Category Archives: Signing on with carriers

Are You Being Too Social?

Are companies watching what you say on social media?

Recently a question was asked on a social media platform from a driver trying to get hired on by carriers and was wondering if he would be monitored on social media. Apparently he didn’t watch what he said much of the time and was active on many platforms such as Facebook. He found many of the carriers he talked with frowned on him being such an open book on social media and he wondered if they actually watch their employees? The answer to his question is “Yes” they do watch your account but maybe not in the way that you think. Social media is both good and bad depending on how you use it.

I don’t think I know anyone without a social media foot print except one older gentleman in my building. Anyone under the age of 80 has been forced onto social media either for business, to keep up with the Grand kids, or to book a vacation. There is almost no getting around it now and even though many of the platforms seem to be focused on personal communication and connecting with friends they are almost all designed to appeal to business owners and companies. Any platform that grows an audience will attract marketers and advertisers in order to promote their products.

Many young people use social media as a way to talk to each other on a regular basis and that has opened up another market for businesses in the way that they can now get a better feeling for the type of people employed on a team and whether that person fits in the company culture. That can also be good and bad. We have all heard the horror stories of someone that uploaded that party video on the internet when they were a teenager and had it come back to haunt them later in life when being promoted in their career. There are a few politicians that come to mind and we all know about the latest election issues with Facebook.

How do companies monitor your accounts?

There are a few ways carriers or employers can monitor your accounts. The first one is the basic search someone may do when beginning a job reference check. They put your name in the big Google machine and see what shows up. They will most likely flip through a few social media accounts to see if you fit the company profile.

The second way they monitor accounts is through special programs that watch for their name and how it is used on the internet. This is very similar to a hashtag in a program like Twitter where everyone using that hashtag will view the content into one place. The account holder gets notification whenever their name is used and can review the post.

The third way is sharing and direct monitoring and this is possibly the most popular way of finding a post. Someone posts on social media and it gets shared by those connected to you. You never know who is connected to who and all it takes is one share to your network and the post is alive forever. Even if you delete the post at a later date the content may have already been shared, viewed, and possibly saved by someone.

It could go like this; you share a post, I share the post but also download a copy or save it somehow. You delete it later, but I still have a copy. If I’m your employer then this may be the evidence I need to let you go. Hopefully that won’t happen but it proves you need to be careful what you put on social media even if no one is commenting, they may still be watching. A good general rule is that if you wouldn’t say something in public then you may want to keep it off social media.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

www.ttsao.com

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The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

Many new people coming into the industry are often looking for a fast way to make money quickly. That is understandable as many have been out of work, paying for training, or have other commitments and will often take the first job that is offered to them. In other industries such as manufacturing or office work choosing a job that is not a fit for you won’t impact your safety or the safety of others. In the trucking industry signing on with the wrong carrier may be a life or death decision and that is why professionals in the industry are always urging students to their homework.

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The largest example of this is the Humboldt tragedy that has impacted so many lives from the families that lost loved ones to the driver that made many mistakes and now has to live with the factors of that tragic day his whole life. The case is currently scheduled for sentencing but jail time will happen in some form. This driver had only been on the road for three weeks working for a carrier that only had two trucks and a shaky business history. Items from poor inspection procedures, to not following the law, to lack of training were all contributing factors in this crash. Had this driver had more training and done his homework to find a more compliant carrier to work for then this incident may never have occurred. This is why it is important to investigate the carriers you plan to work for and ensure you are going to work for a company that believes in being safe and compliant on the road.

What does a safe compliant carrier look like?

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Carriers like clothes come in all different types and sizes. If you went into a store and asked the clerk for a jacket they would guide you to shelves and shelves of jackets and ask you to choose one. How would you know which one is good without knowing your preferred brand, style, or trying the jacket on. It’s the same process for looking for a carrier. If you just go to a job fair and say I am looking for a carrier you will see a whole room of them, now what? Only by understanding the location, the cargo type, and other criteria can you begin to focus your efforts on certain carriers.

The second part of your carrier search after the basic criteria of where they operate, home time, and other basic factors is the safety aspect. You want to look at things like ongoing training, vehicle maintenance, and compliance in the industry. If a company won’t talk about those issues then you should run as fast as you can because it may be unsafe for you to work there.

The driver of the Humboldt tragedy is in his thirties. He worked for the company for three weeks before the crash. The company was found to have a number of compliance issues and has been fined and taken out of business. The driver is facing at least ten years in jail and will live with with his forever possibly never driving again. Don’t shortcut your training or the process of looking for the right carrier to work for, your life and the lives of others depend on it!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

www.TTSAO.com

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Have Good Customer Service Skills-Try Driving Coach

We have a bad habit of focusing much of our efforts on getting drivers into driving trucks especially over the road in our industry. I won’t lie to you that is where the bulk of the jobs are in the transportation industry, but those certainly aren’t the only jobs. A carrier can be anyone from a company that transports freight over the road to someone that transports people. Those options are also available for traveling long distances or just around town. So how do you choose one option over another and do you have the desired skills that may set you ahead of the pack when it comes to the job application process?

Good customer service skills are an asset to any driver hauling freight or people but especially people. If in the past you have developed those skills through working at a retail establishment or had additional training in that area then that may help you transition into a certain line of work as a driver. If you are looking for short haul options or a steady schedule then this type of work may also be appealing to you. What type of work am I talking about?

Coach-Buses jobs

Coach work of course! We often don’t think about it but all those tourists have to get to the casino and back somehow. That hockey team needs a bus driver to take them on the road so they can win those playoff games. Coach driving can be a good career for someone that has good customer service skills and wants a somewhat steady schedule although many truck carriers can offer those same type of schedule options. We often think of the buses that operate around town or school bus drivers with many kids on board, but those aren’t the only options available. Think about all the buses required for casino operations, hockey teams, specialized charters, and other operations such as regular travel routes and transport of the population. There are many options available and a coach licence also offers driving options below that licence as well.

Find a carrier that has your type of work here!

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018Coach driving is also a very viable option for female drivers that may not want to work with freight such as flatbed or other physically demanding types of cargo. For the most part coach driving is a clean atmosphere where safe driving and managing people will set you ahead in the field. If you’ve never thought of operating a bus over the road or in your home town then it may be worth investigating especially if you are good with people and have a neat appearance. Not sure where you options are in the industry? I would suggest you start by talking with a TTSAO Certified school in your area or contacting one of the bus carriers in your area to find out what training you need to drive a bus. It may set you off to a new career path that you didn’t even know existed.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Reading between the lines of an interview

Interviews can be tough! You work hard to get prepared for the interview, work on your answers with friends and family, and pray before the interview that everything is in order. You get through the interview sweating the whole way with no direction or indicators as to whether you did well or not. Did you get the job? If you didn’t get the job what did you do wrong so you know to improve in that area for next time? If you did do well why did they not ask you to move to the next step? All these factors can play on your mind as a potential applicant for a job and many times the only indication of success is being asked for another interview. So how do you handle the interview process without driving yourself crazy?

This is a typical scenario for many new applicants and I recently came across this question on a social media platform where the person asked if they did poorly in the interview process because they hadn’t been asked for another interview before the current interview ended. Just because you haven’t been asked back for an interview doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful as there are many steps and pieces to hiring someone.

man talking on telephone

When I was in charge of a fleet our interview process was quite involved and included many departments. As a Fleet Supervisor I was the first step in the process. I would accept the applications and check to see that the applicant met the basic criteria for the job. Did they have the required experience and training, did they have a good driving record and so on. Once their resume met our criteria and I felt the candidate would be a good fit for a position available they would be called in for an initial interview and road test with me. If the interview was successful they would be scheduled for a panel interview with other members of the management team. The management team would then have an additional meeting to discuss the applicant to make sure they were a proper fit for the company.

Depending on the size of the company and the operation this process can take anywhere from days to months. Our operation was very involved and it was much more than hoping someone could drive well. They had to have customer service skills, knowledge of hauling hazardous materials, be physically fit, and much more. So if you are going through the interview process don’t be discouraged because the interviewer didn’t book you for another interview right away. It doesn’t mean you weren’t successful there just may be other factors required in the process before they could book that meeting or interview. Just ask when an appropriate time will be to hear back from them or for you to follow up and have confidence in your abilities. Understanding the interview process is the first step to being hired on as a professional driver.

Check out these carriers that are hiring new drivers.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Linamar holds Job Fair-January 26th, 2019

Linamar Transportation is holding a job fair on January 26th, 2019 for those looking into opportunities with a top carrier. Learn more through the poster below.

job fair jan 26 school posterLearn more at www.linamar.com

 

 

 

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What will your journey be?

As we roll into 2019 I have been watching some of the career paths for truck drivers and wonder why people don’t take a more serious look at the trucking industry as a viable career choice. There are good and bad stories out there from the world of transportation but those willing to push through some of the downfalls of the industry generally do quite well.

I was reading an article about a driver and his seven year journey to business owner. I thought it was interesting that in seven years which is not long in an industry like ours the driver built a small trucking business as an owner operator owning two trucks, his own authority, and money in the bank. I wonder how many people in other fields in seven years in their industry have the ability to go from employee to business owner working at the same company. Here is the actual story if you care to take a look. https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/threads/my-7-years-journey-as-a-truck-driver-to-owner-operator.1347305/

Truck on highway

Not to long ago I had the pleasure of interviewing another driver who had a similar experience in only five years. He was working in a factory and decided to act on an advertisement that he had seen saying he could make money in the trucking industry. He did what most people don’t do and took the next step to do the homework of learning more about the industry. Since that initial day he has now gone debt free, owns his own truck, takes time off when he wants, and is now giving back to the industry to help new drivers. You can listen to the actual interview here on the podcast. http://theleadpedalpodcast.com/lp285-making-money-as-an-owner-operator-with-mike-shree

With these stories in mind and I am sure you have a host of your own stories you have heard, which ones are true? We have all heard of the truck drivers that went bankrupt or the drivers that can’t find a job in the industry. I personally know drivers with several trucks that have been operating well into their seventies and enjoy the industry. You can go to truck shows all over the country and see people with a passion for trucks and the people that drive them. How many events have we seen where drivers are stepping up to the plate to help fight cancer or help special needs athletes have quality of life through sports?

The next time you see someone talking negatively about the industry take it with a grain of salt and ask for a personal experience as to why they feel that way. I personally believe that trucking is one of the most viable opportunities for people to get involved in a successful business and improve their lives. It starts with proper training, signing on with a quality carrier, and operating as a professional driver. The Truck Training Schools Association is a great place to start.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO Training Already Ahead of National Training Standards

TTSAO certified training is already ahead of the standards called for across the Country and you may be asking yourself why you should care? Training is training isn’t it? The fact is that higher training may be setting you up to be a leader in the industry in the near future.

The trucking industry made the news again this week, this time out West in Saskatchewan. Training standards were the main topic of conversation in the light of another truck crash. Ontario and a couple other Provinces are the only areas requiring Mandatory Entry Level Training ( M.E.L.T.) for truck drivers and the call is for a national standard across the Country. Ontario implemented the program in 2017 calling for a minimum of 103.5 hours of training to be completed before proceeding to the licence test. Provinces are calling for all Provinces to adopt mandatory training so that there is a standard in the industry. Even those same drivers that have normally fought against increased regulations are now calling for it due to recent incidents.

Here is the source story from CTV News that came out this week on the issue. https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/professor-interviews-truckers-across-canada-calls-for-standard-truck-driving-training-nation-wide-1.4214217

In a recent meeting with training schools, the Ministry of Ontario, and insurance providers for the industry everyone agrees on one thing, there is a problem in the industry. We have a driver shortage of qualified candidates, insurance providers are struggling with increased incident rates, and the courtesy and driver professionalism of the past is slipping away with each generation. Big issues to deal with and little options available. To date the answer has been to add more regulations onto the industry using technology but in my opinion that seems to be hampering progress instead of helping it.

TTSAO December 11th MeetingThe Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) have always provided training with programs over 200 hours in length and featuring all aspects of the job from Hours of Service to driving techniques. The course minimum has been in place for years before M.E.L.T. came along. You may be asking why this should matter to you?

The industry as a whole are now starting to look at driver finishing programs and extended training curriculums to help produce a better driver. Once some data has been received from the pilot M.E.L.T. programs in place I am sure that a national program will be implemented nationwide. One thing for sure is that the Government has to protect everyone’s rights across the Country and with that you can be sure that minimum standards will be implemented over maximum standards. That being said if you want to improve your chances to be at the forefront of a career in transportation and want to be hired by the top carriers in the Country then proper training and operating as a professional driver will be required. Once a national program is introduced then those with more than the minimum will be at the forefront and TTSAO schools offer that maximum advantage. You can find a TTSAO school in your area at www.ttsao.com

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Is your company treating you right?

I think I’m getting screwed over by my company? This is a statement that I hear from many drivers over the course of my career. Some of those drivers were driving for the same company that I was working with at the time of the statement. If you are getting screwed over as they say, how do you know?

This article came to mind based on a post that I read where a driver who had been driving for four months felt the company wasn’t treating him right and he wanted to switch carriers after that short time. He said he was running 2500-3000 miles per week for about 35 cents per mile and this was a large U.S. carrier. He said the company was deducting things off his cheque to where he is barely making 20% of his pay per month and he is not on a lease program or owner operator situation. This is all I know as the individual didn’t elaborate more than that which is why it makes for a good discussion.

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There are not enough details to know whether this driver is being abused or not by their carrier unless we were to see an income statement, contract, and other personal items such as work history and so on. So we will assume for this discussion that the company is operating above board and treating their drivers fairly. If we break it down this person is a new driver and agreed to the mileage rate when signing on. We also know that the carrier is giving the driver the miles because he is says he is getting 2500-3000 miles per week. The question now becomes how is the driver being screwed over as they say?

How employees feel about their companies can change by the day, I know it did for me when I was driving. One day you are happy to be on the open road with a cool trip to Texas or Florida. The next week the weather sucks, you have unexpected delays, and you’re heading for New York City. That’s the nature of the job and happens to every driver. Normally when drivers are unhappy it is because they are either not getting enough miles, lack of organization from the carrier, they are not going to the destinations that they want to travel to, or the equipment is not in good working order. Those are the main issues for drivers outside of home time.

Our driver in the example above is getting the miles, doesn’t mention equipment issues, home time, or destination choices. The driver mentions they are deducting too much money from their cheque. Is the driver being screwed over or does the driver not understand the contract with the carrier? Here is my take on this story without knowing the details.

With 25 years of experience behind the wheel I have stood in line behind a lot of drivers at the truck stop. Many of those drivers have asked for loans on the company card to buy food while on the road. They used to be called Com-checks which is basically an advance benefit on a fuel program that the company authorizes. Many drivers forget about this loan after a week or so and then wonder why their cheques are so low even though they are running the miles. I believe this is what may have happened to this driver based on assumption and not having any more details. If the driver borrowed some money when he started to get him going the company would deduct it over time as the driver makes income.

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If you are in a similar situation or feel your carrier is not treating you right before you go switching carriers or begin knocking the company it is best to have a meeting with your operations people and discuss the problem. You may have just forgot about a loan in the past or didn’t understand a deduction that was outlined when signing on. At that point you can make an educated decision with all the facts as to whether you should switch carriers or not? Smart drivers are tracking their trips and income while matching it to their statements. If not how do you know if you are getting screwed over or not, you may just be having a bad trip.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Trucking Offers Flexible Options for a Career

It’s been a sad week of news so far this week with many manufacturing plants announcing closings and changes to their workforce. It is always sad to see people losing their jobs and having to look to either retraining, moving, or searching for new work. General Motors announced the closing of several plants across North America this week and Maple Leaf Foods announced the moving their plant from Toronto to London Ontario. Good for some people bad for others. Those good jobs in manufacturing have been on the decline for decades since our economy began to buy on global scale and that’s what makes trucking such a lucrative and viable option.

Careers these days are not about working at a plant because your family before you worked there. Those were the old ways of thinking where you got a good job and then worked at a company for thirty years. In today’s world working at a company for five years is a major career and the secret to longevity is to keep retraining yourself and improving your knowledge of technology. Those not willing to learn and upgrade will find themselves left behind in a drastically changing world. There was a company that announced up to 800 new positions in the region at the same time of the other closings, all the jobs announced were in technology. Start upgrading!

Technology

We may be surprised today but this has been happening for years. I personally went back to school many years ago to learn some new skills when I wanted to move up in the company I was working with. At that time four drivers in our fleet were in a race for promotion to become supervisor of the fleet, myself included. All had years of experience, good work record, and respect from the team. This was a time however when everything was becoming more computerized and items like expense reports and dispatch services were transferring from paper to computers. As I had returned to school and was upgrading my computer skills where the other candidates had not and that got me the position. This is one of the reasons I am big on self education to this day as it will offer you so many opportunities for the future.

Let’s get back to trucking and the benefits of flexibility. I think the transportation industry may be one of the only industries that can offer you that life-long career due to the many options available. If we take the news of plants closing and jobs going to Mexico that is a terrible thing for workers here, no doubt. For trucking however that will offer many news lanes and an increase in jobs for individuals. If you pursue a job in trucking there are many opportunities in the seat but there will also be other positions required in safety, dispatch, administration, and other services specific to transportation.

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Making high wages in the manufacturing sector won’t be sustainable for the future even if we want it to be. Labour costs are generally the highest expenses a company can have and will always be looking at that expense when trying to survive in a global economy. Transportation offers flexibility with change and even if products are made outside the Country they will need to be transported into locations for the future.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Career Training Over Job Training

Am I suggesting that you don’t get job training? Of course not everyone needs some type of training on the job and that is normal and expected. What I am suggesting is if you are new to the industry or career that you are looking for that you consider career training as opposed to one specific type of job training. Let me share an example with you.

Bob is looking for a new job as he recently lost his job from a previous employer. He is 45 years old with a wife and two kids and needs something more stable. The industry he was in before has become unstable and he wants something that will offer him steady work. Bob is currently looking at two opportunities both in the transportation industry because he has heard there is steady work. One opportunity is with a company handling administration work in load planning and the other is over the road as a professional truck driver. Bob is eligible for funding assistance for the new career if he takes the driver training, but he is not sure he wants to go out on the road. The real question is which opportunity should he take?

As someone who has been in the industry for many years I often come across people trying to decide on job opportunities similar to this. They have an immediate opportunity for one position but are able to get subsidized training for another option that may take longer to complete but offer more options for the future.

Every decision here will be a personal decision for the person deciding. Personal issues, income availability, and work ambitions all come into play in the decision. If we were to use Bob’s scenario above and assuming Bob had the income to keep him a float for approximately eight weeks. Then the driving position would be the direction I would suggest he go, here is why.

Driver-in-truck

If he takes the first option of the load planning position he would learn about that particular job and it may move him up the career ladder through that carrier or another company with similar positions. Here is the problems I see with this position. You will only be understanding the job from your job focus for the most part. Your career future may be limited due to positions available in the future if something happens to your job. Depending on where your future takes you it may not have the respect of the team below you if you haven’t got a true understanding of the road. Now I am certainly not saying that someone who hasn’t driven before can’t have a solid career in trucking, it just takes more homework.

If Bob takes the option of going through a truck training course he will have more options available for the future. He may not want to drive forever but driving positions are the most positions available now and in the future if someone is looking for steady work. Having a commercial driver’s licence allows for a variety a variety of opportunities from local work to highway operations allowing for more variety on the job depending on the carrier. There are more options for finding the type of work of preference and the income potential is high right from the start. In the training course Bob will learn all aspects of the transportation industry and that will offer a good base of understanding and respect from others in the industry should Bob move off the road at a later date.

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Looking at your career options farther than your current opportunities can be tough at first but if you think about the big picture you will see that many times the longer the opportunity for access the more opportunities it will produce down the road. Of course that’s just my opinion.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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