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Military Vets Finding Civilian Success Behind the Wheel

The military is a demanding, dangerous, and disciplined life. You put your life on the line for your country and to do so, you’ve been given a specific set of skills. Those skills keep you alert and alive when in combat situations. You also learn about being a good part of a team, a battle buddy, and what sacrifice means. There is no doubt that being part of the United States Military is an honorable and valuable experience.

The trouble comes when your hitch is done and it’s time to transition back into civilian life. Not only do you lose some of the support of your brothers in arms, but some ex-military also find that their learned skills don’t translate that well into the civilian world, and finding good, purposeful work, is difficult.

Purpose

You want a job with purpose? This country runs and stays alive on the backs of the men and women who drive trucks. In the United States alone, $700.4 billion dollars worth of goods are moved by trucks on a daily basis. If we didn’t have truck drivers, the world would just shut down PDQ.

From groceries to pharmaceuticals, truck drivers keep this country fed and alive and the cost to our world if we didn’t have these brave, dedicated men and women hauling for the USA would be immeasurable. That’s a pretty high purpose.

Federal Support

In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), provided a $2.5 million dollar grant to help returning military members transition into civil jobs as part of a “Troops to Trucks” campaign. Military friendly trucking companies then started to flourish. This is a great field for military vets.

A good fit

When you come of out the military you have a certain skill set and you possess attributes that have been instilled in you during your training and time. Those skills are actually a great fit for the trucking and transportation world. What’s been learned in the military is applicable on a regular basis as a professional truck driver.

Let’s break it down:

Independence

In the service, when your commander gave you a task, an order, you were expected to carry that order out, fulfill that task within a specific set of guidelines that were laid out for you. You were empowered to complete the task using the skills and training you received to do it. You were on your own and you were given a certain degree of autonomy.

That same autonomy comes into play as a driver. You get your load assignment, and you need to get it from A to B safely and on time.

In both cases no one is looking over your shoulder, no one is holding your hand or micromanaging you. You’ve been given the skills and tools, now you get the job done. How you do it is in your control.

Team Work

 As a member of the armed services, you’re independent but you know you’re never alone. The same holds true with truck drivers. A driver will always have a battle buddy to back him up. Whether it’s a dispatcher, other drivers, or the mechanics who keep your rig running in tip-top condition, your independent spirit is backed up by a team of professionals.

Always a new mission

Both the military and truck driving can be fast-paced and dynamic. The complex challenges of a modern transportation company offer variety and opportunities for drivers. This is the kind of atmosphere that military folks actually crave.

True, as a driver, your overarching mission is to move freight safely and in a timely fashion. But the details of that mission are constantly changing. Whether you need to plan a new route due to traffic patterns to get your load there on time, maybe weather conditions disrupt the flow, even the landscape can call for in the moment decisions to complete the task. No two days are ever exactly the same.

So, you’ve delivered your load safely and on time, that’s your job. There’s not time to dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back because there’s always another load to haul. There’s always more work to do which means there are always new ways to succeed and advance.

Travel

One of the main selling points of the military was the opportunity to travel. Well, that opportunity is readily available to pro truck drivers too.

This isn’t a 9 to 5, cover the walls of your cubicle with inspirational posters, kind of a job. You’re behind the wheel, seeing the world, the mountains, the deserts, the seas. Unlike the cubical in the back by the xerox machine, the view always changes. It’s not a seat in an office, it’s a seat at the window to the world.

Core Values

You were trained to operate within the core values of your branch of the military. The department of defense lists those core values for all in uniform: Integrity, Ethics, Honor, Courage, and Loyalty. Those core values gave you clear guidelines when serving the country. Well, you don’t have to abandon that idea when you become a driver. Truck drivers have a similar set of core values that they stand by.

Those values are:

  • Safety first and always. This means to yourself, the freight you carry, and the people you share the road and the truck stops with.

  • Integrity. In every action. You represent the trucking company, how you behave reflects on others.

  • Respect for all. Those you drive for, with, and the ones you share the highways with as well. Respect all people.

  • Excellence in what you do. Take pride in your work and deliver a superior experience. Never cut corners. Give your 100% best every day. Hold and demand of yourself high ethical standards always.

What you’ve been carrying with you since day one boot camp is a valued and integral part of being a professional driver.

There’s help

A bonus; if you drove trucks in the military it may be possible for you to get your CDL without going through truck driver school. With new guidelines and provisions provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you could be on the road in your new civilian job in no time. Check to see if you qualify.

Drive a truck

It’s a job with purpose and one that allows you to still serve the country but now, on your own terms. Put your valuable training to good use, be respected, and needed.

That transition from military life to civilian life can be a challenge, don’t go it alone. Most transportation companies are seriously military friendly, talk to one today. Start your new life with a view of the world and a great job in an industry that is always looking for new drivers.

Thanks for your service and for taking care of the country now, do something to take care of yourself. Drive a truck.

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