While others dream of working in IT, after working for several years as a programmer Dmitry decided to become a truck driver. Though he had good prospects in the technology industry, it is transport which made him feel alive.
As we can read on the Belarusan website dev.by, Dmitry was born in a small town in the Vitebsk region, in the northern part of Belarus, near the Russian, Latvian and Lithuanian borders. As he says himself, it is quite a distant corner of the world. Becoming a programmer is not a common thing in the country in that region.
The times were very difficult: low payouts, almost no one could afford a computer. Our IT teacher organized additional programming lessons on Saturdays, that’s where everything started. I studied Pascal, BASIC, and we wrote the algorithms on paper’, Dmitry tells his story.
$150 a month to begin with
Dmitry worked very hard during his studies. In the second year, he met a friend of his friend, who first worked as a programmer in the States, and later returned to Minsk and started his own business. He trusted him and offered him to work for his company.
At first, I earned 150-200 dollars. After all, I was a beginner, I didn’t know much. But I learned a lot, my boss gave me a book about Visual Basic, from which he later examined me. Sometimes I would come to work on weekends. I didn’t complain, after all I was learning’, says the programmer.
After a couple of months, his payment increased to 300-350 dollars, later it reached 1800 dollars. He sometimes had to work 18 hours shifts, but, as he says, it was worth it.
But something went wrong
Work in IT was everything to him – he devoted to it all his free time, he neglected his studies. He studied at work and benefited from it more than from studying at the university.
Of course, the work was sometimes boring and monotonous, especially when I had to work on someone else’s project and look for mistakes in it.
Why, then, a young man, whose income during one year increased 12 times and reached almost 2,000 dollars, which is really good money in Belarus, decided to change his profession so dramatically?
For some time, my payoff had ceased to grow, quite the opposite – it kept falling. There were less and less interesting and profitable orders. My work wasn’t satisfactory any longer’, Dmitry tells dev.by.
Why did he choose transport?
I had been making some extra money in this industry since the beginning of my studies. Mainly in furniture transport. There was continuously less work in IT, and more in transport. I was thinking about another IT company, but I really got into driving’, says the programmer.
To this day, he remembers some funny moments from his new job. Especially when he told his clients that he was a programmer. He laughed watching their jaws drop in disbelief.
It often happened that I would deliver someone a computer, and it wouldn’t turn on. I would offer my help. And the client would ask me suspiciously: „Do you know this stuff?” So I would answer: „Sure! Hey, I’m a programmer.” Then the surprised client would ask: „A programmer?! You don’t have cash, or what?!” I would say: „I just want to have a life” ‚, says Dmitry.
Good earnings in cash and no stress
In Belarus, just like in many other countries, there is a gray zone. Employees receive some of their money „under the table”. This means a lot to many people because they can have cash on a daily basis.
What I liked about the driver’s job was that I could receive money every day. And it was really good money’, says the programmer.
Still, what he enjoyed most was the lack of any stress at work.
In my new job I felt great. I wasn’t as preoccupied, as when I was while working with computers. No stress. I needed some time off, I took some time off. I needed to go to the university for an exam or to talk to a professor – no problem! And no one had a grudge against me’, he adds.
Another important factor which contributed to his decision was the fact that programmers tend to keep it pretty much to themselves. They don’t talk to people because they don’t have time for it, they spend all their time in front of their computer. As a driver, he felt better in this respect – he could communicate and meet new people.
The transport is like this: every day you meet new people, see new faces. Interesting things happen all the time, there is movement, there is life’, he argues.
It was tough, but transport won
At some point, Dmitry decided to buy his first own car for work – a bus for transporting loads up to 3 tons. The choice was deliberate, it could contain the furniture for a standard 3-room flat.
He quickly established a reputation, created a customer base and bought another two vehicles. And then he got drafted to the army. After he came back, he had neither clients nor orders. The market had changed a lot, many competitors had appeared. All because of the act „On stimulating economic activity”, which encouraged people to start up their own business activities.
I saw trucks standing in the parking lots, sometimes up to 30, which hadn’t been carrying any load for quite a while. The newbies didn’t know the market and they really spoiled it’, he claims.
Then Dmitry thought about returning to work in IT. He bought a lot of books and began to learn again. However, the transport won.
I have never regretted it’, says Dmitry.
The calculation of benefits and losses is very simple. In addition to the freedom that a truck driver’s job offers, what matters is also the money.
A programmer earns $25-30 an hour. But one day has only 24 hours. You can’t bite off more than you can chew’, the driver laughs. ‚And in transport I can grow, I can buy new trucks, hire people’, he adds.
The boss who keeps driving
Dmitry now manages a thriving transport company. As he claims, you can’t manage a company if you didn’t drive a truck yourself. It helps to objectively evaluate the work of other people.
When you have spent some time on the road yourself, you understand people and know their problems. You don’t expect the impossible from your employees. That is why to this day I still drive myself’, he explains.
5 years ago, Dmitry made himself New Year’s „man” gift. That is what he uses to go on the road and deliver loads. And he enjoys life, freedom, peace.
Dmitry now makes as much as money as programmers, but he feels he is alive.
I realize I’m taking a risk. Once I had an accident. It was a miracle that I survived. The car had to get scrapped, it couldn’t be repaired. It’s nothing though, I bought a new one. And I keep driving’, he says with optimism.