by Pride Transport | Nov 07, 2023
As a new truck driver, many aspects of the job are something to look forward to. You get to embrace your independence in a workplace that changes from day to day and that encourages you to keep exposing yourself to new technologies and new people. You get the freedom to travel and a chance to see all sorts of different places.
Once you become one of the many truck drivers in the U.S., you’re on the road to exciting opportunities and a career that has immense potential. However, you’ll also face challenges and likely want to work with a mentor or network of fellow truck drivers to help you thrive in this often fast-paced career.
What kinds of challenges will you face, and who should you turn to for support? Here are some things you should keep in mind as you begin your journey.
Facing Challenges Head-On
As a truck driver, you’ll be responsible for facing challenges as they arise. Some common challenges that come up in day-to-day life in this career include:
- Time management issues
- How to maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Work-life balance
There are ways to handle these challenges and have a balanced life in this role.
Time Management Issues
It’s a simple fact that truck drivers have to be on top of their schedules. You have to plan for unexpected situations, such as having trouble finding a place to park or needing to stick to the hours you’re allowed via the Hours of Service regulations.
You also have to plan for breakdowns, delays, and other causes of lost productivity. How?
- Develop good communication skills. Talk to dispatch, other drivers, and mentors if you get into a sticky situation. Doing so will help you find the best opportunity to get back on track.
- Be patient. Getting into a rush can be dangerous on the road, and the reality is that some time-related problems will be out of your hands.
- Plan in advance for delays and slowdowns. Leave early when possible, and make sure you’re taking the most appropriate route to your destination.
By taking these steps, you’ll be in a better position to be on time and have the time you need to get back on schedule if something goes wrong.
How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Another potentially challenging aspect of the job is staying healthy. When you’re on the road, there can be a lack of nutritional options for meals. You’re also at a higher risk of some serious health complications, such as:
- Blood clots
To help you maintain a healthier lifestyle on the road, the first step is to take your breaks as designed. Your 30-minute breaks, for example, give you a chance to get out of your vehicle and walk around, which will help reduce the risk of blood clots. You can even implement an exercise program in that half-hour period to help get your blood pumping.
Your breaks are also the right time to get your meals taken care of, if you haven’t eaten. Consider stopping into a restaurant or grocery store where you can pick up well-rounded meals rather than grabbing fast-food faves.
Work-life balance can be a challenge for some people in the truck industry. However, by doing your best to stay on schedule and keeping to your scheduled hours, you can make it more likely that you’ll be home on time and when you want to be.
Certain roles keep you closer to home, so if that’s something you’re focused on, consider looking into being a company driver rather than an over-the-road driver. While there can still be unpredictability in your schedule, driving for a company can also lead to schedules where you stay local and get home every night.
The Importance of Mentorships and Networking
Networking with other drivers and building your community is a key to success in this industry. Even more importantly, consider seeking out a mentor.
A mentor is a person who has experience in the industry. They may have tips on routes, connections to help you get comfortable with your role, and other guidance so you and your fellow truck drivers can build a community on the road.
Your mentor will:
- Help you set goals
- Help you choose a career path
- Give you industry insights
- Help you develop accountability
- Raise your confidence
The sense of belonging and camaraderie within the trucking community can be the key to a successful career. Taking advantage of a mentorship can help you get your foot in the door and meet many new people with whom you can develop a strong network.
Know that your network can be just as important as your mentorship. Networking allows you to connect with like-minded people in your industry. And, as you focus on your growth within the industry, these are the people who will have your back with new opportunities and help in difficult situations.
Most importantly, though, networking lets you build up strong relationships with people who know what your job is like. By reinforcing your existing network or expanding it as you progress in your career, you’re opening yourself up to friendships, partnerships, and new opportunities that come up along the way. From fostering relationships to having a better chance at niche roles to simply having someone to talk to, there are many reasons to place your focus on networking as soon as possible.
Thriving in the Trucking Industry
With a mentor, strong network, and understanding of how to handle challenges, it’s possible to thrive in the trucking industry. At Pride Trucking, we encourage you to persevere through the initial challenges of starting this new career, because the outcome is worth it. You have an opportunity to make a good living with little to no debt, which can be the perfect way to start your adult life or to make a career change as you get older.
At Pride Transport, we’re excited to see you take on a new challenge in the trucking industry. Ready to get started? Visit our website and take a look at these resources.
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