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What do a coach and a truck driver have in common?


Would you believe me if I told you that a breakdown truck driver has the same strengths and values as a coach? Well, it's true. Let me introduce you to Steve.

This weekend, I was travelling to Essex when my car had a tyre blow out in the fast lane of the M25. Thankfully, I was able to manoeuvre onto the hard shoulder with relative ease. As a woman on her own, I was given priority by the AA which meant a minimal wait of ... two hours on the side of the busiest, noisiest motorway in the UK. Now, the AA advise that you wait outside your vehicle which meant that I was pretty cold but really grateful it wasn't raining (I had no waterproofs in the car - note to self). It wasn't a nice wait but unlimited lives on Candy Crush kept me from going completely crazy.

Introducing Steve

After two hours of obliterating candies in the cold, the flashing angel lights of the breakdown truck appeared on the horizon. Enter Steve. Steve was probably in his 60s, clearly a smoker and swore a lot. He took one look at me and said "Give me your car keys and go get in my truck. It's warm."

Once he'd loaded my car onto the truck we set off, with Steve explaining that his job was to take me to the nearest services and deposit me and the car to wait for the AA. So, more waiting but hopefully in a warmer, safer place. We arrived at the services and Steve was halfway through unloading my car when he opened the cab door and said to me "Do you know what? I know a tyre place about 20 minutes away. I'll ring them and see if they're still open and they'll have you back on the road in 10 minutes. Better than waiting for the AA"

A lot of swearing and banter ensued on the phone as Steve ascertained that they could fit me in and he then drove me to the tyre place. He asked the "lads" to take care of me and to check the car over thoroughly, in case there was some other damage, before putting me back on the road.

When I arrived at my friend's house in Essex, she was flabbergasted that I bounded into her house, full of energy, after my terrible journey. But the truth was I'd been rescued by someone who was fulfilling their strengths and values in a job that, on the surface, seems pretty mundane. I found that energising. Having spent only about 45 minutes with Steve, here are what I think his strengths are:

  • Rapport Builder - he made me feel like an old friend as soon as he turned up;
  • Humour - "I can see what's wrong with your car. It's a Skoda;”
  • Adventure - the furthest "job" he'd been on was delivering a bullet-proof car to Russia, with his own bodyguard;
  • Resolver - quickly deciding that the best course of action was to get me to the tyre place before it closed;
  • Narrator - he was full of stories of his truck-driving adventures.

Values are, of course, harder to fathom than strengths as they are more hidden. However, I'd make a strong bet that Steve had a value in kindness, compassion or service and that's WHY he drives a breakdown truck. Not because he likes driving or has a penchant for the M25.

So What?

So, what's the point of this story? Well, Steve's strengths and values are VERY similar to mine. I find mine are fulfilled through coaching and Steve finds his fulfilled through driving a breakdown truck.

What does this tell you about your career? I'll tell you. Don't pigeon-hole yourself to one career possibility. If the same strengths and values can be lived out in careers as far apart as a coach and a truck driver, imagine the possibilities that are out there for you.

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