Your first year in trucking is kind of a big deal.
Think of your trucking career as the 162 game baseball season. The first 30 games or so might not seem important in the grand scheme of everything, but they’re crucial and will set the tone for the rest of your career.
A bad first year might make you a victim of trucking’s biggest problem: the alarmingly high turnover rate (that we’ve talked about quite a bit on this blog).
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of what you can expect in your first year in the trucking industry and how you can make sure that you come back for a second.
The Rookie Year Is a Grind
Your first year in the industry is also going to probably be the year where you are the hungriest to work. Take advantage of this and do your best to get as much driving experience as possible.
Not only will driving a lot give you more income, but it will also help you get accumulated to professionally driving a giant vehicle over great distances. This is an under-discussed part of the first year of driving.
During that first year, you’re also going to want to keep your personal expenses low. Unfortunately, beginner truck drivers just don’t make as much as experienced drivers. Some companies offer great starting pay, but it always pays more to have more experience.
The faster you accept this, the more money you’ll be able to save by keeping your expenses low.
Drive Safe as Heck
Of course, safe driving is always a must for any and all truck drivers, but an accident during your first year will absolutely wreck your career.
It’s difficult enough to become a great trucker, it’s really difficult to become a trucker after you’ve been in an accident or been pulled over in your first few months on the job.
Especially when you’re driving in new places or at night, it’s important to slow down, drive safe, and pay close attention to any and all road conditions. Rookie mistakes are very real — do your best to not make them.
Self-Care Is Part of Your Job
Sometimes, truckers quit because they’re thrust into bad situations and have employers who don’t care about their wellbeing.
But other times, truckers quit because they don’t take care of themselves and they burn out.
Self-care is an all-encompassing part of the job, and if you want to last in this industry, it can’t be neglected. Eat healthily, get enough sleep, and stay in close contact with your friends and family — especially when you’re on the road.
It’s easy to get excited by and romanticize the road in your early days, but make sure you stay focused on the important things in life. Your job is just part of your life, and if you’re neglecting other parts of your life, your work performance will eventually suffer.
Become a Patient Monk on the Road
Road rage is the bane of all of us. Truckers and civilians alike. As a trucker, you are one of the most physically powerful beings on the road. You’re big, and you have a lot of force behind you.
That’s why it’s extra important to slow down and chill out.
Having the ability to just let things go is so important to building a lasting career.
In the same way that you let things go on the road, you also can’t let work-related problems get to you. This means being able to relax and handle delays, breakdowns, or anything else that goes wrong.
Relax and enjoy the ride. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Your first year of trucking is going to be a wild, difficult ride. Things will go wrong, things will go right. There will be highs, lows, and days that fly by so fast that you can’t tell if they’re good or bad. This is all normal.
The most important thing to remember is this: your first year of trucking is probably also going to be your most difficult year of trucking. Every challenge you face is going to be new. It’s how you respond to these challenges that is going to make or break your career in this industry.