Are you starting a job with a new trucking company? If so, congratulations!
A new trucking job can transform your life. It promises a steady income, and you get to see the country from a different perspective. If you recently started a new trucking job, here are a few pointers to seize the day and make the most out of this life change.
Accept the Routes You Are Asked to Drive
Senior or experienced drivers tend to get their preferred routes. As a new company driver, you might not be thrilled with the routes you are offered. However, accept what you can. New drivers cannot be overly selective. Once you have proven your reliability and your work ethic, you get more of a say in your assigned routes.
Stay in Touch with Folks Back Home
If your new trucking job has you away from home for days or weeks at a time, it's critical to maintain connections with your loved ones. Here are some ideas to stay connected while away, as well as ideas to take advantage of your home time:
- Read a bedtime story to your children every night via phone or video chat.
- Start a family book/movie club (everyone reads the same book or watches the same movie).
- Email pictures of attractions, sunsets and other cool things you see on the road.
- Mail the occasional postcard to your loved ones.
- Make concrete plans with your loved ones for when you are home
Make "Me" Time One of Your Priorities When Home
No doubt, you want to spend time with your loved ones when you're home. Participate in family life as needed, but prioritize "me" time, too. Hike, fish, repair cars, whatever your hobbies are, make sure to save time for those activities.
Set Health Goals
Trucking is a sedentary job infamous for its connections with back pain, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart attacks and even skin cancer. Take precautions and set goals to minimize these health risks. As for your overall health, keep these general principles in mind from day one:
- Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can instead of unhealthy sides such as fries and potato chips.
- Keep healthful foods in a mini-fridge because they can be hard to find on the road.
- Drink plenty of water and minimize your intake of sugary sodas and caffeine.
- Take vitamin C and a multivitamin every day.
- Listen to audiobooks and podcasts to stay entertained and avoid using junk food for stimulation.
Another idea is to join online health and fitness forums to connect with other truckers. You and a trucker buddy could keep each other on track.
Be Punctual and Look Professional
One great thing about trucking is that it's not an office job that requires a suit, tie or skirt. Still, look professional in that your clothes are clean and do not have holes. Show up on time every day.
Cultivate Relationships with Dispatchers and Other Drivers
Dispatchers are arguably your most important relationship in any new trucking job. Ask your dispatchers about things such as:
- What they want to see from truckers and what they wish truckers knew
- How you can make their lives easier
- What they don't like about truckers
Dispatchers have the power to make your job a much smoother ride. Get on their good side, and your income potential rises.
Your fellow drivers are another important resource. Ask them for tips on connecting with company managers and leaders. What "inside" information will make your job easier? Also, chat with the personnel in safety. Find out about the company's safety policies ahead of time so you don't accidentally do something wrong. Above all, communicate with anyone you need to. It's easy to feel shy and hesitant at a new job, but people are happy to help if you ask for it.
Stick with the Company's Way of Doing Things
If this isn’t your first trucking job, your previous employer may have handled tasks such as scheduling, dispatching and logging differently. Their way could seem more efficient than what the current company does. That's frustrating, but the leadership is unlikely to give any weight to a new driver's suggestions. Also, there may be good reasons why the company does things the way it does. Give these different procedures a chance. If you still don't like them, you can discuss them from a position of more seniority.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
In case you haven’t noticed, communicating with your new trucking company is vital. From the safety department to the dispatchers to the company’s managers and owners, communication can help you start as smoothly as possible. Ask questions, introduce yourself to as many people as possible, and make sure everything between you and your new company is completely clear. This groundwork will help you understand their expectations and set the stage for you to have best trucking job possible for many years to come.
Following these tips will help your transition into the trucking industry go smoothly. As you gain experience, we hope that you find a life long home with the trucking company you have chosen. However, if you find yourself in a position to make a job change, you may take comfort to know that there are always quality trucking companies hiring professional CDL drivers.