My young son was sick last week and couldn’t go to school, and since my wife had office meetings all week long, that meant I automatically got elected to stay at home and hang out with him. Fortunately, as a writer in the high-tech Internet age, you can do a lot of your work from the house, so it wasn’t an incredibly inconvenient situation. But a lot of my magazine-production duties are easier to handle from my office in person with my colleagues, so that required a little juggling.
I only can imagine how tough that situations like this must be for long-haul truck drivers and their spouses – not only sick children, but just about any situation that requires that something must be handled at home. If they’re away for an extended period and something comes up – god forbid some sort of medical emergency if they’re days away via big rig – then the emotional toil and stress must be incredibly difficult.
Unfortunately, that’s one of the downfalls of recruiting and retaining long-haul drivers in the industry. Sure, it’s easier to attract unmarried folks with no major ties at home or retiring empty-nesters – particularly adventurous couples whose children have started living their own lives. But those are only two demographics from which to fill every vacant tractor seat.
Certainly it takes huge perks and good pay to woo a candidate into a long-haul career, but is there really a price to be put on time away from home and family? That’s trucking’s unending, unavoidable challenge.