Living Life One Mile at a Time – A Trucker’s Lifestyle
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Peterbilt 279 - The first big rig I droveIf you were looking for a job, and this is what the description was, would you apply?

Job Requirements:

  • Must be available a minimum of 70 hours per week, at any time of day or night.

  • If circumstances beyond our control occur, you may need to remain at your desk an additional 24-48 hours.

  • Your compensation will be between 24 and 38 cents per minute, but only for those minutes that you are in motion. You will not be paid for minutes when you are sitting, on break, or performing certain functions for the company. You will also not be compensated for any time spent sleeping or eating, regardless of whether you’re still completing your duties, are in the office, or if you’ve worked longer than 70 hours for the week.

  • All time away from the office, including holidays, kids’ activities, deaths or illnesses must be approved for and arranged with your supervisor. We will do our best to accommodate your request. If there are work assignments that have not been completed, they will take priority over your request. If that happens, we will make every attempt to allow you time off for future events or emergencies.

  • Each employee must bring all clothing and personal necessities that they require for 4-6 weeks and keep it at their workspace.

  • The company will provide a storage space approximately 2’X2’X5′ for the employee to store their personal items. Employees should be aware that this space is subject to inspection by company or government personnel at any time.

  • Employees will be given a 72″ x 48″ mattress sleep on. Employees must provide their own bedding. The sleep environment will be very noisy and there will be several interruptions of sleep every night.

  • A public restroom will be provided for use outside the building and will also be used by all townspeople and transients.

  • Bathing facilities and towels may or may not be provided. If provided, a fee will be charged for these services.

  • Employees must bring their own food or eat at a fast food restaurant.

  • Bathing, washing clothes, sleeping, using restrooms etc. during the 4-6 weeks, will be allowed only when the workload permits.

  • Employees will be allowed 34 hours off duty each week.

  • During off-duty hours, employees will be allowed to participate in any activity they choose, while still being held responsible for their workstation. All off-duty hours must be reported to your Supervisor upon your return.

  • As an employee, you will periodically be expected to allow persons you don’t know, to come by your desk and scream at you. You must not respond in any way other than to say “yes, sir/ma’am”.

  • Employees must maintain a record of how they spend each minute of their day. These records will be submitted to the company and audited by company and/or government personnel.

  • The amount of time you will be given to complete your work will be strictly regulated.

  • Employees will be given more work than they can complete in the allotted time. Your records must be adjusted to show that you completed the work in the time allotted. Any violations of these regulations will result in a heavy fine, reprimand or termination.

  • Employees will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

  • You may be required to wait several hours to begin work, for no apparent reason. During these periods, you must remain at your workspace. You may or may not be able to use the phone or the restroom during that time. You may not sleep or expect paid compensation for this time.

  • You will only be allowed to move when we say, where we say, how we say, at what speed we say, by what route we say, in the desk chair that we say, and must contact us at the particular hour we say regardless of your need for rest, accomplishing your job task, or anything else you can possibly think of!

  • Employees are expected to maintain a positive attitude and be cheerful, respectful and deferential in their dealings with management, other employees, customers and the general public. However, you should not expect to be treated, listened to or compensated similarly.
  • So, What Do You Think… Want the Job?

    Most people, if told this is what a job entails from the get-go, wouldn’t apply for it. It’s certainly doesn’t describe the type of ideal job most people are looking for.

    But these are the rules and restrictions that are placed upon professional truck drivers every single day. Sacrifices are made. Weeks and months are spent away from friends and family. They patiently (well, at least MOST of the time) deal with unpaid waiting time while trucks are being loaded or unloaded. They deal with traffic and vehicles being driven into their path by motorists who are unaware of how difficult it is for a truck to suddenly slow down or stop. They spend unpaid time on the side of the road waiting for road repair… and a whole lot more.

    The worst part of being a professional truck driver, is having to miss birthdays, holidays, weddings, even funerals… those once in a lifetime events… so that others can enjoy having material things at their fingertips.

    Being a commercial truck driver has always been a profession of huge responsibility, yet the stigmas associated with driving a truck have remained. But even as the general public looks down at people they call “truckers”, the responsibilities that they’ve been given, along with the consequences, have continued to grow.

    Professional drivers can’t take classes to remove tickets from their driving record. They get points that go against their driving records, regardless of whether it’s an offense done at work OR in their personal vehicle. And while you may not like the laws that require you to pull over or use an ear piece to talk on your mobile phone while driving, try a $2,700 ticket for not following THAT rule!!

    So Why Would I Become a Professional Driver?

    First of all, no one was nice enough to hand me this job description, otherwise I might never have done it!!

    But we do things based on the desires and knowledge we have at the time. And at the time, it seemed like a good idea!

    When I was a teen, I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a truck driver. But that was never gonna happen unless I was ready to go up against mom!

    There would be NO truck drivers in our house. My brother and I were headed to college, no ifs, ands or buts!

    So, back towards the end of 2006, the online business I’d started was starting to grow. I figured it would be a good time to “play trucker”, and I was naive enough at the time to think I could keep building my business and drive a truck at the same time.

    I didn’t know enough about what it would take to grow an online blog OR what an actual trucking job entailed. I sure found out fast once I tried to do both!

    There was so much involved in handling the trucking job that it didn’t leave much time to blog. I’d never worked a job that was so exhausting in my life… and I spent MANY years working two and three jobs at a time!!

    Don’t get me wrong. I loved driving a truck for the first couple of years. And I still love to drive because I love driving big trucks. but the lifestyle is something I’ve had enough of. I’m ready to put an end to my trucking career.

    Sleeping on parking lots. Showering and doing laundry at truck stops. Having what little sleep time is available disturbed by shippers, receivers, and dispatchers. Only getting to eat warm meals at truck stops because they’re the only places with parking lots big enough to park a commercial truck. And working 14-16 hour days regularly.

    But one of the worst things for me, given that I’ve always had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom… having to get dressed and go inside a truck stop to use the bathroom in the middle of my “nights”… go ahead, try to get back to sleep after getting dressed, walking across a parking lot, spending time inside a well-lit place of business, walking BACK across a parking lot, and getting undressed! Yeah, that’s fun!

    You Get Paid to Tour the Country!

    Loading Docks - Not exactly on the top of a tourist listPeople always thought it was really cool… saying how nice it must be to get paid to see the country. The “country” you get to see as a truck driver consists of open highways (the best part), industrial areas, shipping docks, back alleys, and truck stop parking lots (with the occasional Wal-Mart, Costco, and Home Depot lots thrown in!).

    Tourist locations aren’t exactly truck friendly. Hell, entire states make it difficult to find a place to park for longer than a few minutes, even knowing that we’re legally required to park and “rest” for 10 hours of every 24!

    Truck Drivers Make Sacrifices People Don’t Know About

    Yes, it’s a choice they made. They chose to drive a truck for a living.

    Some do it because they have no other skills to fall back on and need to earn more than minimum wage jobs offer so they can support their families.

    Some do it because they’ve lost the people they love most and this is how they avoid the memories at home.

    Some do it because they’re not “people” people, and being out on the road ensures they have a limited number of people to deal with on a regular basis.

    And some do it because it’s all they’ve ever known. Their grandfathers and fathers drove so it’s “in their blood”.

    Regardless of the reasons they chose to get behind the wheel of a big rig, they don’t get to know their neighbors or have barbeques on the weekends, they miss holidays, funerals, weddings, births, their childrens’ birthdays, and more.

    They get blamed for most accidents, regardless of whether they caused them, even though so very many of them are started or caused by a 4-wheeler in a hurry who doesn’t think the maneuvers they’re making will cause any issues.

    And here’s the thing. When you work a NON-driving job and get fired for doing something wrong at your job, you simply go find another job. When a truck driver gets fired for doing something wrong, it becomes incredibly difficult to find employment because all the other trucking companies have a record of exactly what happened (or at least what the Supervisor at the last job SAYS happened).

    Speeding tickets, parking tickets, inspections where there’s something wrong with the truck (that they don’t even own), accidents they’re involved in, even if indirectly, can cost them a truck driver their career… and the only way many of them have to feed their families.

    And people need to know this!! Instead of being angry that big rigs are in their way on the road or slow them down for a couple minutes on their way to a job they hate, maybe they can remember:

    Without people willing to make the types of sacrifices that professional drivers make, others have no way of having the things they take for granted in their everyday lives!!

    Have you ever taken a job that you thought would be really interesting, only to find out after the fact that it wasn’t what you thought it would be? What did you do then? Let me know in the comments! (Yes, it’s selfish… it’ll let me know I’m not alone in making the occasional bad decisions!) 🙂

    Take care,
    Debi aka @GenXBrat

    p.s. Be sure to subscribe for updates and to join in on the conversations! The more, the merrier!

    I'm a passionate, down-to-earth gal who spends as much time as possible making fun of myself and the world around me. I'm a big kid with a lot of thoughts that I don't mind sharing AND, I love to teach. Anything. Everything. As long as it's fun.

    Warning: I was raised in a VERY sarcastic household so my sense of humor always leans that way. :)

    But if I can make you think, make you laugh, or give you a moment to pause... life is good!:D

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