Most truck drivers make their career their life. They eat, sleep, and breathe every road, highway, and interstate of this vast and diverse country. They can tell you what sunrise looks like in Phoenix, and tell you what sunset looks like in Miami. From the view through a windshield, the country looks much different. Drivers see only passing glimpses of their surroundings. They leave just as quickly as they came, unnoticed to the everyday lives of those arround them.
My job is to educate, empower, and help to employ any driver that I can. While still new to trucking, I have dedicated much of my free time to learning more about the industry, and to finding anything I feel would be of aid. It is in such a regard that I write this month's article not on the material success of a driving career, but rather on how drivers can choose to function while participating in a driving career.
Now, I'm not talking manners or etiquette, or suggesting finishing school. What I want each driver to consider, however, is the steps they can make to take an active role in the functionality of the industry. Once upon a time truckers stuck together through good and bad times, and there was more to the industry then insurance rates and mountains of frustration.
I'm here to say that once upon a time can be now. By getting involved in your industry, you stop becoming a victim of circumstance, and start becoming the ebb and flow of business. You become equipped to handle more, and to make more – simly by giving more.
Getting involved in a not-for-profit organization like Trucker Buddy can not only make a positive impact on some very excited grade schoolers, but leave the trucker buddy driver with a sense of purpose, honor, and empowerment. Trucker Buddy takes regular drivers with a valid CDL and turns them into pen pals and teacher aids. Simply by writing a letter each week, a trucker buddy can educate his classroom on a wealth of topics about our country, about the trucking industry, and about life itself. Students not only gain an appreciation for the industry, but learn valuable facts about trucks that help make roads safer when the young generation starts driving.
Becoming a part of an association like the Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association (OOIDA) is a good way to stay educated and informed about the industry. As they say on their website, “Be a part of the solution!” The OOIDA dedicates themselves to getting involved in every issue that has anything to do with trucking (both good and bad). They testify at major court hearings, take an active role in legislative activities on both the state and federal level, and participate in conferences and organizations pertaining to the industry.
Taking a part in some of the numberous charitable events
throughout the industry held each year, such as the Tennesee
Trucking Association's “Big Rigs for Little Kids Golf Tournaments”,
not only gives you the chance to meet other drivers and industry
partners, but gives you the chance to donate your time to a great
cause! For some of these events, simply showing up is enough to
make a difference, so be sure to ask the trucking association in
your area about upcoming activities.
If you still want to get involved, but can't seem to find your niche – make your own! The industry needs a few movers and shakers to get the ball rolling sometimes, so it might as well be you. Get some friends together and start a Bible Study, a movie club, anything you want! It's your industry, so claim it!
For more information on the Trucker Buddy organization, you can call 800-MY-BUDDY, or go online to www.truckerbuddy.org. For more information on the OOIDA you can call 800-444-5791 or go online to www.ooida.com. To find the trucking association in your area, go online to www.everytruckjob.com and click on “trucking associations”.