Whether you’re a short haul or long-haul trucker, one thing is certain: trucking is just as much a lifestyle as it is a job. Some truck drivers love the solitary nature of the job and have learned to adapt to it successfully. Others may feel the effects of extended time away from home to be too demoralizing. To decide whether a career in trucking is for you, here are the major perks and pitfalls of the trucking lifestyle:
The Upside of Trucking
Probably one of the most common reasons to get into the trucking biz is the liberating appeal of the open highway. You are by yourself behind the wheel without any supervision. No one likes a boss or supervisor looking over their shoulder and, with trucking, you have none of that.
A trucker can set their own schedule and make many of their own scheduling decisions. Sure, there are dispatch orders, policies, and rules to follow. But a truck driver still enjoys more decision-making freedom than someone working in a corporate office.
When you work as a truck driver, every day is different. One day, your trip might take you through winding mountain roads, and the next day, your trip might take you through flat golden plains. Long-haul truckers, in particular, have the opportunity to see some pretty breathtaking scenery on their journeys. If the idea of seeing the country and tackling a variety of adventures appeals to you, working as a truck driver could be a good match.
High Demand and Job Stability
Probably the biggest perk of truck driving is that you can always find work with a trucking company. Fleets suffer from a lack of qualified drivers. This gives you the perfect opportunity to step up and join an industry that promises job security and a long career. You can move out of town or out of state and, no matter where you go, there will likely be a demand for truckers.
When you work as a truck driver, you’ll have a different schedule every day. You’ll enjoy more flexibility than you would at a desk job because, in trucking, you can design your workday around your life. You’ll enjoy more freedom to create the life you want to live.
The Downside of Trucking
Driving a truck for extended time periods often goes hand-in-hand with eating greasy fast food on the go and inactivity. These are two common features of the trucker lifestyle that can lead to serious health problems. In fact, truckers have more health problems, compared to U.S. averages. Around 70 percent of truck drivers are obese and at high risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Long Periods Away From Home
While trucking is great for single men and women, it can put tremendous strain on truckers with families. As a driver on long hauls, you may only receive one or two weeks of home time per month. But long trips can sometimes last three weeks or even longer. Some drivers don’t get home for months. This extended time away from home is very difficult on the people you leave behind. Just as you have to cope with being absent from their everyday lives, they have to cope with the loneliness and stress of life without you. You have to work really hard to stay connected to your spouse and children back home. This means contacting them daily through phone calls, text messages, social media, video chats or emails.
If you hate being alone or being disconnected from friends and loved ones for long periods of time, then the trucker’s lifestyle might not be for you. One of the downsides of trucking that affects many drivers is the isolation. At first, many drivers may think that not being surrounded by co-workers, supervisors, and customers is an empowering perk. But over time, that solitude can lead to depression. If you read comments from truck drivers on trucking blogs, you can clearly see that loneliness is a major problem on the job.
Heavy traffic, bad weather and bad drivers can put some people in a dark mood really quick. There’s also the constant pressure to be as efficient as possible and successfully deliver loads in a timely fashion. But if you’re the type who doesn’t sweat the small stuff and works well under pressure, then being behind the wheel of a big rig can feel very empowering.
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