What It Takes To Be a Driver

By Joe Stein

 
 
If you are a regular reader of WNYJOBS.com, you probably have seen that there are a number of driver positions being advertised every week. The transportation industry has been in serious need for professional drivers for several years, and there appears to be no end in sight to their predicament. This could mean “opportunity” for you!
 
While being a Driver can be a challenging profession, it is one that can bring job stability and a solid income for those suited for the role. So, if you are one of the many that have contemplated being a driver, now may be the time to take the first steps in the career change.
 
Like anything, there are a number of considerations that you must contemplate before entering the profession. Deciding to be a driver is a big step, and should only be taken after serious thought. Below are just some of the questions that come to mind, that you should ask yourself and speak to your family about, when considering a career in driving.
 
·         What Type of Driver? – This makes sense to decide right upfront because unless you are just going to be a local courier driving a car, then you will need a specialized drivers’ license. Are you thinking about going over the road in a full-sized rig? If so, then you will need a Class A license and the training associated with this program. Of course, Western New York has a number of schools that provide this type of training. If a smaller truck or even a bus is more like what you are thinking, then a Class B license is what you will be seeking. 
·         Are You Good Enough? I would think that if you asked most people, they would (of course) say they are a great driver. It does not take much time on the Thruway, in traffic to quickly conclude that this clearly is not the case. If you are going to be a Driver, then you must be really good at it. Driving a full-sized rig is a challenge that most people just can’t do. If you have ever rented a small moving truck, then you know how difficult even a vehicle of that size can be to maneuver. Let’s save the professional driving to those that can do it well. The consequences of a mistake can be tragic with vehicles of this size. Finally, it goes without saying that you should have a “clean” (or almost “clean”) driving record. So, if you like to drive fast or not obey traffic signs, then a different profession is best for you.
·         Do You Like Driving? – Now, you really have to like to drive to do this for a living. If you are someone who gets annoyed with traffic, or easily gets bored behind the wheel (as your mind start to wander), then the profession is not right for you. 
·         Are You Ready For It Physically? – This one may seem curious to you, but driving can be challenging on the body. Not all trucks are built for comfort. Have you ever driven for a few hours in your car and started to have your back, leg, or “seat of your pants” start to ache? Do you starting getting drowsy after a couple of hours of driving? Being a professional driver actually takes some real physical stamina to do. You will also see that a number of driving opportunities include a lifting requirement, as you may need to assist in the loading or unloading of the back.
·         Is Your Family Ready? – If you are going to be an “OTR” (“Over the Road”) driver, then your family needs to be prepared for all that this entails. You may drive locally or stay regional, or perhaps go all over the country (and perhaps Canada). Travelling may seem fun (and it can be), but if you have a family, then that will be time away from them. You need to be emotionally ready to be away from them for stretches of time and be prepared to miss some events and activities that others, not in driving, can participate in. Of course, this also means that your family needs to be OK with you being gone for the sake of your career.
 
Above are five questions to ask yourself (and there probably are many more that could also be relevant), but if you feel that it is right for you, the profession has a lot to offer. A review of WNYJOBS.com will show a number of advertisers offering above average pay potential and a wide range of company benefits (Medical, 401k w/match, etc.). When you combine this with better job security than most enjoy, driving can be a very appealing profession.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search