Each year, when the NFL free agency draft pick starts, with pro teams looking to pick up the best-of-the-best plays and put together a winning lineup, I can’t help but relate it to professional drivers.
Why the comparison? You hear me say all the time that drivers are the true “road athletes.” There are some differences — the ideal NFL player profile features size, power and speed, while the ideal pro driver profile includes good health, a safe driving record and a record of maintaining compliancy with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
There’s a lot of noise out there lately about the driver shortage and 90% turnover rates. To me, this creates a huge market for drivers who are seeking the best opportunities, good home time, good mileage pay, respect, top equipment and good communication.
I know from my experience in the transportation business — working with drivers, helping them stay healthy on the road and, most importantly, helping them protect their livelihoods — that staying compliant with DOT guidelines to get their medical card is not always easy. Life on the road as a driver is challenging, and it takes a toll on one’s body and health.
If you are in good health and have a good driving record, the truck- and bus-driving jobs are plentiful, and there are opportunities anywhere in the country you wish to live. All you have to do is be a safe driver, learn how to make good food choices and engage in moderate exercise, and take care of yourself. There’s no need to train like an NFL player or attend summer camp; you just need to make smart, healthy choices.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I traveled frequently to speak at orientation classes for motor carriers around the country. Depending on the size of the carrier, I would work with anywhere between 20 and 120 drivers. I would walk out of those sessions thinking about how many motor carriers there are in the U.S. The numbers are staggering. I found myself wondering, “Where are all these men and women coming from, and how is it possible to have 90% turnover?”
It’s always amazed me that so much money is spent on recruiting and hiring drivers, and so very little is spent on retaining drivers.
This means it’s up to you to take control of your personal health, make the right choices and put yourself in the best position to be a highly sought after “free agent draft pick.”