Truck driving can be a lot of responsibility and a strenuous job focusing on the long road, but is it considered a blue-collar job? What makes a job “blue-collar,” and can driving all day be classified as manual labor? Truck driving has various opposing views regarding its difficulty and categorization, but the blue-collar origin and definition are pretty straightforward.
Blue-collar workers primarily use their physical abilities to perform their duties, often outside of an office setting. Due to the physical work involved with truck driving and the exposure to “dirty” surroundings, truck driving is classified as blue-collar.
However, some people are not convinced that driving all day should be considered blue-collar or manual labor because of the averageness associated with driving. On the other hand, driving all day for long periods is strenuous, and truck drivers are often hands-on with heavy labor cargo delivery jobs. So, why is truck driving a blue-collar job, and is it difficult?
Why Is Truck Driving Blue Collar?
To understand why truck driving is blue-collar, we first have to delve into the origins and definitions of blue-collar. Contrary to popular belief, blue-collar does not refer to skill level or a specific salary bracket. Some blue-collar workers are highly skilled and subsequently paid higher wages, whereas others might be less skilled.
The definition and categorization of blue-collar jobs date back to the beginning of the 20th Century where certain workers had to wear darker clothes than office workers because of the exposure to “dirty” surroundings. These darker clothes were made from different materials that were more resistant to the wear and tear of physical work and grease and soil stains.
The definition mentioned above includes quite a lot of different professions. Over the years, even workers from service professions, like cashiers, have been included under the category of blue-collar. However, they are not necessarily traditionally seen as “blue-collar workers” from the early 20th Century.
Due to truck drivers not having an office setting and being exposed to “dirty” surroundings, they are classified as blue-collar workers, with an average salary of $73,983 annually, according to “Indeed.”
Although truck drivers mainly transport cargo from one destination to another, they have more duties that they are responsible for that are also classified as manual labor. Duties like; loading and unloading the cargo, essential vehicle maintenance, and keeping a logbook of all the activities.
The definition of blue-collar encompasses many jobs, but the similarity they share is the exposure to dirt. Even if there are more technicalities involved, the primary classification is what makes truck driving blue collar.
Is Truck Driving A Difficult Job?
Deducing whether truck driving is complicated or simple, we must define what we mean by “difficult.” The vital parts that classify something as difficult are the skill and effort involved in accomplishing or understanding a particular task.
Initially, any job can be classified as complex if we lack the necessary skills needed, but if it requires little effort to acquire these skills, it can be seen as “easy.” However, even if the skills are acquired, the daily duties can still be demanding and strenuous. Let’s take a look at different aspects of truck driving that are considered to be difficult.
- Hours spent on the road. An average schedule for a trucker is to work around 70 hours a week with a 34 hours break once their limit is reached. This means that some truckers can spend up to 240 nights away from home each year.
- More prone to sickness. Truckers have been known to fall ill more than the average person due to the strenuous activity of driving for long periods with altered sleep schedules.
- High-risk responsibility. Some truck drivers are responsible for cargo worth thousand and even millions of dollars on roads that are dangerous to even the most experienced driver.
- Accidents. Common errors that cause truck accidents are driving at speeds too high for the conditions, problems with brakes, and driver fatigue.
Truck driving is among the most popular jobs in the U.S., with an estimate of 3.5 million drivers. Although acquiring the skills needed to be a truck driver might be easier than in some white-collar professions, the job itself has various duties classified as challenging activities.
This shows that it might be “easy” to qualify for the job but difficult to practice it.
Pros And Cons Of Truck Driving
Considering that truck driving is a blue-collar profession with difficult duties, we can assess some benefits and disadvantages of being in this profession. Let’s start with some advantages.
- Truck drivers can earn a relatively high salary with minimum experience. Drivers will immediately be paid for the routes they take and the shifts they complete, amounting to above average pay for even inexperienced truck drivers.
- If you enjoy traveling, you will get paid to see amazing and different sights. Some people enjoy the open road and being away from the cubicle of an office. Trucking allows a lot of workers the opportunity to explore while receiving a salary.
- A trucker can earn bonuses if they have clear safety records and take certain routes. Certain truckers avoid some roads because of various reasons regarding safety, but if you decide to take these routes with important cargo, a bonus will be assigned to you.
All of this sounds quite intriguing and ideal, but there are cons to a strenuous profession like this.
- The loneliness of being on the open road and away from home for long periods and not being able to converse with people for long periods can be a disadvantage, especially for a trucker with a family.
- Truck drivers have to deal with high levels of stress. Truckers are responsible for the cargo they transport and the lives of the people on the road. Being responsible for a truck is stressful because a lot can go wrong that might be out of the control of even the most experienced drivers.
- Eating and living healthy might prove to be challenging. Truckers have different schedules, and finding a nutritious meal as your routine is constantly interrupted will be difficult.
Truck driving is definitely considered manual labor that involves a certain amount of skill to safely and effectively practice the profession. A truck driving job is not for the faint of heart but can be pleasurable for those who love to travel and avoid offices.