Bloodwork: Meet the former nurse who is making driving a family affair
For seven years, Renee Thompson spent her days–and many long ones at that–at the local hospital caring for patients as a registered nurse. The job was demanding, and over time, took its toll on Renee both mentally and physically.
“I was always exhausted,” she says. “And when I wasn’t working, I never wanted to do anything or go anywhere. It was a lot.”
So when the doctor she’d been working for decided to hang up the stethoscope and step into retirement, Nurse Renee believed a change was in store; something that would offer more flexibility, better financial stability, and scenery that would never become dull. She decided to become a truck driver.
After all, Renee was no stranger to the trucking industry. Renee’s husband, Austin, has been a driver for 10 years and her uncles and cousins have all made their own careers behind the wheel.
There was just one problem.
“I was terrified of trucks,” she says.
Fortunately for Dot Transportation, that didn’t stop Renee. She enrolled in driving school in late 2019 at the age of 38 and slowly but surely realized that she had what it takes to make it on the open road. Once licensed and trained, Renee began her DTI career as a part-time driver, then a full-time driver, and finally a driver trainer out of DTI’s Chicago DC as of October 2021. And Renee believes her initial apprehension has helped her relate to and train fellow drivers.
“To new drivers I’d say get over your fears and just do it. You never know until you try. It took me 13 years, and I wish I would’ve started sooner.”
And Renee had no problem instilling this hit-the-road-running philosophy on one of her earliest recruits and trainees: her sister, Tanisha Davis. Tanisha saw first-hand how her sister’s new career path had rejuvenated her. She was happier. She was more energetic. She was full of life.
“Tanisha saw how Dot elevated me and how I was able to manage home and work,” Renee says. “I was able to do a lot more things in my free time. Trucking is a hard job, sure, but you’re not drained at the end of the day.”
According to Renee, her sister is less stressed and smiling and laughing more than ever before in her new role as a DTI driver.
“And we’re closer than we’ve ever been,” Renee adds.
Renee shines in her role as driver trainer and takes a lot of pride in helping future DTI drivers, like her sister, quite literally put their wheels in motion. As much as she loved the view from the driver seat, riding shotgun has its own benefits.
“Giving up control of the truck was challenging at first, but I’m okay with that now,” she says. “I enjoy the gratification of helping trainees progress and become successful full-time employees. It makes me proud to see. Dot drivers are happy. Genuinely happy.”
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