Trucking is one of the most significant industries in the United States of America, with the tireless efforts of the many truckers out there helping to support over 80% of the country’s communities and keep freight of all kinds flowing from one place to the other.
It’s also very hard work, as many new truckers quickly find out in their first year on the job. It’s a dangerous occupation – ranked as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country – and it’s also a very challenging one, with truckers commonly struggling with both physical and mental exhaustion.
Many seasoned truckers agree that the first year is the hardest of all, as even with plenty of training and preparation, lots of new truckers simply aren’t quite ready for the realities of the industry, and many even feel like throwing in the towel and trying another line of work.
However, if you can keep at it and get through that first year, the joys of the job can start to reveal themselves, and the trucking industry is an amazing place to forge friendships, build skills, and grow as a person, so it’s worth the effort. Here are some tips to get you through those initial 12 months.
Get Ready for a Challenge
As stated above, a lot of truckers say that the first year on the job is the hardest one of all. Things might be slightly different for you, but there’s a strong chance that you’ll encounter challenges and difficulties in those early weeks and months. If you accept this fact early on, you’ll be better prepared to face those challenges when they arrive.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be optimistic and hopeful about your new career, but it does mean that you need to be realistic about the situation too. Problems will come, and you’ll need to face them. Try to get yourself in the right frame of mind so that you’re able to face them in the correct way, rather than crumbling under pressure in difficult moments.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Many people tend to look at trucking as quite a solitary job, picturing truckers spending hours and hours on their own, in their trucks, driving from place to place without a lot of human contacts. In reality, while it’s true that you’ll spend lots of time alone, you’re always working as part of a bigger team, speaking with dispatchers, negotiating with clients, and so on.
Teamwork is a huge part of the trucking industry, and there are always truckers out there you’ll meet along the way at stops, ports, and pick-up locations who will be happy to talk to you and share the benefits of their experience. Use that experience. Speak with other truckers if you feel in need of some encouragement and ask for help and guidance when you need it.
Work Your Way Up
Whenever you start a new job, it’s tempting to think about the future, projecting yourself a few years ahead and wondering how you might be able to work your way up to a better salary, more flexible hours, and easier work. However, in the trucking world, while progress is possible, it won’t come right away, and it won’t come without a lot of hard work either.
When you’re first starting out, you need to accept that you’re going to be dealing with some of the most difficult shifts and journeys. You’re not going to get the prime jobs and best prices right away. It takes time to build up your standing in this industry. So, once again, you need to be ready to work hard, learn as much as possible, and slowly work your way up the career ladder.
Learn and Improve
It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re in, it’s always wise to try and have a growth mindset, focusing on ways you can improve and learn over time, rather than having an attitude of acting like you already know all there is to know or that you couldn’t possibly do any better than you’re already doing.
Learning and improving are major keys to success in the trucking world. In the first year, many truckers have little accidents or make mistakes, like failing to check around their truck every time before pulling out, or not keeping their truck clean and tidy on the inside ahead of inspections. These mistakes might happen to you too, but try to learn from them, rather than reacting with anger or disappointment.
These tips should help you get off to a good start in the trucking world, and don’t forget the importance of looking after yourself too. Eat well, take breaks, and try to de-stress during your downtime to have good mental and physical health.