In years past, much of the knowledge and skills involved in truck driving could not be learned from reading a manual or sitting in a classroom. These tricks of the trade came from “old hands,” seasoned truck drivers who, after years of experience behind the wheel, were willing to pass along their know-how to others. And while many things have changed over the years, this type of mentoring relationship can still be incredibly valuable, especially to someone who is new to driving a truck. If you’re interested in finding a veteran truck driver who would be willing to show you the ropes, here are a few pointers.
In order for a rookie truck driver to gain valuable insight from an experienced one, the chosen mentor must possess certain traits. Obviously, the first thing to look for is someone who has made a successful career of truck driving. The more years a veteran driver has under his or her belt, the better. It’s also important to look for someone who takes good care of his or her vehicle since a big part of driving a truck involves vehicle maintenance.
Another key characteristic of a good candidate for truck driver mentoring is personal appearance. Despite the fact that truck drivers often spend hours upon hours behind the wheel and then another good portion of their time loading and offloading their vehicles, those who are most successful tend to take a particular interest in their own appearance as well. As such, someone who is well-groomed and presentable is a wise choice.
Beyond appearances, it’s also important for someone who is looking for a trucking mentor to pay attention to the way certain drivers talk about the job. Someone who seems downtrodden and always has something negative to say would likely be a bad choice for a mentorship. To the contrary, a truck driver who has a positive, can-do attitude and is a natural problem-solver would be ideal. Of course, you’ll also want to find someone who has a certain degree of humility, regardless of his or her level of success.
If you’re not able to establish your own mentorship by simply observing and connecting with other truckers with whom you work, you may wish to take things a step further and research the various mentorship options that are available online. Likewise, you could also ask around to see if there is someone who has already established a track record of being a great mentor and might also be a good fit for you as well. Getting feedback from others who have been there can help tremendously.
Once you’ve established a relationship with a mentor, it’s time to pick his or her brain as much as possible. Along with real-life advice, guidance, and best practices, your mentor might also have a number of other resources he or she could recommend that might be helpful in your career progression. For instance, ask whether there are any books, publications, blogs, classes and even podcasts that might be of value to you.
Finally, another important benefit of a successful truck driver mentoring relationship is the process of identifying your specific goals and developing an action plan for achieving those objectives. A veteran truck driver that has made a profitable career out of driving a truck will have valuable insight into what you can do to achieve similar results.
The trucking industry is quite unique, and finding success can take more than just getting your license and landing your first job. By working with an experienced veteran who is willing to share his or her knowledge, you’ll gain valuable life-lessons that can help you position yourself for a lucrative truck driving career of your own.