A couple of weeks ago I trapped a nerve in my back. These two weeks have given me the opportunity to think hard about my work driving large trucks with the result that I have come to the decision to stop.
Why? I have been doing it for more than a year but I still get a knot in my stomach the night before I do a job. I have never been happy with the amount of loading and unloading that I had to do, especially with the associated risks. Add to this the fact that the pay is very poor and the arguments to keep going just didn’t stack up.
There are elements of the job that I will miss. The feeling of competence operating the vehicle, the feeling of being so much higher and bigger than anything else on the road, the responsibility of exercising a skill. But then the flip side of those are also all of the negatives, not knowing what I am doing, worried it is all my fault, and terrified at the size and power of what I am dealing with.
I have no regrets at all. I learned a lot about myself, about trucks, and about people. I got to see a side of the world that most people never get near. I got to see the cleverness of the haulage industry, logistics, and construction.
I have nothing but praise and admiration for the other drivers who helped me and were kind and gentle with me. From the two saints who put up with me during my original training to all of the others who took the time and had the patience to show me the ropes. They never made me feel small or stupid.
I will miss pulling on my safety boots and my high viz jacket. I will miss making sure that my kit bag has all of the right stuff in it. I will miss the feeling of pushing my driver card into the digital tachograph. I will miss the sound of a massive 13 litre engine moving up through its automatic gearbox. I will miss really powerful power steering. I will even miss clambering around on frosty steel piping at 5am!
It’s been a hell of an adventure – but it’s time to move on.