I was tooling down the road the other day when I saw a sign that disturbed me. No, I’m used to the plethora of billboards for all the smut businesses. The sign that I saw was at a truck driving school. On one of the trailers, in enormous letters, were the words, “Live The Dream.” Now how cool is that? How do they know if you would like trucking or not?[box]Listen to the audio version above and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
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The only industry I can recall that can even hold a candle to the trucking industry is the U.S. Military. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover of the military. Without those folks, all the cry-baby anti-war freaks wouldn’t have the right to protest against the very people who provide those freedoms. Ironic, isn’t it? Still, the armed forces have been touting the “Live the dream” mantra for as long as I can remember. The TV commercials talk about the excitement of “seeing the world,” all the while forgetting to mention the fact that one day you just might end up as target practice for an American-hating sniper.
Trucking is much the same, only it’s doubtful that you’ll ever have a .50 caliber bullet coming at your forehead. Let’s hope not anyway. Anyone with an interest in recruiting new truck drivers into the industry has a reason to glamorize the trucking world. The fact is, many people turn to trucking because they think they will be free to explore the whole country, all while getting paid! Well, there’s truth to that… and there’s not.
It’s true that you can see a lot of territory. The false part of that belief comes from the fact that most of those views will be through a windshield. And that’s only if you can see through the 6 million bugs that you took out the night before. Besides, most loads don’t allow much extra time to deliver your load. Also, the Grand Canyon isn’t exactly on the beaten path and your company likely won’t be very happy with you burning their fuel to go out of route with one of their customers freight in tow. Furthermore, many of the places you will want to see (such as the Hoover Dam) are restricted to trucks. So it’s not exactly convenient.
On the other hand, as I said before, there is some truth to it. But you’re going to have to plan for it. For instance, some companies will let you take your “home time” anywhere you like. Of course, you must understand that what they really mean is that “you can take your home time anywhere you wish, as long as we have a load going there when you need to be there.” So you can see that it’s not quite like having a travel agent at your beckon call. What I’m saying is that it really pays to be flexible with your off-duty time if you plan on using your truck as your sightseeing vessel.
As for “Living the dream,” well the “see the world” aspect of it is only part of it. Some wind up hating the trucking lifestyle. Some wouldn’t trade it for a date with Cameron Diaz. Well, maybe I won’t go that far. But you get my drift. My point is that you need to find out as much about the trucking industry as you can BEFORE you actually jump in with both feet, because ultimately no one can tell you if you will like it or not. No one but you, that is.