Finding your niche as a driver
Truck driver and transport journalist Bob Beech discusses finding your niche as a driver in the New Year.
Happy New Year, RoadStars!
The New Year is a time of reflection and goal setting for the year ahead which makes it the perfect time to also think about finding your niche as a driver. Have you ever thought about your ideal driving job? Does it include local routes or international travel? Day or night work? City or rural driving? And then even if you have that ideal job in mind, how do you go about obtaining it?
In his first article of the New Year, Bob Beech discusses how to find your niche as a driver and discover your perfect job that will give you lifelong career satisfaction.
Finding your niche.
The ideal job for a new driver might be a lot easier to find if they are able to define what exactly they are looking for from a job. There are dozens of different driving jobs – you just have to find the company that has the type of work and conditions that suit your particular needs.
For example, if you like regular hours, having a set routine, and don’t adapt very well to change, it’s probably fair to say that long distance general haulage would probably not appeal to you very much, but supermarket RDC with regular shift patterns or night/day trucking may be more suitable. The predictability of a regular local/medium distance distribution job might also be appealing, but if you find heavy traffic and the inevitable congestion in urban areas gets to you, it’s best to consider either night work or a job that takes you regularly into rural areas.
Adapting to the unpredictable.
Others thrive on the unpredictability of hire and reward haulage, where no two days are the same and plans can change at the last moment. The challenge of loading and securing different types of cargo, finding new collection and delivery points and relying on your own initiative can be truly rewarding for the right person. While you might be away from home for the whole week, having to find places to park, eat and shower, you may find that this type of work may be more suited to your personality overall.
International transport is similar in this respect. You are working away from base for an extended period, often dealing with the language barrier, local rules and regulations, ferries/trains, road tolls and possibly customs procedures. Once again, this type of work has its challenges, but getting the job done properly can bring a lot of satisfaction.
If you like a well-ordered life without too many issues, its best to steer clear and find something else, however. The same applies to being away from home – there is little point in setting out on a long trip if your biggest concern is when you’re going to be home. Even the best laid plans can go wrong and unforeseen hold-ups when abroad might mean a weekend away from home. This uncertainty can be a real test for a relationship and requires a very understanding partner at home to tolerate this type of work.
So how does a driver find the ideal job?
First, be totally honest with yourself and your own personality. Do you like routine? Do you get stressed easily? If the answer is yes, stay close to home if you can. If you’re not sure what you want, try a few different types of jobs, find out about different companies, ask other drivers and get a wide range of opinions to get a balanced view.
If you get a job, give it your best shot and treat it as a learning process. Seek advice and get the company to teach you how the job should be done. Keep asking questions – knowledge is the most vital resource. If the company play their part, but the job is not for you, part on good terms because you never know what the future holds.
Keep a positive outlook and you will eventually find your niche. It might take a while, but the ideal job is out there somewhere.