In May 2017, the New York Times published a series of articles that showed the trucking industry in a rather negative light. They portrayed the industry as one that considers the drivers who make it work as nothing more than throwaway people. Suffice it to say that not everyone sees things that way. There are plenty of drivers who spend years building and enjoying a long and rewarding career in trucking.
C.R. England, one of the nation’s leading temperature-controlled trucking firms, says that a career in trucking is no different than one in any other industry. Drivers make it what they want it to be. Yes, there are some motor carriers who don’t treat drivers very well, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Ask any successful truck driver what makes for a long and rewarding career and you will likely hear the same three things. They are the three A’s of trucking every veteran knows:
It’s easy to go into any industry and find people willing to complain about their jobs and their employers. So it’s no surprise that the New York Times was able to write and publish their articles. What’s important to understand about those articles is that the complaints raised by the interviewed drivers are similar to the complaints made by employees in every other job sector. It’s all about attitude.
This is not to say that truck drivers enjoy perfect working conditions. They don’t. But there is no such thing as perfection in the workplace. The truth is that attitude plays a significant role in how a worker sees his or her job. The truck driver with a good attitude is one who understands that life isn’t perfect. He or she is a driver that looks for the positive and makes the best of the negative. Most importantly, a driver with a good attitude rubs off on his coworkers, his dispatcher, and the customers he deals with.
2. Attention to Detail
Truck driving is a job that requires attention to detail. Drivers have so many things to think about, from pre-trip inspections to delivery schedules to federal regulations, that one who doesn’t pay attention to details will quickly find himself lost. On the other hand, the driver who does not let the details escape him is one who has an easier time staying on top of things.
One other thing in this regard: veteran drivers know there’s a difference between carelessness and a genuine inability to keep track of details. More often than not, truckers cause their own problems by being careless.
The third ‘A’ is adaptability. The best way to understand this is to also understand that there is no such thing as a typical day on the job for truck drivers. Where factory workers can go into work and run the same machines, day in and day out, truck drivers face a brand-new adventure with every new day.
Trucking is influenced by everything from the weather to traffic patterns to roadside inspections. Most of what they encounter on any given day is unpredictable as well. That means drivers have to be adaptable. They have to be willing to take life as it comes without getting upset whenever they have to deviate from their plans.
A trucking career will be whatever the driver makes it. It is very possible to enjoy a long and rewarding career if a trucker maintains a positive attitude, pays close attention to the details, and willingly adapts to the daily circumstances of trucking life.