I'm seriously mulling getting a CDL and becoming a driver. The downside is that for the first year or two, at least, I'd have to do long haul driving, which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. On the down side, it can be a rather unhealthy lifestyle, you tend to work long hours, it's nigh impossible to lead any type of regular social life, and you're away from home 90% of the time. On the up side, the pay is decent and you get to travel all over the country and see places you might otherwise never get to visit. Long haul truckers are always in demand because it's a job that always need doing everywhere and not many people are up to doing it. There are companies that will train you, pay you while they train you, and pay for your CDL test, in exchange for agreeing to work for them for at least a set period of time after you pass your test, usually a year or 15 months or so. After that, you can keep working for them or work for someone else. Alternatively, you could pay for training and the test yourself and not be under contract to work for anybody after the test, but you're still probably going to have to work long haul for a year or two because you're not going to get a local CDL driving job with no experience.
So, assuming I go through with this, the plan is that I'll wait until late February or March then quit my current job and hook up with a company that will train me and pay me while they're doing it. I don't want to do it now because I don't want to take the chance of getting sent to Minnesota or North Dakota or something while I'm still learning the ropes and have to untarp (a process that can take half an hour or longer) in 0 degree temperatures. Conversely, I don't want to start in the summer and have to untarp in Houston in 105 degree temperatures with the sun beating on me while just starting out. Both are scenarios I may well have to face eventually, I just don't want to face them while still wet behind the ears. Anyway, I'll do long haul for 2 years or so, then try to get a local driving job where I can be home on a regular basis and lead a more regular life again. If I wind up hating the job I can always go back to what I am doing now, plus having a CDL is a very useful tool that opens up jobs that are not all driving, but require someone who has a CDL in case driving a big rig is needed.
If I do go through with it, I'll report back here and give you stories from the open road. Also, I'll need a spiffy handle like Dirty Frog or something for my fellow truckers to call me by (or maybe that's just in the movies ).