After driving a truck for a living for more than 27 years, I have always been amazed by people’s response when I would tell them what I did for a living.
I hardly ever got the comment, “Wow, how do you manage to get around in that big thing?” Or, “How do you stay awake driving all of those miles?” No one ever asked how I know where to find the address for the place I’m looking for in a small town, or what is it like driving a truck in a blizzard.
No one wanted to know how I was treated by dock workers. Dock workers who, mind you, didn’t like their job, and decided to do what they could to make me not like mine either. No one ever asked what it was like to be cut off by a car with kids in the back seat while the driver of that said vehicle proceeds to give you the “bird” for being in his or her way.
No, the comment I usually got was “You drive a truck for a living? What an easy job!”
For some reason, people seem to think that driving a truck is just sitting on your behind (they don’t know about the comfy seat), and simply riding up and down the highway, all the while getting paid for it. They figured it must be like being on vacation each and every day. They thought that if I was taking a load to Las Vegas, Orlando, or Seattle that I must be there to sight see and try out the local restaurants.
They have no idea that the load wasn’t ready when I went to pick it up on the south side of Chicago, and that after waiting almost two hours (for free) there isn’t a moment to spare if I’m going to make delivery anywhere close to the scheduled time.
Oh yeah, and most of the 600 miles that lay between pickup and delivery are going to be in the dark. Well, except for all those oncoming headlights or lightning flashes from the 100-mile wide thunderstorm.
“Any idiot can drive a truck”. Or so I was told on more than one occasion. I lost count how many times I heard that same sentiment actually.
Unfortunately, for many years I would repeat that line thinking it was funny. That is until I said it to someone in front of my wife, Avis. She was quick to step in and say “You know that’s not true, any idiot CANNOT drive a truck”. (At that point I wasn’t sure where she was going with this).
She said being a truck driver was a calling. To do a job that has you away from your family days or even weeks at a time, and having to explain to your kids why you won’t be at their Christmas play is not an easy thing to do.
Being able to find a spot on a map hundreds or even thousands of miles away when the only GPS you have is the one in your head is not an easy thing to do.
Staying safe in something that weighs as much as a house when the people around you think you can stop on a dime is not an easy thing to do.
No. It’s not an easy thing to do at all.
I always enjoyed driving for a living, but I honestly didn’t start taking pride in it until after Avis started pointing out a few things about the job I had overlooked.
It is a job. It is a hard job. It is a job that in truth, very few people can do. It is a job that I was proud to have done. It is a job that you should be proud to be doing. I know your family is proud of what you do even if others have told you that “You have the easiest job in the world.”