Pat Dickard Knows: How to Achieve Work-Life Balance in a Truck Driving Career


Driving a big rig all over the country is exciting. Being able to see all of the interesting places that most folks only read about or just soaking up the beautiful country makes this job amazing. Meeting the challenges of driving in heavy traffic and on all types of road conditions gives you a huge rush and sense of accomplishment that can’t be matched by any 8-to-5 office job. You add in the average wages earned, which are generally higher than folks without a college degree would earn, and it is easy to see why an individual would have the desire to be a truck driver.

Did I mention that you also get to meet interesting people of all nationalities? It is like getting paid to be a tourist.

But, wait a minute. Hit the Jake Brake and slow this rig down because we need to look at some of the less desirable aspects and challenges of being a truck driver. Yes, sitting high in the cab allows for me to have a different view of our United States. The negative here is that it only allows me to move approximately 4 feet in one direction and about 8 feet the other way for hours and hours. I have literally driven or worked a lot of hours and then stood up, took two steps to my bunk and went to sleep. I have repeated this procedure multiple times without a lengthy break, or home time. If the truck isn’t moving, it isn’t making any money.

Being a truck driver gives me a purpose in life. The problem lies in it becoming the only or the main focus of my life when I realize I haven’t seen my family for a month.

When it sinks in that I have children playing baseball and I haven’t seen a single game. When I call my wife and she doesn’t recognize my phone number on her caller ID. All of a sudden, I realize that I have put too much emphasis on the job and put the rest of my life on the back burner. When I reflect back on my working career, I realize I have missed out on a lot of family time  — time that can never be retrieved.

If I had a do-over, I would make home time a priority. I believe the single most impactful lesson that actually made a difference in the way I think came about recently while I was reading the Bible. Proverbs 3:6 states “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” There are so many things that clamor for our attention and devotion: our jobs, our kids, our spouses, our hobbies — the demands and distractions of life. And we have to be careful not to let them become more important or more of a priority than our relationship with God and family.

Keep in mind that a career in trucking can be rewarding, but it can be more so if you learn how to manage your time outside of the cab.

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Pat Dickard
Corporate Trainer
Truckstop.com