Today we bring you another great guest post from Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women In Trucking, Inc.
You might have spent your childhood in the suburbs or maybe you grew up in a rural area. Perhaps you were born in a small town. Regardless of the size of the community where you were raised, you probably have an emotional connection to the neighborhood of your youth.
As a child, you stayed pretty close to home, but as grew older your community expanded. Today, you might get home for a visit and you look at how your former home and the houses on the block have changed.
You might consider your neighborhood a community, but Wikipedia further defines community as, “a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion.” This goes beyond a physical location as it extends to friends, family members and even strangers who have something in common with you.
The trucking industry can be defined as a community. Sure, you have friends and co-workers who you enjoy spending time with when you’re on the road, but this community is much larger.
Just like your childhood neighborhood, your community was defined by boundaries. Maybe you lived in a subdivision and you felt connected to everyone in your perimeter. If you lived in a small town, your boundaries might have been the north side of Main Street or the east side of the railroad tracks. You connected more to those in your immediate area, your community.
Although the trucking industry has social cohesion, there are many more communities within this industry. For some of you reading this, your connection could be your carrier, your labor union or in the case of Women In Trucking Association, it could be your gender.
Some communities related to trucking are connected by their role, such as a carrier’s owner or CEO as opposed to a company driver. The corporate CEO might have been a driver at one time and still has ties to that community, or maybe he or she has never driven a truck and will always be an outsider to the driver community.
Often, we cannot fully appreciate some of the communities within our industry that do not share our common values. This creates greater boundaries between the groups, despite the cohesiveness within the trucking industry as a whole. As a child, you might have avoided certain areas of town (community) because you were unfamiliar with the residents due to differences (race, income, religion).
Now, despite your common values, you might still avoid other groups because you unsure if they share your values, your interests and your goals. This could be the reason the industry as a whole does not always appear to be as connected as one might find in other careers. Are professional drivers a brotherhood or sisterhood similar to firefighters, steel workers, teachers, or other occupations?
No, the trucking industry is much more segmented and lacks the sense of community many other occupations embrace. From company drivers to owner-operators to teamsters to private fleet drivers, there are boundaries that appear to separate these groups more than we would anticipate.
According to Wikipedia, the word “community” is derived from a Latin word that indicates fellowship. The fellowship between the different communities (groups) that make up the trucking industry could be stronger. Instead of looking at the differences between the groups, we could focus more on the same issues and concerns we share.
For everyone within the trucking industry, we share some common goals. We all feel the need to elevate our image and we want to get the support and the respect we deserve. We need to show those outside of our industry that we are all professionals and that the goal of transporting goods to the consumer is much more important than they realize.
So, we can find common ground to base our sense of community. Instead of focusing on the differences between the many groups within the trucking industry, isn’t it time we started removing some of those boundaries and working together in a larger capacity? The only way we will be able to further our mission to increase the awareness and importance of trucking and elevate the professional image is to work together.
What if we were to focus on our common values and our social cohesion instead adding more boundaries? Let’s remember that we are more than an industry, we’re a community.