The Bitter Taste is Gone…….Maybe!

After a month of stewing and wondering what went wrong, I think the bitter taste of being laid off at my company has faded away. After spending countless weeks working to help bring the company from the brink of folding, working 50, 60, 70 hour weeks and filling in when a couple of other drivers failed to show up to work, I think I am at the point of moving on with my truck driving career. The Washington unemployment authority denied my application for benefits and it is time to go back to work. I’ve never asked for assistance, nor have I collected a dime from any unemployment source in my life.

I could go on and vent my frustrations at my old company, complain about the unemployment system designed for illegal immigrants, or complain about the trucking industry in general. I will refrain from such displeasure and get on with my life. I have to examine my own life and come to the conclusion that life is mostly a bowl of lemons and I just need to make a whole lot more lemonade.

I can’t complain too much, I have had a chance to work on my website design business and learn some very valuable lessons on how to make a living outside of the trucking world. But when I do go back on the road, I think I have an idea of what direction I want to take my career. After 10 years on the road, it is time for me to choose the company I wish to work for, always keeping in mind that it is not the one-career for a lifetime day in age. The days of going to work for a large company and retiring with a huge pension and golden watch are long gone. As with many other companies in the world, you are just a number, you are just a tool that the executives or owners of the company have to extend their comfort of living. Especially as a commercial truck driver, you are no more important than that tire or engine that powers your truck. You are just an extension of the truck and nothing more. Large trucking companies as well as small, just think of the “professional” driver as a money making tool. I was just telling a friend that most companies view themselves as God’s gift to the employee, pay you a meager wage and don’t let you forget that you are damn lucky they do that for you!

Being a truck driver has opened my eyes to that fact that I am only a tool of which others may become rich. If I want to become rich, I need to figure out a way to screw some other unsuspecting soul and use that leverage to purchase my own truck for the purpose of screwing others to make me richer! Am I right or being too negative at the industry that thinks they are doing me a favor offering .25 cents per mile? In 1998, a large trucking company hired me at .29 cents per mile. They gave me a .01 cent per mile safety bonus and a .01 cent per mile fuel bonus for not idling. I was paid .31 cents per mile overall and after 6 months, I was making a good wage of .32 cents per mile. Today, 10 years later, my pay has actually dropped about 25% while the cost of living has risen at least that much if not more. What is wrong with this picture? Trucking companies complain every day that $4.01 cents per gallon fuel is killing their business. What they fail to mention is that most shippers pay an average fuel surcharge of at least .40 cents per mile.

The cost of fuel goes up, fuel surcharges skyrocket, shipping rates are at all time highs, but the commercial truck driver carries 99.9% of the burden without a wink! I think commercial truck drivers should organize and charge a .10 cents per mile surcharge just for the honor of hiring such a competent driver! All kidding aside, what other industry lowers the wage of a good worker? Even the kids at fast food restaurants in Seattle are making double what they were just ten short years ago. So what is the solution?

I just want to go back to running my I-5 route between the Northwest and the southwest, hauling produce and apples. Is that too much to ask?

One comment

  1. Well it seems you feel that the trucking industry is somehow against you. I think there are not just trucking jobs out there that feel there own workplace doesn’t offer the salary or benefits it should. I don’t think it is this industry only. Sounds like a lot of personal sour grapes that should be shared on a personal my space blog or somewhere else as to not bring the rest of us hard working people down. Just a thought! But then again, it is your website to share your personal feelings I guess.

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