Recently I finished reading an article in the New York Times about the Doom & Gloom of a truck driving career.
The article spoke about the lack of recognition for truck drivers. One driver compared us to a police officer that no one wants around, but everyone needs around. As I read sad story after sad story, I reflected on my career so far in the trucking industry. Sure, there were ups and downs, but I found that this career is what you make of it. I also began to reflect upon friends of mine in the industry, and how they have all done as well. These thoughts led me to this - trucking is really what you make of it. If you lie down and let yourself become a victim, you will end up being a victim.
As for the lack of recognition the article spoke of, I thought long and hard and came to this conclusion; if we are doing our job correctly, our contribution should not be noticed. There are millions of other people that work as janitors, trash collectors, receptionists, fuel desk clerks, etc. If they are doing their job correctly they are not noticed. Even surgeons do not get recognized for each surgery that is performed successfully. Maybe if they find a medical breakthrough, but, in most cases, the general public will never know about it.
In our case, much like the surgeon, the majority of the time we get noticed is when something goes wrong. We ply our trade on public highways where we take up a lot of space on the road. And much like the surgeon, when things go wrong, death or injury could be the result. This is why I always say we should be doing everything we can to not be noticed on the highway. It is tempting to use our size to be a bully in traffic. This is something I truly recognize when I am driving an automobile. When a semi-truck is tailgating me, it is very intimidating when I do not have a 53’ trailer between my vehicle and the large grill of the semi-truck trying to persuade me to progress more quickly than conditions will allow.
We also forget that when driving in places such as Washington DC, all of the lawmakers, their aides, lobbyists, and government agencies are all using the same highway as ourselves. We are not invisible, and they can see everything we are doing, correctly or incorrectly, while going down the highway. Once again, this is a good reason to not drive in a fashion which draws attention to ourselves or the industry we are representing at that moment.
In the end, the goal of our day should be to get our job done, safely, effectively, and profitable, while drawing as little attention to ourselves as possible.