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Nov 12, 2010

Objection! I object! That was... objectionable!

Taco Defender

My mom spent several years as a trucker, and I can second basically everything Kyoon said, especially:


Do not work for Swift. [...]There is some sponsored CDL training and especially with the driver's shortage this is probably a path worth exploring as it is becoming more common.
Absolutely do not work for Swift. Also do not do sponsored truck driver training via Swift. If you do sponsored CDL training, make sure it's with a company you'll want to stick with at least long enough to get through the 'if you leave you have to pay us back' period.

Other than that:
-You will eat like poo poo. Truck-accessible eateries are generally unhealthy. You can eat less like poo poo if you bring some healthier food to keep with you, but truck driving is not conductive to a good diet.
-This may sound like a stupid question, but: Do you like driving? Do you like driving for hours on end? Every day? On highways that generally have nothing interesting to look at? My mom's spent basically her entire life driving various things for a living, so she was fine with all that. Many people would not be. A truck-level CDL may not be the best pursuit if you don't think you could handle it.
-How well do you handle idiots on the road? How good are you at paying attention to surrounding drivers and predicting their idiot moves? You'd think being in a giant, heavy, slow-to-accelerate and slow-to-brake chunk of metal would make people drive more cautiously around you. You are wrong.
-Local/regional trucking pays less than long haul. The tradeoff is that you actually get to see your house more than once a month. Probably worth it unless you have serious financial problems.
-Pretend I copy pasted Kyoon's paragraph about the stream of bullshit you'll be dealing with from your employer. Just go back and re-read it a couple times. Trucking companies love loving over their drivers.
-You mentioned a husband, so I have to ask: Are you a woman? There's a lot of sexism in the trucking industry, and that's part of why my mom eventually left.

Elephanthead posted:

If you want the absolute cheapest CDL, get a job driving a school bus, they will get you one for free. Things are slow right now so good jobs are harder to get then last summer but they are still out there. You can always actually drive the school bus until you get one if you have too.
On this note, my mom has also done a lot of school bus driving. Be aware that a lot of school bus contractors are utter poo poo to their drivers, the pay isn't great(and the nature of school bus driving means you're basically stuck as part-time unless you pick up a lot of extra trips, such as field trips and non-school groups chartering a bus to go somewhere), and the schedule is pretty weird to coordinate a life around unless you have a kid in school. Also, if Durham has a presence near you, avoid them like hell. They don't maintain their buses worth a poo poo and are even worse to their drivers than most companies.

If you go the bus route other options include shuttle bus(pros: don't have to deal with screaming kids or lovely parents, less weird work schedule. cons: not sure how many shuttle bus jobs will pay for CDL training) and city bus(probably not the most realistic job option in most of Florida).


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