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Stepping off the Corporate Ladder and into the Cab

Melissa Wolf, known as “Wolfie,” on a CB radio, now spends about 4 weeks at a time in her brand new, bright turquoise truck, usually running up and down the Midwest, stopping at various warehouses and truck stops along the way.

Melissa "Wolfie" Wolf with her turquoise semi truck
Melissa “Wolfie” Wolf with her turquoise semi truck. Photo: AZCentral Republic

Her best friend, Goose, an American hairless terrier has been by her side since she switched careers in 2019. At the time that Wolf entered the industry, about one in 10 OTR drivers were women, according to the Women in Trucking Association. This figure has grown substantially over the years

After spending years climbing the corporate ladder at Starbucks Borders Books, and Carvana, Wolf, who is now 37, decided it was time for a change. She noted that while she found her previous corporate jobs fun, they were also unrewarding. She wasn’t a fan of office politics, of being tied to a desk, or of her managers always being right there.

Melissa’s dad was an OTR trucker, so the industry wasn’t completely foreign to her. She recalls watching him come home in is truck, awed by how big and loud it was. “It seemed like, man, you have to be really powerful to drive one of those,” she remembered.

As a child and young adult, she didn’t see herself behind the wheel of a big rig, but after years of corporate work, she heard the calling of the open road, and she answered that call without looking back.

“You know, I’ve kind of found my thing,” she said. “I’ve been in a lot of industries, and this is it for me. Trucking is my life.”

She also noted that she currently makes more money than she ever did in her former corporate roles.

Over the past few years, she had the opportunity to haul a variety of cargo including tools, appliances, grocery items, industrial-sized rolls of toilet paper and more. At a former company, she drove a reefer truck carrying fruits, vegetables, meats and ice cream.

To keep her mind occupied on the road, she chats on the CB, catches up with friends and family on the phone, and listens to audiobooks, podcasts, and Spanish lessons through the rig’s speakers. She also talks to her road buddy, Goose.

“I think I was meant to do it,” she said.

On her TikTok account, Wolf found a community after a lifetime of feeling like a black sheep, or in her words, “kind of a weirdo.”

“I mean that in a good way,” she added. “I wanted to make videos to also help other weird people feel welcome, and then also to encourage women and minorities to get into trucking, because I didn’t come from a wealthy family.”

She added that the profession doesn’t require a college degree and that there are generally programs to help fund trucking school.

“And so, I saw trucking as a way up, like to get into the middle class or to the upper middle class.”

She moved into her truck a few months ago with the odometer reading just 116 miles. “These trucks usually go two million miles or more,” she said. So, it would seem she’s in it for the long haul.

 

Source: AZCentral Republic