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Image: Attitude or Appearance

There is a lot of talk about improving truck drivers’ image. Years ago, truckers were the knights of the road. These days they are considered everything from drug addicts to serial killers. Can that image be improved by truckers just dressing better or showering more or is it going to take an attitude adjustment?

How many times have you gone into a business and found a well dressed person who had the attitude of a rabid dog? You cower, perhaps a bit, and dread ever having to see that person again. Now think of that shipping or receiving clerk who has to deal daily with several drivers with that same attitude. It would appear then, that attitude is the way to change truckers’ image. But is it the only thing? It depends on the situation.

First impressions count within the general public, most of whom have a preset bad idea about truckers. How a trucker appears might be what they look for. If a driver has matted hair, is not only dirty from the job, but wears torn, filthy clothing or shows more than what they should of their bodies, this will intensify the bad idea already present in someone’s mind about truckers.

Most people who work around truckers understand that trucking is a dirty job. A driver can start out their day clean and neat, but by the middle of their day, they might have had to deal with fingerprinting a load off the trailer, deal with a breakdown, or work outside in mud. This does not mean that a driver shouldn’t comb their hair before entering a facility, or take some baby wipes and clean one’s hands. The driver should go into a facility with a good attitude, leave their problems at the door, and be pleasant to those they meet inside. It does not take much to use some good manners, give a smile, or be patient.

Of course, for some this is a hard task … those with the wrong idea about truckers from the start. One woman thinking about becoming a trucker said “I can spit, cuss, scratch, and be a real biddy, so I should make a good trucker!” Wrong attitude from the start.

As far as interacting around the general public where first impressions count, again, it takes but a second to comb one’s hair, use a lower voice, leave out the blatant cursing, straighten one’s clothing, use some baby wipes and deodorant, and make sure to remember some manners and courtesy. One does not have to wear a tux or a prom dress when going in a store to shop, but at least put on some clean clothes if possible.

Attitude trumps appearance, but appearance is important too. It is always nice for a trucker to go into a facility the second time and find a smile from someone who knows they will be treated with respect, rather than a rabid dog attitude. Can the image of truckers be polished back to what it once was, probably not. But with a good attitude, it sure can be improved.

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