Women in Trucking - A Woman Driver's Guide

Truck driving is usually much more than a job; calling it a way of life is closer to the truth. No more 9 to 5 or Monday through Fridays, and a 40-hour week would be considered too short, as for hourly pay, maybe someday. But boring? Never. Lucrative? Usually. Typical day? Never happens.

But the possibilities are endless--company driver, local, long distance, solo, team, union work, owner-operator, lease driver--hauling everything in the world to every place a truck can go. I even know of one expedited truck that got loaded on a ship, driver and all, and was sent overseas to deliver!

It all starts with the application. The very first you are likely to fill out gives the company your CDL number and SS number and permission to run a driving history and a criminal background check. If you pass that you will get a pre-hire letter while you are in school, or possibly accepted into their school.

This is not a guarantee that you have the job. When they tell you they are flying or bussing you in for orientation, find out who pays your way home if they later decide you don't qualify. They will put you up in a hotel, and may provide all three meals, plus snacks, or they may only provide some of the food. Find out before you go. The company will most probably pay you for orientation, but not until you have been there for a day or two. Then part of the pay will be available as a cash advance. It's great if you are short of cash and may be repayable if you leave in the first six months, as well as the sign-on bonus, which is paid in increments. But part of your agreement in taking the job is that you will stay a minimum amount of time. Read the fine print.

The next application you fill out is a three-year one, for the recruiter. As a new driver they will verify your work history. If this application asks for criminal or driving history, DON'T LIE, thinking you'll tell them once they have met you. And if you paid an attorney extra money to expunge your record, thinking they won't be able to find out, check that out yourself. Your attorney probably did not do that. And like taking a driving class to get points off your driving record, it does not remove the history!

If you want to make trucking your career, know all the details before you get started. Know if you will qualify with an employer or if there are problems in your history. And realize that trucking is more than a job...it's a way of life.