Think It Over: Don’t Get Too Far From The Bucket

June 15, 2012

By Dan Baker

There is this guy who is hired to paint stripes in the road. The first day, he painted 700 stripes. The second day, he painted 400 stripes. The third day, he painted 200 stripes. So his boss calls him in and says, “Sam, the first day, you painted 700 stripes. Then, yesterday, you painted 400 stripes, and today, you only painted 200 stripes. What’s wrong?” And Sam says, “Well, I’m two miles from the bucket!”

And I love that story because it points out so clearly just what happens to us when we get too far from the bucket! And what do I mean by our bucket? I’m talking about our source material: the stuff we have to have if we are going to succeed at what we’re doing.

As a Student Driver, I think it is very important for you to decide what you’re going to put into your bucket. Right now, while you are new to the business, is a great time to decide just what is going to be important and what is not going to matter. As a student, here are some things you need to consider:

  • Your personal commitment to become a professional driver, and to learn and know all of the basic requirements involved in being an actual mile running, money making operator.
  • Your personal commitment to stick with this profession until you know enough about it to make a clear decision as to whether it is the thing for you. Don’t let yourself get discouraged and quit too soon.
  • Commit to Safety as the number one priority for everything you do. CSA is more than a bunch of scary regulations. It is the basic foundation for your future. Keep your scores low, and remember, your CSA will follow you wherever you go for a long time.
  • Keep your family and your job balanced. Don’t allow your driving to become more important than your reason for driving; your family.
  • Be selective about who you listen to. Stick with the professionals, and don’t allow rumors, gossip, or negative talk to cloud your thinking. Truck drivers have a reputation for negative talk, and you don’t need to be a part of that. This is a fabulous profession that can build you a career and make you secure for years to come.
  • Listen to the people who know more than you do. Ask questions. Observe their behavior, and don’t feel like you have to know everything all at once. Life is a learning process, and you are a student.
  • Look at all the options. There are all kinds of driving jobs, and all kinds of trucking companies. Be selective, and don’t just take the first thing that comes along. Investigate and ask questions until you feel like you’ve got the right fit for yourself. Some drivers are dry van while others are reefers, and still others are tankers. Find your own niche.
  • Be an example. Become a walking, talking, living, breathing, public relations representative for every professional driver out there. When you do well and bring honor to this business, you are helping every driver out there on the road.

So, what goes into your bucket? The eight things I have just suggested will fit nicely into your bucket and if you will keep your bucket with you all the time, and not leave it two miles down the road, you might just become one of those special drivers that looks back 20 years from today and tells the new guy that this is the best profession in the world. And you’d be telling him or her the absolute truth.