Tapping Into Your Work Passion or Keep On Truckin'Sep 09, 2022
I should have been a truck driver.
This bizarre thought occurs to me occasionally. (Usually when I’m on a road trip).
It stems from possessing (or perhaps being possessed by) the Seeker archetype. There is something fundamentally nomadic about me. I mean, I’ve lived in seven states plus one other country. I have a perpetual sense of restlessness that only a road trip can ever come close to satisfying.
Last week, I drove a 12’ Penske truck from Portland, OR to Chicago. I was a little intimidated about the prospect of doing so. I did it alone and all the hotel reservations were locked in and paid for, so there was no slack.
But you know what?
I absolutely driving this truck.
When I climbed up into the driver’s seat, I immediately had a sense of, well, power. The truck was responsive and well-outfitted. The AC was powerful, there was a backup camera, a USB allowed me to play books and music from my phone over the sound system, and there was even cruise control! I could hop on the phone if I got lonely. It was perfect.
So, that nagging thought cropped up: I should have been a truck driver.
As much as it attracts me, I know it would have been a terrible fit. First of all, I’m pretty short (5’4”). My feet probably wouldn’t reach the pedals in a semi. But my biggest hesitation comes from what I perceive as trucker culture. I don’t know too much about it, really, just sweeping generalizations I draw from a few observations.
I find truck stops pretty seedy. A lot of what they sell in those places weirds me out. I think the trucker hat is the lowest form of fashion. I find it hard to imagine being welcomed into this male-dominated culture (especially given my stereotypical inability to back up with a trailer).
I got my first healthy dose of trucker culture back in the 70s when my brother decided he should have a CB radio (I think he got the idea from the movie Convoy). (For my younger readers: these were Citizen Band radio… people in a limited area could talk with each other over these mics attached to a special radio, kind of like cops use. Truckers used them extensively to talk about traffic conditions, weather, and speed traps. This is the kind of thing we did before mobile phones). My brother would squawk over the radio on our trips to Wisconsin, teaching me the lingo. (“10-4, good buddy, come on.”) I wasn’t inspired by the nature of the dialogue.
I started to get scared of truckers, believing that would create a “wall” to intimidate us in our tiny Datsun station wagon.
But despite those concerns, the road keeps calling me. I find it a delightful assortment of alone time, inspiration and entertainment (Audible, my personal playlists, and Spotify). And the scenery. I’m one of those people that can find a peaceful satisfaction even in the cornfields of Iowa.
You may be wondering why I’m going on and on about how I could have been a trucker. It’s because by me getting in touch with the things I really love (and the things that I don’t really love), I get insight into the kind of life and work I want to create for myself.
If you’re not content with how you’re spending most of your time (e.g. at work), then I’d like to invite you to get in touch with the things you love and what you don’t.
I hope my trucking illustration is a good example. Some of the meat of the job would have been a perfect fit for me, but there were also issues that could cause this pursuit to be a major bummer (my stature, the culture, my skills).
Examining what it is that I love so much about driving that truck can give me a lot of insight into what I really want to cultivate in whatever I create for myself in my life. I need variety, I need movement and new vistas. I like independence and I must admit, even some power. I like some spaciousness in my schedule, some alone time to reflect, plus a lot of input (eg consuming ideas). I mean, getting paid to listen to books, damn if that’s not the dream!
That analysis shows me there is still room for improvement in the way I’ve designed my life and work. One thing is very clear: I have a visceral need for travel that I haven’t been honoring as of late.
So, what about you? What are those things that you love to do? What might that suggest about what you would most love to do for work?
Coda: I don't mean for any of this to denigrate truckers. They are some of the most responsible citizens on the highway. They are an integral part of our economy and played a critical role in helping us survive the pandemic. I am grateful for all they do. Keep on Truckin!
Hey! Check this out: here’s the playlist, Road Trippin, I created for my drive: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1a2EdcbtZAbK1FD7w1h2iC
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