunities to Grow
There are plenty of opportunities to work and grow in the truck driving industry. It’s widely known that there is a shortage of truck drivers to fill all of the truck driving jobs available, which means there’s even more room for promotion and growth. As a new truck driver, you will still have to pay your dues and get plenty of experience under your belt but if you do great work, you’ll move up faster in a company than in previous years.
There is no way of getting around this. You will miss important family functions, such as school activities for your kids or just hanging out with friends. You will constantly need to be on the road, sitting for hours on end just holding the steering wheel while staring at the road. Mentally prepare yourself for this. There are ways of making good use of your time like stated above (self-help audio books) but that doesn’t make up for all the missed time away from family and friends. Also, your truck will become your new home as you can be away for 2-3 weeks at a time. If you are not comfortable with this time away, you may need to look into another career. Long hours will also require you to have the odd wake-up and sleep times as most truckers will sleep through the day and drive at night to optimize drive time. Because truck drivers are paid by the mile, they want to make the most of their drive time by doing this.
This isn’t talked about that much but it comes with the job. You will realize that you just don’t have a companion to talk to or share a meal with or simply hang out with on the road. If you’re not already, you will have to be more comfortable talking on the phone or the CB as that is how you’ll stay in touch with family and friends. Again, some people like being alone with their thoughts more than others so factor this into your choice as to whether you should become a long haul trucker.
It Can Become Repetitive
Trucking can become repetitive, especially for local drivers. Seeing the same scenery, same routes day in and day out can make it seem like a very long day. Although shorter trips can be a huge perk for some, for others it can be more stressful and boring at the same time. For example, seeing the same people every day and trying to manoeuvre in tight spaces during short city trips daily can take this kind of toll.
Living on the road can be tough on anyone but trucks drivers are one of the most likely occupations to become obese. Trucker’s rarely get a full night’s sleep, work long hours, and sit for extended periods of time all of which are terrible for your health. Truck drivers need to learn to be mindful of their health including eating well and exercising, even while on the road.
Just like any job, becoming a commercial truck driver is not for anyone. Take the time to think about the impact the life of a truck driver will have on you and your family, as well as the lifestyle changes it may require. Again, do your research and go in with eyes wide open so there aren’t any surprises as to what you could lose – or gain – in the trucking industry.
What has your experience been like as a trucker? What is your most favourite aspect of the job? The least? Please leave a comment below and like the post!