Is being a delivery driver, lorry driver, courier a career-ending profession? Is it the sort of job where professional drivers have trouble moving out of the driving industry?
It is common knowledge that many delivery drivers and especially lorry drivers will work their job up until retirement. Yet, is this because such driving jobs are highly secure and often well paid? Or is it because drivers have a hard time finding other jobs? Here are a few things that ex-drivers do for a living.
This article assumes that each driver doesn’t simply move to another driving job. For example, many professional drivers move from deliveries and lorries into ambulance driving, taxi driving, and security van driving. These varieties of careers are not mentioned in this article. This article focuses on what drivers can do after they end their careers as drivers.
Working as Bouncers and Security Guards
It sounds a little cliche and perhaps prejudiced to say that lorry and delivery drivers become bouncers and security guards. It seems to perpetuate this myth that drivers are butch, hard-drinking, hard smoking, tattooed bruisers, but that is not why many drivers become security guards or bouncers.
If a driver has few qualifications, then jobs like security are ideal because they do not demand many qualifications. Security guards have to be trustworthy and sensible, which is also a job requirement for being a driver.
Also, drivers and security personnel need a certain type of mindset. They need to be comfortable being vigilant for hours and hours on end, which is what drivers do all the time. They have to concentrate for hours on the road, just like security people and bouncers have to concentrate for hours as they look for problems. Many of the elements that make for good drivers will also make for good security personnel.
Car, Van and Truck Sales
This is where two stereotypes clash. We think of car salespersons as slick, with tailor-made suits, shiny shoes and a power tie. We don’t think of drivers selling cars and vans. Be they lorry or courier drivers, the image doesn’t match up, but in fact, some drivers are very good salespeople.
It is easier to believe a long-time professional driver when they say this van will give you 180K miles before any serious components need replacing. Like with all jobs, there is a large degree of personality involved in the decision. Some people are not born salespeople, but older and seasoned drivers do make good and reliable vehicle salespeople. Again, this is another situation where qualifications are not a barrier to entry, so they are suitable for ex-drivers.
Amazon Warehouse Workers
This is probably a sign of the times, but many drivers decide to work for Amazon as a driver. The jobs are sometimes seasonal and often turn into full-time jobs for people who are good at driving. However, over a few months or years, the drivers get friendly with admin staff and warehouse workers. They discover that warehouse jobs are better paid, have better hours, and have more perks. They apply for jobs in the warehouses, and they get the jobs because of their previous history with Amazon.
There are many functions within the warehouses where drivers are preferred. Most operating jobs are done very well by drivers. There are lollops that drivers are often comfortable operating. This is another job where qualifications are not needed, and there is enough job variety to keep drivers interested and invested.
Similar things happen with major grocery stores. Now that groceries are delivered to people with vans, there are plenty of drivers who have migrated over to working in this capacity. They too are often seduced by the perks, holidays, and easier life that comes with being a warehouse worker.
Some Drivers Retire
There are some drivers who don’t bother with their career after they finish driving. Some simply retire. If they have been doing the job long enough, then they have enough money saved, have enough investments, and have a big enough retirement fund to allow them to retire. They may take up part-time jobs while retired, but they are often far removed from driving jobs.
Transport Management and Logistics
Some drivers stay within the company they work for and move into the transport management and/or logistics department. As they work, drivers often gain a very good and deep understanding of how the system works. Companies often prefer to hire from within, especially when the drivers show knowledge and expertise on how the systems work.
On a similar note, some drivers move away from driving and become loaders and unloaders. This sometimes happens anyway when a driver loses their license and the company decides to keep them on. In other cases, drivers simply stop driving and become loaders/unloaders because they have lots of experience in that area and there is something about the job they like.
Mechanic or Vehicle Inspector
There are fewer and fewer drivers becoming mechanics these days, probably because the way vehicles are built and fixed has changed so much. These days, parts are custom built for each vehicle, and much of what is done is computerised.
Some drivers stay within a company and become vehicle inspectors or vehicle maintenance people. Just like the unloader/loader and logistics jobs, a driver often moves over to vehicle inspecting because there are available jobs within the company they work for. Many drivers of larger vehicles have to do their own checks before taking vehicles out, so the transition from driver to inspector/maintenance person is pretty smooth.
Machine Operator and Crane Operator
There are many varieties of machine operating that work in a similar way to a car. Some have described operating a crane like trying to drive two cars at once. Since the most skilled drivers are often very coordinated, they can take to crane training very well. Similarly, with the right type of coordination and spatial awareness, some drivers take to becoming machine operators very well. Not only are they good at the job, but they often find it far easier than other people do.
Do Drivers Go On To Higher Education?
In the 90s and 00s, drivers would have kept their jobs as long as they could, often moving up to bigger and better wages. These days, younger and middle-aged people are able to get driving jobs. They can start small with food deliveries and move all the way up to heavy goods driving. Young people can become bus drivers and work their way up to very good wages in whichever direction they wish.
These days, if drivers are able to pass the various types of license required for the many types of driving, they are also able to pass exams on online courses and get real qualifications. Again, the move from driver to higher education and new careers is due to there being more younger and middle-aged drivers.
Getting into the driving profession is not as difficult as it used to be. Getting experience is far easier, so people can move up and carve out a good driving and trucking career. Thanks to the wide variety of distance learning online courses available, people are also able to get a higher education, take exams, and expand their careers in almost any direction they wish.