TSQ: How satisfied are you with your job as a truck driver?
October 1, 2012
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Satisfaction is a subjective thing. One man’s dream job could be another’s worst nightmare. Such is the case with truck driving, a line of work which, despite being demanding and lonely and occasionally...
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Satisfaction is a subjective thing. One man’s dream job could be another’s worst nightmare. Such is the case with truck driving, a line of work which, despite being demanding and lonely and occasionally nerve-wracking, has historically been able to attract a steady line of workers.
In recent years, carriers have struggled with recruitment and retention more than ever before, as a generation of new workers gravitates towards office jobs with more predictable nine-to-five schedules. Our sister publication, Motortruck Fleet Executive, has spent the last six years trying and answer the question of what makes for a satisfied driver via its annual Driver Satisfaction Survey, and will be asking that question once again in the September/October issue. To supplement the survey, Truck News went to the Husky Truck Stop in Mississauga, Ont. to ask drivers how satisfied they are with their jobs – and what they would do to make them better.
• Mark Losier, an owner/operator contracted with New Brunswick’s Armour Transportation, says when it comes to being satisfied at work, nothing quite beats being your own boss.
“I get to be by myself, and work when I want, eat when I want, sleep when I want,” he said.
If he could change something about the industry, it’d be the nitpicky rules and regulations, specifically the new hours-of-service rules, as well as being held without pay at the loading dock.
• Rheal Goguen, another driver with Armour Transport, says he likes his role as a truck driver – the whole package, including the “hustle and bustle” of traffic – but says patience is a job requirement. “Waiting time for loads is what really gets to guys,” he says.
• Angelo Diplacido, a driver with Erb Transport out of Mississauga, Ont., is very satisfied with his employer (“They’re fantastic”), but the industry in general? Not so much.
“The pay hasn’t changed in 30 years. The infrastructure hasn’t been kept up in Ontario…we’ve got highways to nowhere,” he says, adding that gridlock is the result of the way highways are maintained.
If he could change one thing, Diplacido would like to see more mentorship and apprenticeship programs to make sure drivers don’t get “fed up” with the business – even if he hasn’t. “Other jobs have bored me, this doesn’t bore me at all. Every day’s different, every day’s challenging,” he says.
• John Medicraft, a driver with Trappers Transport out of Winnipeg, Man., says that while he likes working for his current employer, the industry – and other drivers – just aren’t what they used to be.
“Before, you used to be able to get on the radio and ask somebody for help; nowadays you can’t do that anymore. Drivers just don’t seem to get along with each other,” he says.
If he could make a change to the industry, he would like to see drivers be able to split their hours again.
“One day, you’ll get up in the morning and you’ll drive for 10 hours straight, you feel good. Sometimes you’ll get up and you’ll drive for two hours and you think, ‘I gotta go take a little nap…I just didn’t sleep well the night before,’” he says. “If it was all by the hour that would be really good, then when you’re sitting at the shipper or receiver for two, three hours, you’re not really complaining about it.”
• Noella Strong, a driver with United Van Lines, says she’s not only satisfied with her job, but puts herself in the “extremely happy” category, and tips her hat to United for that satisfaction.
“They treat their drivers with respect,” she says, adding that she’s happy in “all other aspects” of her job. “To be honest, I really have no complaints. If I had to throw one thing in there, perhaps a little more home time. That would be it though.”