Don’t be scared. It doesn’t matter size.
That’s at least what women say… stinkin ‘liars. But that’s true of trucking. If you’re smaller than usual, bigger than life, or just plain old average-sized, it doesn’t matter. This goes for both males and females.
It should be remembered that if you’re a woman planning to go it alone, you particularly need to realize that to drive a truck all by yourself, you don’t have to be a tall, burly tomboy of a person. My wife is a girl-girl through and through, despite her ominous moniker, except for that potty mouth, which is apt to make lumberjacks weep.
When he produced man, God selected the variety pack. Apparently, he has a fantastic sense of humor as well.
“It takes all sorts to make a planet, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop” (yes, those are the true lyrics), in the words of the recording star Roger Miller of the ’60s. In trucking, that’s so real.
Before, I’ve seen people my mother-in-law’s age climb out of big rigs, and she’s just 3’2 ” (that’s an exaggeration; she’s actually 3’4 “). She is so short that just to tie her shoelaces, she has to reach up. As a matter of fact, I ask my mother-in-law to snatch something that we all know is out of her control any time I get a chance. I can’t just help myself.
I’ve even seen the 6’1 ‘, 350-pound Amazon lady with massive black hairs coming out of the wart on her jaw, of course. This is the type of woman that might possibly push my brains through the pavement when riding me like a horse and calling me a’ sissy kid.’ Now, I could do without a mental photo. Both women’s peaks jump in a large rig seat comfortably convenient. But the normal
The same goes for guys. Since I began trucking, I’ve seen more morbidly obese men than I want to think of. Unfortunately, sitting in the driver’s seat for hours on end and eating big chicken-fried steaks smothered every single day in country gravy lends itself to piling on the pounds. Hmm, I’m unexpectedly hungry.
My point here is not to judge. Hell, I can’t help but feel so huge for anyone. Seeing some of these guys struggle to get in or out of the truck is painful. Just make sure you don’t let your husky height deter you from driving a truck if that’s something you want to do for your life. Just remember that a trucking life isn’t known for its safe lifestyle, because if you don’t even watch it, your weig
“I’ve seen many men at the other end of the continuum who might be called “Shorty” by my mother-in-law. You know the type: five-foot tall, topping the scales at a whopping 95 pounds, and strutting a foot away from their ribs together with both of their arms, no doubt to make room for those enormous biceps.
You should not be kept from trucking by being too big or smaller than normal, but you need to take that into account.
It will no doubt say things like “97 percent no-touch freight” when you see the advertisements of a trucking firm. The number will vary, but essentially, here’s what this piece of trucker jargon means. “No-touch freight” means exactly that you’re not going to touch it This particular company says that 97 percent of the loads you carry will be filled or unloaded by someone other than you. Bear with me.
The loader or unloader is either a person who works for the shipper or receiver or someone called a “lumper.” A lumper is someone who is paying for you to load or unload the trailer. You have an option to use their services occasionally. Some times, you don’t.
Lumpers are just one of the many reasons I suggest that when you start your driving career, you should actually go to work for a major carrier.
A big corporation can pay for it by what is in effect, a business audit if you are required to have a lumper. With the lumper program, they may already have an account already set up.
You will have to pay the lumper up front if you work for a small business and expect to be reimbursed later from the company. Even worse if you buy your own vehicle, the lumper pay is likely to come out of your own wallet. I have seen lumper payments as low as $30 and as high as $275, none of which I’ve ever paid for.
The reason I note this is that very few businesses advertise 100% no-touch freight. But even if a corporation claims you ought to be able to load or unload an entire trailer if necessary, the truth is that very few major carriers would ask you to frequently unload trailers by hand. For a large trucking company, this is another reason I consider driving.
Since 1997, I’ve bet fewer than five trailers have been hand-unloaded, but you can see why it’s not a really regular thing. Bear in mind, it’s hand-unloaded. I had to unload more trailers than that but it’s normally with the aid of a pallet jack, so you don’t have to handle 1,300 boxes; you only have to roll 24 pallets from the vehicle and into the port.
I had to roll 20 pallets of goods to the back of the trailer not too long ago. For quick unloading, most places have trailer-high docks, but this place didn’t. The receiving guy lifted a manual pallet jack for his forklift into my trailer and I went to work. I have to tell you, it was something I could do to finish the job By the end, my thighs were burning and my legs were like jelly. And for the record,
I asked the unloader if he had had someone that couldn’t handle the job. I know, by some stretch of the imagination, I’m not in perfect condition, but I’m much more fit than a lot of truckers. Not to mention people. He said it had happened a couple times. He said it had been done by some very obese truckers, but only with occasional breaks and unloading had taken a looooong time.
He even mentioned that he had both men and woman drivers contact a nearby temp service to make them send out a person to help out. So you can see even whether you’re a little bigger or smaller than you like to be, you shouldn’t let loading or unloading stress you out. Granted, every now and then you will have to hire somebody to bail you out but anyway, like I said, you have to note that’s not the standard.
Now, back to the point, I promised. If you have a size problem, you need to make sure you pick a carrier with a high percentage of no-touch freight when it comes to finding a business to drive for. These are the sorts of stuff that my next book will cover.
Nowadays most carriers might choose to keep you fresh for driving, so you don’t earn much money if you’re not driving. Also, every once in a blue moon you would have to unload a trailer by hand, but even so, I’ve seen single woman drivers on the road who I realize couldn’t unload a whole truck on their own, but they’re driving a truck anyway. So if you’re Tiny Tim, Andre the Gii