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Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part III – How Your Family and Lifestyle Will Affect Your Choice
In the first part of our series Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part I: Factors That Affect All Companies, we talked about the various factors and considerations that will affect your experience at any company you go to work for, including:
- The Elusive “Best Shipping Companies” and the Mythical “Perfect Shipping Company”
- Competition and politics in every shipping company
- Different divisions work together or sometimes work against each other
- Competition within the company
In the second part of our series, “Choosing a Truck Driving Job Part II: You and ‘Your People’ Are the Most Important Factor,” we talked about surrounding yourself with the right people and understanding the factors that affect the load you get. and things you can do to put yourself in the best position to succeed, including:
- Be very patient
- Communicate well with your company
- First, prove yourself as a driver, then ask for a favor
- Learn to understand your company and the trucking industry in general
- Surround yourself with the right people
- Meet the right people
- and many others….
Now, in Part III, let’s start talking about how you should choose a truck driver job based on your personality and preferred lifestyle.
Let’s start with your lifestyle first. Are you married? Divorced? Do you have kids? Do you love adventure? Would you like to travel a lot and see the country, or have you already had the opportunity and would rather stay close to home?
Time spent at home is one of the most important aspects you should consider when choosing a truck driving career. There’s one point I can’t stress enough – if you have a family of your own, please, please, please, don’t take a truck driving job where you’re gone for weeks at a time. Thousands of truck drivers have done this over the years and thousands do today, but the stress it puts on each family member is enormous and just not necessary. There are plenty of opportunities in the trucking industry to make good money and be home at least every weekend and sometimes even every night. Countless families have broken up because of the time they spend apart. I definitely don’t want that number to go up.
Even for those with a family, working as a regional truck driver can be stressful, but I think it can be done – at least for a while. But it will definitely test your relationship with your partner and your children. Ideally, you’d like to be home with your family every day, but often your financial situation dictates that you get a really well-paying job that you might not be able to find with a local company. Be forewarned though, even regional trucking will be a HUGE test of your family’s strength, not to mention losing so many of your family’s lives.
What if you are married or in a serious relationship but have no children? There are many couples who travel together. In some cases both are drivers and share driving duties, in other cases only one drives and the other helps in other ways such as navigation, phone calls, paperwork and a variety of other duties. But again, keep in mind – the inside of your truck is the size of a walk-in closet, and the two of you will be together almost 24/7. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to share a small space with another person practically every minute of every day, but it’s not easy. In the best case, it will take a lot of getting used to, and in the worst case, you’ll be on your neck at times. Some couples make it, many don’t. Often the only way to find out is to try. But if you decide to give it a try, please don’t give up your home or apartment right away. Wait a few months. If you can stick it out for like three months, you should be fine. However, both parties are often happy that sometimes they can travel together and other times one person can stay at home, rest and attend to other responsibilities. There really isn’t an easy answer to this type of situation. It’s a matter of trial and error.
Now when I started driving I was 21 years old, hadn’t traveled much, had never been married and had no children. The idea of constantly traveling and living in a truck sounded off amazing, and that was it! The better part of my first 9 years of driving was on the road. I stayed on the road for weeks and sometimes months at a time. I just absolutely loved it! It really suited my personality and lifestyle perfectly. I was able to give up my apartment, my vehicle and let the money accumulate in the bank. I usually find that I do a lot of driving during the week and have a lot of free time on the weekends to entertain myself. I went to bars, sporting events, concerts, and did “touristy things” like in Las Vegas or New Orleans. It was ostentatious!
So your first consideration should be at home. But be honest with yourself. Don’t talk yourself into doing something that deep down you probably have serious doubts about. If you have a family, please try to find a job with as much time as possible at home. If you absolutely NEED to make as much money as possible, at least for a while, then try to formulate a solid plan that will get you out of a financial bind and into a position to have a job with more home time as soon as possible. possible. I’m telling you that too much time away from home can destroy a family. Try to avoid it.
In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about the difference between working for one of the larger shipping companies and one of the smaller shipping companies. I’ve worked at companies with over 5,000 trucks, I’ve worked at one with eleven trucks, and everything in between. There are some major, fundamental differences between them, and we’ll cover them in more detail below.
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