Goodaye all. A big week with two lots of tyre troubles and family issues to boot. The hardest part of this job is not being there for your family. Yes they can ring much of the time, but when you are loading etc and need to meet a timeslot, you can’t simply stop for 15 minutes to talk and give them the time they need, as no one else cares about your problems and the world must go on. On the road is different, but you can’t always be there or available when you should, or wish you could be.
How will we ever attract young people into a job that does not recognise this problem? If you look at the money we earn, you might well say it is good money. But when you look at the conditions under which we work, living in a truck, trying to eat and live on the road, let alone in some way healthily and you work out the hourly rate for the life you lead, then it does not look so good. Add to that the roads on which we travel, the people who we share the roads with and the lack of respect for the job we do, would you do it?
In this last 6 days since I left home, I have had at least three close calls. A car who could not wait for me to pull out of a tyre repair shop and sped up to get around me as I exited, they were not there as I pulled out and I missed the back of the ute by inches, a car overtaking another coming at me around a corner and just getting back in without hitting me and others who could not wait to see clear road, but had to pass without sufficient safe roadspace, putting both their and their passengers lives in danger as well as my own, only to get round the next corner and have two kilometres of clear and empty road.
How do you balance that and maintain a family life? It is hard and I am not alone. Many drivers now tell their kids if they go anywhere near a truck, they will kick them that hard they will not land for a week and they already know how much impact the life of an interstate truckie will have on family. Many have lost their family, some more than once, only trying to earn a living and feed that family.
There are times when I think is it worth it? Yet I have made my job my hobby and my passion as well. You can either spend your time in the truck complaining and whingeing or you can try and get some value from the time you have alone on the road and there is lots of that. I wish I had the answers and whilst none of this is your problem, I just would ask for you to give it some thought and maybe you have the answer.
I did get to watch What’s Up Downunder on television this afternoon. It covered the show when they attended the Retreat Caravan Rally in Mudgee last year, where I also attended and launched our “Sharing rest areas” video. I was interviewed by Macca and they showed a bit of my seminar and I would like to thank the show and the Retreat Caravan Club for the invite and the opportunity to talk to their members. We as an industry need to do more of this, but how do you do it when you drive fulltime? I was not able to attend with the truck then and drove over in the family car (which has been off the road now for months and they cannot fix the problem, yet another issue I can’t resolve) and hope that the message was as well received as I can deliver it.
I did fail to mention the website for the TRUCK That, TRUCK That RV videos and the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. Go to http://www.truckingnation.com.au and have a look and I would welcome your comments. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.