My Friend, the Truck Driver

4 Apr 2016 Karina S. Henkel

I have a dear friend. She is American but with German roots. She is one of the few Americans who actually speaks German and lived in Germany for several years, too. She is a little and agile lady in her mid-sixties with long, white braided hair.

She has a master's degree in chemistry- or was it physics? I don’t know, but it was something very difficult and that required a lot of intelligence. After she moved from Germany back to the US, she apparently had a hard time finding a position in her profession and started working as an administrative assistant. She managed to find a second job as a professional translator and has had these two jobs now for quite a while.

In January she suddenly announced that she wants to become a truck driver. She had already signed up for an expensive class and started it at the beginning of February. Last week I learned that she just passed the written exam and now is on the road in one of these huge trucks, practicing parking and maneuvering them.

I am so impressed with her. She said that she always wanted to work as a truck driver. Nobody knew that this was a very old dream of hers. And she said that she decided that she doesn’t want to work as an administrative assistant for the rest of her work life. She wants to be on the road. She wants to see the US. She wants to sit in a big car and feel powerful. (Okay, she didn’t say the last sentence - that is me putting it into her mouth.)

What I like about her story is not so much that she fulfills her dream, but the fact that she can actually do that. Nobody is telling her that she is too old to do that. She even thinks that she has a good chance to find work as a truck driver because she is a woman and many big companies have to fulfill some kind of a quota. She is in her mid- sixties and changed her career (again) and wants to have another 10 years of fun.

Can you imagine that happening in Germany? I can’t. Well, I certainly don’t like the fact that many old people in the US have to work until they drop dead because their retirement money is not enough to live off. But I like that it is possible for older people to find jobs and that career changes like that are not seen negatively at all.