A career in trucking is much like perfecting a golf swing

Do you ever find that it seems like no matter how much you work on your trucking career there always seems to be a curve you didn’t see coming? You could be driving for five years, ten years, or twenty years and there will still be something you didn’t expect to happen. If you have read any of my columns in the past you may have noticed that I am big on trip planning. To me it doesn’t matter whether going across town or across the Country trip planning is an important part of a truck driver’s life. The goal of doing trip planning is to minimize hazards and reduce delays when delivering freight.

If it is important for us to do that with a single trip how important is it for us to do this with our career as a driver. Am I really asking you to trip plan your career? Well sort of, you won’t be able to plan out your whole career and here is why. A trucking career is much like a game of golf. Now I know many truck drivers may not have time to play golf on a regular basis due to the nature of the job so I will explain my analogy.

I never played golf during my driving career but I know many drivers that do. golf image by Bruce OutridgeThe thing about golf is that it is frustrating and captivating at the same time. When you first start to learn to play the game your whole goal is to hit the ball. Once you have mastered hitting the ball you move onto trying to hit the ball straight. Once you’ve mastered hitting the ball straight you begin to focus on how far you can hit it. You then move into perfecting your putting game and chipping the ball in a pro-like fashion. This may sound like trip planning for golf. You just create a road map of starting at first base and then moving onto the next step and so on until you’re a pro golfer.

If it were that easy all of us would be pro golfers. I started golfing about five years ago and consider myself on the first step. In fact a few years ago I took a lesson in driving the ball from a professional trainer. I told him after that first lesson that when I perfected the technique he showed me I would be back for the second lesson. That was four years ago and I am still working on the first lesson. That’s the point!

Your trucking career is much like a golf game. It can take years to bring a career to perfection. Just when you think you have it down and you’re making good money, the next day will take you back as though you just started on the job. There is no rhyme or reason for this other than stuff happens and you have to deal with it. You will have days where you lose your shirt and other days where the job just seems to easy.

Keeping to your plan is the best way to minimize those days when things aren’t going right. They will happen but if you know where you want to go, have a basic plan on how you want to get there, and work hard to attain your goal you will make it. Just like a golf game with eighteen holes when you have a bad whole you don’t just stop the game. You play it out and do your best on the next hole to get back on your game. If you have enough good holes you just might come out ahead of the others at the end of the game. So even if you are having a bad day today work on making it a better day tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge drove transport trucks across North America for over 25 years. He now runs his own business as an entrepreneur and is a professional cartoonist, author, and consultant for the industry. You can learn about Bruce on his website at www.bruceoutridge.com and you can improve your career by listening to his podcast for the trucking industry at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com