Dressed for Success: For the Milk Hauler, it’s Function Over Fashion

Winter is a harsh time of year to be a milk hauler, but after 22 years I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help me cope. It’s all in the layers, and the shoes.

Dressing For The Job – Practicality Over Style

Milk hauling is not for the fashion-conscious. You need to dress in clothing that is functional, comfortable and practical. A pair of tough jeans that won’t rip easily and a sturdy pair of shoes are a must. You want your clothing to be serviceable, and don’t expect them to have that fresh-out-of-the-laundry feel for long.

In the summer, company uniform shirt and jeans works well. But a rain slicker and hat is necessary for rainy weather. Forget the umbrella—you need both hands to handle the hoses, agitate the tanks and take milk samples. 

Protect Your Hands and Feet

At Earl T. Wadhams, the company provides slip-on cleats to wear over our boots during the winter months, which help tremendously when you have to walk on ice to get from your truck to the milk-house.

I do like to wear rubber gloves so my hands stay dry when I’m working in the milk-house. No matter how careful you are when you hook up the hose to pump out the milk, you can be sure to find traces of milk oozing out. Therefore, the rubber gloves are a must for me. 

Prepare by Packing Layers and Lunch

Drivers heading out on the road for the first time should make sure to carry an extra set of clothing. You just never know when you’ll need that extra pair of pants or socks.

In the depths of winter I also like to dress in three or four layers to keep warm. After all, the trucks we drive are massive, and a person can’t just pull into somebody’s driveway and say, “Help me – I’m cold!”

I also carry a lunch with me. That way I know I have something fast and healthy to tide me over till I can finish my route and return home. It’s so easy to fall into a routine of eating fast food when you are on the road. Most truck stops are very convenient, clean and have the capacities of housing a truck and trailer, however bringing my lunch with me on the drive makes it that much easier to complete my route. I don’t worry too much about eating at fast food franchises, since they usually don’t want big, heavy rigs in their parking lots. Doesn’t bother me – it’s a good incentive to bring a lunch and stay away from greasy fast food.

The Magic Of Routine

Milk hauling is an incredibly consistent, reliable occupation – perfect for those who feel comfortable in a structured, routine environment. Once you have a few months of experience on the road, you’ll fall in to a rhythm of your own daily and seasonal rules and rituals – one of the true perks of this job. 

 

Paul Elkins

If there’s one thing Paul Elkins knows well, it’s the milk-hauling business. He started with Wadhams on Valentine’s Day way back when he was a fresh-faced 22-year-old. He’s still fresh-faced—it comes from being up with the cows! They have to be milked each day and that milk has to be hauled. Paul is happy to be the one to do it. He loves the people and he loves his job.