You have chosen a lucrative, exciting, fast-paced career in a growing field as an OTR, or over-the-road, truck driver. Here is what you need to know about your new profession.
Get to know your company
As a new truck driver, one of the most important aspects of your career is the company you choose. Understanding how things work, whom to ask when you need help, and how to get the best loads and most miles depend on your willingness to learn your way around unfamiliar territory.
Learn about the hierarchy in your department. Consider whether or not you eventually want to move up in the company to a new position.
Be on your best behavior
It may seem obvious, but as a new person on the job, everyone you meet has the potential to become your friend and lend a hand when you need help. Be professional, and when in doubt, observe the behavior of others to gauge how to proceed. If you have questions, then never assume the answers. A good company will offer the support you need to succeed.
Give yourself a year to “get it”
Understanding trip planning, trucking regulations, becoming comfortable with distance, and getting through your first few months without any accidents may feel like an overwhelming amount of work. It is normal to feel overwhelmed at some points during your first year on the road . Be patient, keep learning, and ask for help when you need it.
Choose the right company
Before you take the first job that comes along, make sure you have the potential to be happy working for them. Understanding your career goals is crucial as an OTR driver. What are your priorities? Imagine your ideal life five or ten years from now. List the things you need to be happy with your job, and research companies to find which one satisfies, or comes closest to satisfying, those needs.
Avoid job hopping
Over-the-road trucking companies need good drivers, and that is great news for you. You have the chance to make a good living while building a satisfying career. If your goal is to make the most money possible for the work you put in, then it is important to stay with the same company. When you have one short job after another on your resume, you may find it more difficult for the best-paying companies to hire you.
Take care of your mental health
OTR trucking is not a good fit for some people. In this career, you must manage your mental state and stay positive even during long hauls. Pay attention to your mental health, and identify problems early in your career. Figure out ways to deal with stressors like being away from family, feeling bored, and not being able to sleep.
Use technology to make your life easier. Audiobooks, podcasts, and satellite radio are a great way to stay entertained and up-to-date with what is going on in the world. Use video chats and social media to stay connected with your loved ones and help boost your morale.
Treat the difficult parts of the job as a learning experience
As a new over-the road-truck driver, you probably will not get the most desirable loads with the most convenient delivery schedule. Most employers offer the best loads to proven drivers, so take these early challenges as an opportunity to show your employer that you are serious about succeeding. Follow the rules and regulations, be professional, and be on time.
Remember that the dispatcher and safety department have the same goals as you
The people in your company in charge of compliance and dispatching loads have the same goals as you do as a driver. Remember that they are in your corner. Ask them to clarify something does not make sense, and always be polite and professional with your coworkers.
Pay attention to your exercise and diet plan
Over-the-road truckers must be especially aware of their physical health. It is easy to eat fast food, or pick up something at a truck stop. It is easy to forgo exercise day after day. Choose the sub sandwich over the fried chicken, and get out of your truck to go for a walk twice a day. Even two 15-minute walks each day could mean the difference between feeling great and getting rundown.
Jobs that require you to sit for long hours are not good for your body or mind. Truck drivers who overcome this do so by scheduling exercise every day. Set a minimum of two 15-minute walks per day and progress from there. Fitness trackers help you keep track of your steps and your sleep, which is difficult to do when you are concentrating on getting your load delivered on time.
If you are ready to start your career as an OTR truck driver with a great company, then contact RCX Solutions at 866-336-9697. You can complete an online application and learn more about this great career opportunity on the RCX Solutions website.