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I-70 over Vail Pass in the winter, with snow covering the trees. © 2021 k. rowan jordan-abrams

Sometimes no matter how well you’re prepared for change to come, it still surprises you.

Last Wednesday, I turned in the truck and my keys and resigned from my job.

I’ve been contemplating what my life will look like after trucking for a while now, but the truth of the matter is that my entire career thus far has been in transportation in one way or another.

The first real job that I got, that lasted more than a few weeks, was as a paratransit driver. Eventually, that led to me becoming a city bus operator, and when I burned out on that, trucking school to acquire my class A commercial driver’s license.

But if I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that I don’t yet know how to avoid burnout.

Indeed, burnout feels intrinsic in some way to the capitalist labour system in the country; inevitable when the only vacation from working sixty hours a week is the time off to move or the time off in between jobs, both of which come with their own stressors. The more that I think about it, the more that I don’t know how I was supposed to not burn out. The additional stressors that the pandemic has put onto the trucking industry were just the tip of the iceberg.

And this time, I decided to stop before any of it got to a breaking point, at least.

But six — seven? I’ve lost count — years in transportation as a driver doesn’t leave me with much by the way of transferable skills to a new job. I’ve registered to go back to community college in the fall and hopefully finish the associate’s degree and the transfer requirements that I quite frankly wasn’t interested in when I went to school the first time around.

And from there? The road, such as it is, should be wide open.

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