Opinion

Looking After Ourselves

looking after ourselves

One of the life lessons we all need to have a handle on is keeping, to the front of our mind, the thought that looking after ourselves is one of the most important. No matter what you do or what your plans are if you’re not in the right state of mind work becomes more difficult and life becomes more difficult.

These issues are difficult to address in an industry like the road transport industry, where a lot of those involved are working in an isolated position where there is quite often very little social interchange during the working day. This kind of isolation can be difficult for some or even many, as human beings are social animals, in the main, while a lot of tasks in the road transport industry preclude a decent level of social interaction on an hourly or daily basis.

For many people working in other industries and in other parts of trucking, there is regular social banter, but in a job like a truck driving, especially on long distance or multi-day journeys, there is very little opportunity for interaction or any kind of meaningful conversation at any point.

In my own working life, I can recall periods when I would realise I had been travelling, fuelling up, loading and unloading when not much more than a few words passed between me and another human being over several days.

Yes, it is possible to talk to people on the telephone, but that’s still not quite the same face-to-face communication and often that kind of communication can be difficult as drivers will be driving in hours when people who they may wish to talk to, would be either in bed or at work.

This situation is exacerbated by restrictions at collection and delivering points which are trying to isolate the truck driver from those involved in making up the load or loading it onto the trailer. There is not much interaction between a truck driver and a forklift driver when the driver is instructed either sit in the cabin or stand in a designated area elsewhere in a loading zone. 

As this week is Men’s Health Week perhaps it is time that delivery and collection points started to look at their processes and systems, and the way that they interact with drivers to enable a bit more conversation and social interaction to be possible during the only period in a driver’s working day when they are actually in the company of other human beings and not sat in a cabin heading down the highway at a hundred kilometres an hour.

Perhaps it’s time we started to think about ways to allow drivers to get more interaction time with other people. We probably need to also think about personality types. In my time I have noticed that there are some personality types which seem to be suited to the relatively lonely life of a truck driver. There are others who struggle from the word go with the whole concept of being out there on their own and unable to just chat and have a bit of banter with colleagues whilst they work.

 

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