A colleague at the home, farm and auto supply store is itching to get on the road.
Last year he drove for a local asphalt company making pretty good dough. When the seasonal job wound down he returned to retail.
“I can’t do this for ten years,” he said, referring to both his age and the retail work he had undertaken.
He asked my advice about working for a large truckload common carrier driving over the road. I told him it’s a hard life.
Because of his type of driving experience, the firm to which he had applied required he attend a company-approved truck driving school for two weeks. It’s been 20 years since I recruited men and women for that type of school to work program but I provided advice nonetheless.
There will be an agreement. Make sure to read it before signing, I said. During my tenure in driver recruiting, attending a company driving school before employment was not free. Typically the written contract is for a period of employment, up to a year, after which liability to repay the schooling was forgiven. If one quits, for any reason before the term is up, the former employee would be responsible to repay the entire amount. Back in my day it was $5,000 although that likely changed since then. Creditors will dog debtors relentlessly, so the agreement is not to be taken lightly.
Second, do you really want to be gone from home for three weeks at a time? Driving is tedious, sedentary work for van drivers with hours to think about things. There is more physicality in being a flatbed driver, with tarping, chaining and strapping loads, but at a certain age who wants that? Time off changes forever for over the road truck drivers. That’s its nature and it is uncompromising. Most good drivers have a compliant social style, so being assertive doesn’t come naturally, especially with their dispatcher. They sometimes fail to realize that in addition to doing a good job as a driver, one has to be assertive to get time off. I don’t know what my work buddy will decide but I wish him well.
During winter we’re all itching to do something. A few weeks of isolation during bitter cold spells is welcome. There comes a point when we’re ready to do something else, something less confining. It’s cold for now but the economy of spring has already begun to ramp up with garden seeds and fertilizer finding their way to retail outlets. There is a yearning to break loose the limits of four walls and reach for our potential. It begins mid-winter and makes us restless. Making good decisions rolls up into the wintry mix of unrealized ambitions and present challenges. Friends make it easier to sustain our lives in this turbulent weather.