Ben Lowry: Long distance drivers are now well paid ... which reminds me of a job idea I have long had

A woman on Radio Ulster yesterday spoke about having given up her job as an accountant to start a new life, away from the pressures of “spending all my time at work”.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Saturday, 4th September 2021, 5:01 am
A shortage of lorry drivers means that they are in demand and can now earn more than £55,000 a year

She wants to take time to think about what to do next.

It reminded me of a teacher at school who told us boys that he wanted to become a postman.

He said it would mean that he would have no stresses and strains, he would get daily exercise, start early in the morning for his delivery rounds and finish the day early too.

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To a boy of 17, with a world of dreams and promise ahead, my teacher’s plan sounded appalling — like the death of ambition.

Gradually over the years I have come to understand well his thinking and have pondered a similar course. This very week I met a teacher who had given up after decades to become a trades person.

I have often thought that if I was to have a completely different job, I would like to be a long distance lorry driver. I have enjoyed driving since I passed my test aged 17.

In particular I enjoy mega drives, across whole countries. I have driven to visit family and friends in southern France many times over the last 20 years.

My dad once said it was crazy to spend so long on a holiday getting to and from the destination, but I told him that for me the motoring and ferries were all part of the pleasure.

Hence why I quite seriously have considered driving as a job. In America in 2008 I was on a greyhound bus and got talking to the driver, who had been a financial professional before wanting a change in his 50s, and re-training.

Now I read that there is such a shortage of lorry drivers that they are well paid — in some cases £55k (more than my own salary!) — the idea is all the more intriguing.

I do not in fact intend to leave journalism, which I still love. Also, I have never been heavier than I have been from the start of lockdown, since when my exercise levels have plunged.

Driving might mean that I was even more inactive and leave me morbidly obese.

But I well understand the impulse that so many people have for a change of work direction.

Ben Lowry (@Benlowry2) is News Letter acting editor

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Ben Lowry

Acting Editor