Trucks at Work

Hard work is still at the heart of it all

If you pilot big rigs to make a living, you know what “hard work” is all about, for a 14 hour work day, with 10 hours set aside for driving, is nowhere near easy street, especially when dealing with treacherous winter weather.

And if you maintain trucks for a living – even though that’s become a highly-computerized profession – you also know what “hard work” is all about, especially when the clock is ticking on a repair.

Even the folks in the “back office” of trucking companies – dispatchers, load planners, customer service reps, you name it – know what “hard work” is all about, because when Mother Nature turns sour, they’re the ones scrambling to keep freight on time and get drivers unstuck where possible.

Thus it should come as no surprise to anyone that the ability to perform “hard work,” especially in stressful conditions, is what many Americans still believe is a “critical differentiator” in personal success, ahead of even economic conditions and government policies.

According to the 25th annual Heartland Monitor Poll conducted by the Allstate Insurance Company and National Journal magazine, some 64% of Americans determination and hard work are the most important “success factors” today – and that’s up from 57% in 2009.

"Our latest Heartland Monitor Poll reaffirms our prevailing American values of hard work, resilience and creativity," noted Harriet Harty, executive VP of human resources for Allstate, in a statement.

"Our country is rebuilding because individuals are taking their future into their own hands and working hard to make a good life for themselves and their families," she added.

This year’s Heartland poll surveyed a national sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and over, with 500 reached via cell phone and 500 via landline, and asked a wide variety of questions from their outlook for the U.S. economy to whether it’s still possible to live the “American Dream.”

Here are some of the poll’s findings:

  • During the next 12 months, 71% of respondents believe the United States economy will improve or stay the same, though a quarter (24%) think it will become worse.
  • In terms of viewpoints of the U.S. economy post Great Recession, more than half of Americans (53%) believe the economy looks and works differently from before the recession, whereas 43% say it looks the same as it was prior to the recession.
  • In rating the current state of the economy, 78% of Americans say it is fair to poor, compared to 21% who believe it is excellent or good.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) believe they are living the American Dream, compared with 59% in March 2011.
  • Yet 54% of Americans currently rate their personal financial situation as fair or poor.
  • Adults who claimed they can live comfortably and save adequately for retirement increased by 10% since the Great Recession of 2008/2009. Nevertheless, 46% percent of respondents still say they currently find it difficult to save and invest for retirement and other purposes.
  • Most people polled believe say owning a home (63%) and graduating from college (62%) are just as achievable as of January this year as they were in March 2011.
  • However, they say that "raising a family and making sure they have more opportunity than you did" is less achievable today; only 55% agree compared to 65% in 2011.
  • Here’s a key metric for trucking firms trying to recruit more drivers and technicians: some 52% of respondents say young people do not need a four-year college education in order to be successful. This belief is similar for Americans with a college degree (52%) and those who do not have a college degree (53%).
  • Nearly six in 10 Americans or 57% believe personal debt creates obstacles.
  • Some 55% of Millennials surveyed in this most recent Heartland poll think their generation has more opportunities than their parents.

Interesting stuff for trucking firms to chew on, I think.

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