Memo to the ‘new breed’ – trucking is not just a job

By Dick Pingel, OOIDA Life Member, Plover, Wis.

After reading the history of trucking and OOIDA in the last Land Line Magazine, I realized that when it comes to people, as much as we change, there’s so many ways we stay the same.

I was trying to back into a parking spot at a truck stop. It wasn’t going well. According to the CB radio spectators, I made too many pull-ups. After finally getting parked, I was sitting in the truck trying to compose myself and heard over the CB how this must be the “new breed” of truckers. I was a little embarrassed, but knew that with experience I’d be able to back up like the best of them.

This didn’t happen last week or last month. This was in 1983, right after I bought my first truck and was on my second trip.

I was fortunate to have a friend who bought a truck before I did. I watched and learned from him. Although I was able to ask him questions, the primary way I learned was watching him make every possible mistake. Poor equipment choices, bad money decisions – you name it, he did it. This didn’t stop me from creating my own problems, but I learned many valuable lessons. I made fewer mistakes and was able to solve them better.

The new breed of drivers today will probably make the same mistakes we made years ago, but they also have more resources. Instead of just watching them fail, we can help create the next generation of drivers who realize this isn’t just a job, but a lifestyle. Or like the phrase that we borrow from the U.S. Army, “It’s not a job; it’s an adventure.”

You’ll be able to recognize the real “new breed.” They are the drivers who will still be driving after the first six months. LL