Play It Safe - Blog: Trucking Should Be Fun!
This post of Play it Safe will look at trucking “fun”. A comment was posted after the last blog (Riders in Your Ride) by a reader who remembers when trucking was fun. It made me contemplate if at any time I have had fun while at work within the trucking industry. I’ve worked in the most mundane, dry, technical and regulated sector of the industry. I also know that work is something just not meant to be fun in some professions or sectors. I needed to look at my own work history and attempt to remember if I’ve had fun.
I learned at 11 years old that delivering papers at 4:00 in the morning to over 250 customers could be fun at times. I’m talking good clean fun. Stealing plastic pink flamingos from two separate homes and returning them to one of the homes a week later as a married couple dressed in “wedding attire”. Yep, your pink flamingo eloped. Laughed for at least a month when I delivered the papers to those homes following that fun. It was not very much fun in the dead of winter attempting to deliver papers in 12 inches of snow on a zero degree morning. The distance between subscriber homes seemed to change from one every few hundred feet to miles.
The day I turned 16, and for the next 5 years, I discovered that working in food service could be fun at times. I had tons of fun when I would remove the rubber bands from lobster’s claws and place the lethargic crustaceans around the walk-in cooler on top of containers the waitresses had to access. It was also a lot of fun playing cards on Saturday nights with the other employees in the restaurant after closing. Our bar did not have to close at 2:30 like the real bars. Working food service was not much fun when the commercial dishwasher broke down. Unable to bear to see my dishwasher friends struggle though manually washing dishes by themselves, I would choose to help them. During those times they needed me to be part of their team. There were nights I had to clean the restaurant, including the restrooms, if the cleaning man called in sick – and that my friends, was no fun at all!
At 22 I changed professions and found that working in the trucking industry could be fun at times. I worked downtown in an office building for a transportation consulting firm doing permitting and fuel/mileage taxes for trucking companies. There were many folks my age working in the building in various professions of various industries. We would do lunch together and became life-long friends. I’ve had some really great times with these people ever since. There were times though at this point in my career while performing my job that no matter what documentation I presented to a state or federal agency on behalf of some of our trucking clients, the agency would reject the applications. The headaches seemed endless. When things seemed to be at their lowest, a client or a fellow employee would say something that would turn my frown upside down and the world became a better place. It became fun. I made it through the rest of the day with that smile on my face.
Even when starting my own company, there were similar positives and negatives. After working hard all day at my “paying” job I would go to the office of the newly formed company and work till the wee hours of the morning. There were a few fun times when one of the other partners would show up at 10:00 at night with two cocktails in their hands – one for themselves, and one for me. Even after hiring an employee or two I was still the “cleaning person” for the struggling business venture. I kept at it because I knew that the hard work would pay off some day.
All of these jobs had still required me to do things I did not like to do. Another person or a higher power was dictating what I needed to do to be successful. I had to do those things I hated about the job to be able to do the fun things I really enjoyed about each job.
Things I’ve learned from having fun while “working”:
• Many people you meet through your job become friends for life.
• Teamwork is needed in any profession.
• No job is pure enjoyment or fun.
• Live your dream – your today, your life and your job are what you make of them.
• You meet the same people on the way down that you did on the way up, so never lose sense of who you are and where you came from.
• Nothing runs like a Moose! J
• And because being an Expediter can be much like being a musician, Bachman Turner Overdrive had it right when they sang:
If it were easy as fishin'
You could be a musician (or an Expediter)
If you could make sounds loud or mellow
Get a second-hand guitar (or truck)
Chances are you'll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
People see you having fun
Just a-lying in the sun
Tell them that you like it this way
It's the work that we avoid
And we're all self-employed
We love to work at nothing all day
And we be taking care of business (every day)
When you need to have some fun visit any of the thousands of trucking websites. There’s always something fun going on – The drama, the news (good and bad), updated postings in the forums, but most of all because your friends are there. The friends that always here to help you through the daily struggles associated with working in the trucking industry.
You can always have fun in trucking by attending the many truck shows that occur throughout the year in all parts of the country. It’s always great to see the latest and greatest “tools” for the trucking industry along with tasting regional favorite foods at these events.
You can have fun in trucking by listening to one of the many trucking radio shows as you are driving down the road. There are so many choices, including some in Europe like Radio Truckerladen – just brush up on your high-school German prior to listening.
Attend your company’s drivers meetings. You’ll discover that the meetings can be more fun than work. You might even gain some useful knowledge or tips while enjoying the camaraderie with fellow company associates.
I had a lot of fun writing this issue of Looking Both Ways to share with you. My mundane, dull and boring job in trucking became fun. Most of my blogs are intended at helping drivers better understand the dry, mundane stuff – I have to “work” at making them fun.
Yea, trucking is fun!
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!
John Mueller, CDS, COSS