CAREER Smart

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For many years now, I have found that there’s a great return on investment from dressing professionally for work. This return on investment is much more than a monetary return. I’ve found that there’s an internal benefit. In the past, I shared a commencement speech that was put on by Admiral McRaven called, “If you want to change the world, make your bed”.

The point of this statement is that when you start your day by making the bed, it’s your first completed task. Even if you have a really bad day, you can look forward to ending the day in a nice, well-made, and organized bed. 

For many years, before seeing Admiral McRaven's commencement speech at Austin, Texas, I had started wearing what I referred to as “old school truck driving attire”. The uniform I wear to work on a daily basis consists of an embroidered logo'd button-down oxford shirt and khaki, or blue, work pants.  I wear a tie with this uniform much like the drivers did in the 1940s and 50s. All you have to see is an old Abbott and Costello sitcom to see the truck-driving uniforms of the past.  

Another step that I’ve added is ironing my uniforms after washing them every week. For myself, getting up in the morning and putting on nicely ironed and creased shirts and slacks makes me feel just a little bit better inside. It's a small step that puts me in the right frame of mind for how I’m going to conduct my business that day going forward. What I have found matters the most is the attitude that I feel inside, starting the day and putting my best foot forward.  

Another benefit that I’ve found to ironing, is that it is almost like a form of yoga or meditation. While ironing my uniforms each weekend, it gives me some quiet time to reflect on the previous week, as well as the upcoming week.  

Over the last three weeks I was not feeling a hundred percent. As a result, I was getting my driving done, eating, and going to bed, getting up the next day, and repeating this cycle. A negative situation started to develop from my actions during this time. The inside of the Cascadia we call Celeste started to get dirty, dusty, disorganized and became disarray. A byproduct of this state of clutter within my cab began to have an effect on my mental attitude.  

Finally, I said, “Enough with this disorganization!” While my trailer was getting unloaded and reloaded, there was time to clean and reorganize the inside of the sleeper and cab. The first thing I noticed after completing this task was how much better I felt as I looked out over a dust-free dash, crystal, clear windshield, and meticulously clean floor. Nothing was out of place and everything just seemed a little brighter.  

What I found happens to me, especially when I get too busy or when I’m not feeling well, is that something gets put off until tomorrow. Of course, all the “tomorrows” start to stack up and before I know it, there’s an overwhelming task glooming over me. The best example of this I know for me personally, is the garage at home. If I don't clean up and reorganize after each project, clutter begins to accumulate. It's never much at first, but it builds and builds. As this tower begins to loom over me, I start to become overwhelmed. In my opinion, letting these tasks stack up, can also lead to an overwhelming sense of hopeless depression. For this reason, I’ve found that keeping myself as organized as possible and taking the time to do things, such as making the bed or ironing my clothes, gives me a nice, quiet time to use for planning what tasks need to be completed before the sun sets on that given day.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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