Labor Of Love

Cynics say you work hard, then you die. Many truckers would say you work hard, then take pride in your work. And then work some more. A Marywood University professor, Sheryl Youngblood, working with Overdrive Equipment Editor Tim Barton, studied the work ethic of America’s truckers. In addition to surveying 457 truckers, the psychology prof took a five-day trip with trucker Jeff Philbin.

Her study found that 72 percent of drivers believe their work is highly important to society; another 16 percent consider it to be somewhat important. That means almost nine out of 10 truckers do not fit the stereotype of bitter misfits who are in trucking only for the buck and take no more pride in their work than they do in their appearance.

“Many truck drivers do numerous acts to benefit the public, but are often incorrectly seen as having only their own interests at heart,” Youngblood says. “The more people learn about the good work that truck drivers do, the better off we will all be on the road.”

Youngblood is doing her part to take this message to the public. In June she presented her study at an academic conference. She’s done interviews with the news media and published a newspaper column based on her findings.

Unfortunately, the message still has a long way to go. Most people don’t appreciate your contribution to the economy, the enormous stresses that go with your work or the tremendous risks that you assume. The publicity surrounding this month’s Labor Day celebration rarely highlights trucking jobs.

Recognized or not, when you can take pride in your work – done safely and on time, cargo intact – you’ve got something money can’t buy.