Joined: Oct 23, 2007
mem#10171-D Ben Gay is my best friend these days
Posted: Oct 23, 2007 05:08 AM
Msg. 1 of 1
So You Want To Drive Truck for a Living
Copyright Sandy Long ‘05
In today's trucking world, women are making up more of the driving population than ever before. With divorce putting more women in need of providing for their children, women choosing career over family and with the over inflated advertisements of trucking schools that tout big, easily attained first year earnings, women are thinking of truck driving over more traditional careers.
In my role of owner of a trucking group, I have been mentoring women who are considering trucking as a career choice. I am finding that many women have no idea of what the trucking industry is other than what little they read on message boards and see on the TV/movie screens.
Recently I spoke with a lady who said "I have wanted to be a trucker since I saw Convoy...I want to fight the law and win". Another said, "I just loved Jerry Reed in Smoky and the Bandit...I want to drive truck like him so I can have someone like Burt Reynolds run interference for me". My personal favorite reason I've heard for wanting to be a driver was: "I have been talking to a trucker in a chat room and he said I wouldn't have to work very hard and I could party all I wanted, whenever I wanted and still make $50k a year!"
When I take on someone to mentor, I ask 3 major questions first:
1. Why do you want to drive truck
2. How many children do you have and how old are they
3. What is your marital status and does your husband/significant other agree with your
If the lady has unattainable or fantasy expectations from driving truck, I try to educate her as to what the job entails, the salary she can expect the first year, how often she will probably get home and the way trucking really is.
The job entails working 14 hour days, physical and mental stamina, mathematical and public relation skills and the ability to stay away from home for extended periods, to name a few.
Realistically, the first year, one will make between $25-30,000 depending on the company and when in the year you start.
Many women think that they will be able to get a local job straight out of school so they can be home every night. Few companies will hire someone for local work without some experience. The first 6 months to one year, one can expect to get home every two to four weeks.
If the lady has children still at home, I ask her who they will stay with while she is gone and if she agrees that they do not need her to be around very often. One lady had 5 children under the age of eight and thought that she would be able to take them on the truck with her full time to raise and home school!
It is tough being married/in a relationship with one of the partners on the road all of the time. I have a lot of respect for women who are married to truckers and stay home but I have found that most men do not want their wives/girlfriends gone for extended times. So I always advise women if they are in a relationship to discuss trucking thoroughly with their partners. Make sure that one's partner understands what the job entails and if they don't want you to be gone a lot, perhaps see if they want to become a driver also so you can run team. If they do not agree, rethink your choice. No career is worth ruining a good relationship.
Truck driving is one of the most equal opportunity industries around for women with no glass ceiling stopping a woman from reaching top pay the same as a man of similar qualifications and experience. A woman out of school will start at the same rate of pay as a male and advance proportionately as she gains experience, skill and miles. Therefore, it is a good career choice for women, but make sure you understand everything about trucking that you can find out before making your decision. Talk to as many current and former drivers that you can find, don't just listen to one.
If you decide to pursue a career as a trucker, then start with the basics. Find a school near you that treats you with respect, get your financing arranged, study the basics first and worry about unnecessary endorsements later when you find out what company you will be starting with and what they require, don't be afraid to ask questions or for extra help if you need it and finally don't give up...keep trying even if it seems you will never pass that test or hit that dock, you will succeed if you really want to.
Trucking can provide a good living and a rewarding career for lady drivers, it has for me. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile in life is.