Author Topic: A little help on the career front...  (Read 3059 times)

Johnez

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A little help on the career front...
« on: September 15, 2014, 07:07:46 AM »
Hello all, I'm in the fortunate position to be working for a pretty good company (a nationally known beverage company) and have the ability to move up and around in position.  To give a little background, I'm currently a warehouse picker and work evenings.  Before that I  built sofas for 7 years, but left due to low pay.  As soon as I got hired on I began to investigate future career possibilities and have narrowed it down to 3 choices with 2 basic sets of pro/con.

*Truck Driver.
Pros:
-Schooling is fast, cheap, flexible.
-pay is decent (~70,000 per year, depends on location).
-easiest position to get hired for here (2 drivers in my current location are speculated to retire or move soon), in demand everywhere.
-least draining on mind and body
-Low stress (once clocked out job is DONE!)

Cons:
-Top pay doesn't grow much.
-Advancement possibilities are nil (although I can get endorsements like tanker, doubles, etc. and be more valuable to other companies).
-can easily be replaced by a computer once automatic driving takes off.

Electrician/Tech or Fleet Mechanic:
Pros:
-Higher top pay
-Advancement opportunities
-Difficult to replace

Cons:
-Schooling is longer, more expensive, and involved.
-Harder to get hired where I work, though probably not so hard elsewhere.
-More stress (on call) and job doesn't really stop when clocked out.

I've spoken with my supervisor and others about different career paths and would have been pretty set on trucking if I hadn't seen how advanced driverless vehicles have become.  I see truckers with their pay and relatively simple duty as easy targets for automation.  Add in the fact that there is currently a pretty big shortage right now means in my mind that large companies are going to be the first to eliminate drivers.  This might all take 20 years, but what if it happens in 15, or 10 years?  10 years ago, who had cell phones, now what's everyone got in their pocket or hand?  Being a fleet mechanic or an electrician would be the safer bet, especially once I'm retired I would have the ability to do freelance work.  The only problem here is the opportunity cost lost to the amount of schooling needed and the waiting time to get hired.  I look at my company's jobs posting and there are dozens upon dozens of jobs for drivers, and out of the first 150 listings I pored through-there was ONE single opening for a fleet mechanic.  Starts at $30 an hour, but damn that's not a whole lot of demand.  Granted I could look elsewhere, but I really enjoy the company I work for and would like to stay a while.

What say you guys?  Have I overlooked anything?  Any personal experiences to share?  I'd love to hear 'em-thanks! 


CowboyAndIndian

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 08:03:39 AM »
I think it is too early to predict a major change in either of the two professions (driver/mechanic).

I believe both the driver and mechanic professions will stay for at least the next 25 years.

If you believe that the driver profession will go away with driverless cars, I belive that regular gasoline/diesel cars will be replaced with electric cars. This means that the car mechanic profession will also go away since electric cars have minimal maintenance (no oil changes, no complex engine etc). Engines (electric motor) and batteries are easily replaced. I expect electric cars to be in the substantial majority in about 25 years. The tipping point will be when the battery problems are solved.

Cromacster

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 08:44:13 AM »
Just the other day I was wondering if there were any over the road truckers that were active on this forum.

I have thought of some issues with truck driving and maybe you can weigh in on the reality versus my thoughts.  Leasing the cab, how much does this usually run?  Or do most drivers own their own cabs?  Living, would you plan to live in your cab and go without a permanent resident?  Food, I would think have access to fresh produce and/or keeping them fresh in the truck could be an issue.  What are most drivers solution to this besides eating out all the time?

Johnez

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 08:59:42 AM »
Hey Cromacster, from what I've gathered OTR is a hard way to make a buck.  The beverage company I work for now has drivers that have been hauling soda for 30 years and are pretty happy to be here.  I've done my research on truck driving, and while OTR is a good fit for some guys, it ain't for me.  There's tons of different ways to make a buck here, but as far as I can see being a company driver is best.  No gas, no insurance, no worries about out of regulation trucks, no overnight parking hassles, and home every night.  In case anyone's curious to find out more about trucking, thetruckingreport.com has tons of info and their forums are filled with guys ready to share the good, bad, and ugly.

CowboyAndIndian,

I don't think the diesel engine will go away very quickly, if at all.  Something to think about though...

sugarsnap

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 03:23:22 PM »
My husband was a truck driver for a major beverage company for a few years. The pay was around $70k and he was usually home daily, sometimes 2-3 nights out.  Company owned truck.  He worked long and hard to get that pay.  The highest paid runs had quite a bit of unloading as well.  The new guys were stuck at the bottom of the list for bidding on routes so you may be stuck with the lower paying runs for awhile.  It can be stressful on the road of course but it's not such a bad gig if you know what you are getting into.

I don't see the trucking industry going away soon. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2014, 03:49:27 PM »
The trucking industry will be around indefinitely, but will truck drivers? I'm not so sure. If you could choose between paying a person $70k/year to drive a truck for you or paying $70k to put a computerized control system in the truck that never demands a salary, never gets tired, never gets in a crash, and always drives at the most fuel-efficient speed, which would you choose? It's a no-brainer. Whereas if you had to pay an extra $70k for automation in your personal car, most of us would choose to drive ourselves. That's why I think we'll see automation get adopted much sooner in commercial vehicles than in people's personal cars. As the systems become cheaper, they'll trickle down into the consumer market.

This change is coming. The only question is when. The Google vehicles still have a lot of kinks to work out, but a number of companies are doing work in this space now. I think it could be commercially viable inside of ten years. Time will tell.

To the OP: suppose you do become a truck driver, and the bottom falls out of the industry in ten years. How close to FI would you be at that point? Could you then use some of your savings to learn a different trade at that point?

Exflyboy

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2014, 04:00:45 PM »
My BIL is a long haul trucker.

Personally I don't know how he does it.. Boring as heck, long hours in the cab and the toll its taking on his body being sat for that length of time is very unhealthy.

He is gone from home for long periods.

Frank

Johnez

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Re: A little help on the career front...
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2014, 03:35:35 PM »
The trucking industry will be around indefinitely, but will truck drivers? I'm not so sure. If you could choose between paying a person $70k/year to drive a truck for you or paying $70k to put a computerized control system in the truck that never demands a salary, never gets tired, never gets in a crash, and always drives at the most fuel-efficient speed, which would you choose? It's a no-brainer. Whereas if you had to pay an extra $70k for automation in your personal car, most of us would choose to drive ourselves. That's why I think we'll see automation get adopted much sooner in commercial vehicles than in people's personal cars. As the systems become cheaper, they'll trickle down into the consumer market.

This change is coming. The only question is when. The Google vehicles still have a lot of kinks to work out, but a number of companies are doing work in this space now. I think it could be commercially viable inside of ten years. Time will tell.

To the OP: suppose you do become a truck driver, and the bottom falls out of the industry in ten years. How close to FI would you be at that point? Could you then use some of your savings to learn a different trade at that point?

All these thoughts are what weighs on my mind right now.  At the beverage company I'm working for currently, things are so good for drivers, it's almost dumb NOT to spend the 3-5 grand and getting the CDL right now.  But what about 10 years from now?  You've brought something else to my mind, those computers also don't need that required by law 8 or 10 hour break from driving.  Imagine trucks driving 24 hours a day?  Getting goods from California ports to NY would be dramatically faster and cheaper.  I'd be shocked if there weren't multiple trucking companies devoting R&D dollars right now. 

10 years from now I do not believe I could be FI.  That is a pretty good benchmark.  I don't believe I could be FI ten years from now as an electrician either, although at least I'd be able to find work though!


My BIL is a long haul trucker.

Personally I don't know how he does it.. Boring as heck, long hours in the cab and the toll its taking on his body being sat for that length of time is very unhealthy.

He is gone from home for long periods.

Frank

The boredom would at least be countered by the fact that I wouldn't be long haul.  Beverage drivers and LTL drivers have many stops.  I could NEVER do long haul, too many negatives like those you listed.  Those are probably the first jobs to go to computers in my mind anyway.  The health aspects ARE worrisome, though most drivers here are surprisingly fit.