“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
To say that Jamarcus Haynes is driven would be an understatement.
“I love it. It’s the best choice I’ve made,” he said about being a truck driver. Haynes, 26, from Meridian, came to find his life’s career through Meridian Community College.
The desire reached back to when he was a child while traveling on the interstates. “I used to wave my hands, and the truck drivers would blow the horns all the time. I fell in love with the big rigs,” he remembered.
“I said, ‘One day. I want to become a truck driver.’ And when I got the perfect opportunity to, I couldn’t pass it down.”
Opportunity rolled in when Haynes came to MCC. He enrolled in a special program – MI-BEST - that was offered through a national grant and the Mississippi Community College Board where students went through a fast track of gaining work and college-readiness skills so they could move through school and onto living wage jobs faster.
Within MI-Best, he was able to enroll in MCC’s Commercial Truck Driving Program and in eight weeks gained the skills needed to drive tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. The program is a combination of classroom and actual road driving that includes Department of Transportation rules and regulations, safety, proper shifting, logbooks, preparation of paperwork, map reading and handling cargo.
“He was an excellent student,” said Otis Gowdy, MCC Commerical Truck Driving Program coordinator and instructor. “He came in with a mission and he stuck with it. And right now, he’s living his dream,” Gowdy said.
Haynes has done just that. He’s been employed with Total Transportation of Mississippi where he has advanced to a dedicated lane status. “I leave out Monday, and I’m back on Friday,” he said, explaining in that time he travels to Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi.
It can be challenging to be on the road away from family, Haynes admitted. “But it will open up opportunity. You’re going to make good money to take care of your family,” he added. And, he said, his family has been supportive along the way. Before coming to MCC, he said he was working minimum wage jobs, “so I had to change career paths if I wanted to do some more exciting things.”
There’s been another benefit for Haynes; getting to see a different part of the country. “Still, this allows me to see different parts of the world.
“I love it,” he added.
Photo: Jamarcus Haynes loves his career of truck driving.