Trucking – Weighing the Good and the Bad

From the outside, trucking can look like a great career option for many. It is, after all, one of the few careers that offer a reasonable salary without requiring a lot of expensive education. Signs posted on the back of trucks advertise what many consider quite lucrative hourly wages. And all those signs imply that there are many positions open. No one could blame a casual driver heading down the road to a minimum wage job for considering switching to the trucking industry.

And no one should try to stop them. Trucking can be as lucrative and as positive a career as those dreamers think, but a few negatives should be highlighted just so anyone going into the job is realistic about the prospect of becoming a trucker.

First, the hours are long and lonely. Being on the road can be great for a few days, but it isn’t quite so charming after weeks of endless road spent alone. On top of that, the deadlines are tough, which means there’s no time to stop and enjoy yourself while you’ve got a load. You’re on the clock, and you’re expected to make deliveries on time across the country regardless of the traffic or weather you face along the way.

Second, while the money can be good, it isn’t always consistent. At the best of times, there’s no end to the work on offer, but with even the slightest contraction in the economy, that can slow things down for truckers. Just two years ago, the Huffington Post reported that trucking was struggling. Of course, in that instance, it was too much freight and not enough drivers, but it can easily be the reverse.

When there isn’t enough freight for the drivers, drivers start struggling. Since drivers are only paid after a load is delivered, in tougher times, they often have to consider things like advances from factoring companies. These companies can be helpful in a pinch, but it speaks to the deep financial instability that can come during difficult economic periods for truckers.

Finally, the job is, ultimately, relatively dangerous. It is not the most dangerous profession in America by a long stretch, but it is among them. Truckers driving long hours can end up fatigued and start driving less carefully. This can lead to accidents. As can the need to drive through all sorts of weather to reach deadlines. Finally, simply being on the road for so many hours increases the risk of serious accident.

All of these points can be true and still, trucking can be a great industry for many people. The money is good, and if the work suits you, you should consider taking it up. Trucking offers far better long-term prospects for many people than working in the service industry around town. Drivers start out at the wages that a general manager in restaurants and shops command. And there’s always room to improve.

Simply consider the good with the bad when you make your decision. And then, the best of luck to you.

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