One Trucker Recalls 20 Years on the Job
He goes by JT, and he’s a man who loves living a low-key lifestyle. Despite this, he was willing to shed some light on his occupation and what’s helped him stick around for two decades.
Originally from Pikeville, Kentucky, JT moved to Richlands, Virginia after graduating high school. It was there he got his start in the industry, working as a trainee under a driver with thirty years of experience under his belt at the time.
JT said he remembered his mentor telling him that driving was a tough job to stick with, but for those who liked the occupation it was well worth it. At the time, he was tasked with moving the freight and taking the wheel only on occasion. This stepping-stone type of position helped him move up, and he ended up being a solo driver who did regional routes with the same carrier for over five years.
A husband with two kids, JT says he originally got into trucking because he couldn’t see himself fitting into any other type of field.
“I wasn’t the business type, and I knew I didn’t have the patience for retail. I’d narrowed it down to driving and construction, and driving offered me the chance to see a little more of the world.”
Desiring to gaze upon new locations that his small hometown didn’t offer, he stuck with his job despite all the difficulties. He ended up moving to a new company for seven years, before spending the last eight years as an owner-operator.
JT said that he originally moved to a new company because he liked the guaranteed miles they offered.
“Once I had a family, I was looking for that sure thing. A set number of miles is as good a perk as you’ll find in some ways.”
It paid off, as he was able to build experience and confidence in his skills. His networking abilities led him to find work, and now he functions as his own boss. When it comes to how things have changed, he notes that there are positives and negatives.
“It’s come a long way. Some changes they’ve made to our line of work have helped, but others put us in a tougher spot than we were before. Just gotta keep rolling with the punches.”