Trucking provides perhaps the ultimate in professional communities. Running 3.5 million strong, trucking comprises a huge group of mobile ambassadors of the occupation. Being a union profession automatically makes it a close-knit community, but when you add in the peripheral pieces—radio shows, podcasts, blogs, message boards, trade organizations, conferences—you now have the keys to quite a well-rounded community.
A lot of young truck drivers might be a little tentative when it comes to joining the discussion and getting into the group. A lot of people get into the trucking industry in the first place because of the solitude it affords, and don’t express all that much interest in getting into the cool crowd. Maybe they don’t want to let their work and home lives to intersect too much. Or maybe they are just bashful and hesitant to get into a new group.
But as a truck driver you certainly should get and stay involved. Don’t hesitate, don’t stay back, jump right in! Here is why:
You’ll make friends: Anyone who has ever moved to a new school, town, or state knows the sense of loneliness that can set in. There is nothing that makes you feel like an outsider more than being in a group of people who know each other when you do not. Many truckers know that feeling, and are quick to welcome new people into the fold. You’ll find that those people will quickly become new friends whom you can count on both on the job, and sometimes outside of it.
You’ll make professional networking contacts: The flip side of making friends is that you also will make professional contacts. These are the people who will score their dream job, then give you a call and a recommendation because there are multiple job openings, or will recommend you to another one of their contacts because they know you are ready for a bigger opportunity. Networking is the easiest way to find a new job, and you’ll never have an easier time scoring employment than when a friend wants to give or get you a job.
You’ll get better at your job: Being around other truck drivers, whether you’re at the truck stop, a conference, or a union meeting, you’ll see and hear about their daily processes, the things they do (or don’t do), and the tricks they’ve picked up along the way that makes their jobs easier. Conversely, you’ll share your own tips, experiences, and tips. The result is two (or more) truck drivers who can do their jobs in a safer, more efficient way, just by chatting with each other. How could you possibly pass up on that kind of opportunity?
You’ll have more fun: Work is more fun when you can share it with someone, and having people to talk to and share your experiences with just makes work more enjoyable. If it helps you do your job better and makes it easier to do, and makes it more fun, there really is no good reason not to get involved in the larger trucking community. Soon, you’ll find yourself truly immersed in the world you have entered, enjoying your profession, your occupation, and your life that much more.