167: Cody Curren’s Journey Leaving Oakley Trucking and Finding His Way Back

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Cody Curren, one of our Pneumatic Owner-Operators at Oakley. During the episode, Cody shares his personal story of leaving Oakley a few years ago and making the decision to come back. Jeremy and Cody discuss the challenges Cody faced and the reasons behind his departure, what prompted him to come back, some advice to those who are feeling burnout, handling difficult situations in work-life balance, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Oakley Update: Truck wash receipts (2:40)
  • Cody’s background and experience (4:28)
  • Returning to Oakley (10:30)
  • Reasons for making the decision to come back to Oakley (11:23)
  • Leaving money on the table when leaving Oakley (14:08)
  • The importance of communication and not making rash decisions (20:13)
  • Getting support when struggling with work-life balance (21:03)
  • Oakley’s desire to help the owner-operator (21:55)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com


Cody Curren  00:13

Instead of doing a drastic change I did, get overwhelmed and quit, just step back. If you take two weeks off, take three weeks off whatever it takes to get to it, just step back and breathe and relax and that would have been the right answer for my situation. Just take a month, whatever you have to do, just back up, breathe, regroup, and get your head right. Get your family right, which is the most important thing and then go back to work from there but don’t make a drastic or a rash decision. We are all grown up truck drivers. Everybody gets aggravated to get mad equipment and this is the answer.

Jeremy Kellett  00:45

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley trucking headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner operators and their families by giving them up to date information concerning Oakley trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an insight to outside truck drivers who might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Jeremy kellett director of recruiting here at Oakley trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast, trucking business and family. And we have this podcast happen every week. We have a new one drop on Wednesdays and we try to give you good information to be a successful owner operator, especially in Oakley trucking but anywhere in the business if you can. Today’s episode is really interesting. I got Mr. Cody Curran from Alabama. He is sitting down with me. And he’s an owner operator of ours, a recent comeback owner operator of ours and we’re going to talk about his journey. A little bit about why he left the first time. The reasons behind it. Why is he back now? Some of the consequences, some of the regrets, some of the things I learned, some of the things Oakley he’s learned and it’s just gonna be a good interesting conversation that we’re gonna have with him here in just a minute. But first let’s do the Oakley update sponsored by Arrow Truck Sales.

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Jeremy Kellett  02:40

Okay, here’s the deal and update. today. I’ve been back there talking to dispatch. And they’ve sent out messages. I learned recently on the ELD about receipts. So specifically, truck wash, try to wash receipts, so we’re having a major problem evidently, when we’re when our owner operators are going in and charging washers, whether it’s a trailer or whatever, and not turned into a receipt, then we get a bill a month later. And the girls up and accounting, they’re trying to match everything up, we don’t have a bunch of receipts. So the bottom line is you’re fixing a good, that’s gonna be held out of your settlement. If you don’t turn in a receipt. That’s basically the bottom line I got from this bias because it’s turned into such a mess. And what they really said was, Look, everything you do with that load, turn it in anything you do with that load scale ticket, you know, Bill lading, wash ticket, everything, turn it in and scan it in so everybody can get paid like you’re supposed to pay. So a pretty simple white coat. Yes, sir. You know, turn and everything. That’s been a problem here lately. So, alright, let’s get fired up here with Cody Kern, Alabama and we’re going to talk to him a little bit. Cody, I appreciate you joining me. I know he just finished up orientation for a second time.

Cody Curren  04:06

Yes. Exhilarating.

Jeremy Kellett  04:10

But I appreciate you sitting down with me today. Because, you know, it’s not easy to talk about that. You know, it might be for you. But for a lot of people it’s not easy to talk about the journey of once they were here at Oakley. I quit and now they’re coming back. For we get started on that. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Introduce yourself to our listeners. Well,

Cody Curren  04:29

I’m Cody Curran. Live in Alexandria city, Alabama, Risen from San Antonio, Texas. I got out of high school and went into the military. I was 10 years in the Army. Couple of deployments here and there got out of the army and 96 back when I did get out of the military, there wasn’t any internet. What no cell phones. So dad was like, well come back to Texas and I’m at Fort Benning, Georgia and Columbus. And I’m like, Dad, I get autonomy Friday. I gotta go to work on Monday. So I got a wife and kids and I stayed there. over there and that’s how I continued to be in Alabama but jumped out and gotten a truck and 96 went to truck driving school when I got out the army and drove over the road for about six months for an outfielder at Alabama woke up one day in Los Angeles said, What are you doing to get up army to be home? So I came back and I stayed local for a lot of years and went to work for a real Corporation. Family. Yes, sir. Got a wife, got kids, got hers and mine. We don’t have any. Together. We’re past that. Kids are from 36 to 23 years old. Once on three girls. They’re all up and out of the house. Now we have one grand young. Oh, nice. It’d be a nine. It’s my son’s boy.

Jeremy Kellett  05:38

They are around you.

Cody Curren  05:39

They live in Atlanta. Okay, so not too fun. That’s it off time, home time, we cut a lot of grass and have an adult beverage every now and then swim in the pool. Get a lot of land or something. Getting five and a half acres is not a whole lot. But you gotta cut grass. And it’s too much. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  05:58

I didn’t think it was much. Did you start mowing? Exactly. So let’s just get in and talk about the situation. That happened. You left March 2022. How long were you here the first time

Cody Curren  06:09

just brought out five years out of May June. I’ve been my five year anniversary on

Jeremy Kellett  06:13

it’s been five years, you were here for the first time. And you did end up?

Cody Curren  06:18

My first two years I did end up on Manuel’s board. And then I made the switch from tank to pneumatic. And did that from then on, which is what I’m coming back to now.

Jeremy Kellett  06:27

Coming back to pneumatics. Now yes, sir. Okay, good. Good. Well, glad to have you back. You know, I see you go. But it does happen. Sometimes it does. And it’s we’re all vulnerable to those situations where it just gets loaded up and things change and we move different directions. Let’s talk about your situation. And, you know, after being at a place for five years, and you know, it’s a good place, you’re a good owner operator, what in the world would drive you to quit it.

Cody Curren  06:57

Outside stressors. There’s a lot. That’s time I quit. There was a lot going on. It had been a long winter and was in the middle of COVID. We were trying to run Canadian stuff. And it didn’t stop. There was a rough winter and 22 What I remember Lambda we’d been running up north all year. And I got between the north or you had the pressure. Yes. Yeah. Between the north the pressures, the lack of personnel to go to Canada as in everybody’s got passports or being gone. But when the COVID comes out, people are getting or not getting the shots. Limited it there was a constant push. It’s been a lot of time up there. outside influences, and middle all lists and things going on. And maybe I was running too hard. And my father had a stroke.

Jeremy Kellett  07:48

Where’s he live?

Cody Curren  07:49

He lives in San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, so didn’t do a whole lot from Curtis Bay, Maryland for that. So he gets dinner very often. Not as much as I’d like, but once a year I usually try to take a vacation visit. But that happened. And so you had all those things together and just pushed in and checked in on him and outside and I just liked it too much. A lot of outside pressure. I snapped a little bit too late to step back.

Jeremy Kellett  08:16

Well, we all get, you know, I think to that point where everything is piling up on us, you know, it’s just one situation after another situation. And, you know, we don’t see that a lot of times in here, you know, when we’re in office. And we’re dispatching or we’re recruiting. I mean, we don’t see a lot of that stuff going on. I mean, everybody has it. Oh yeah, that’s life. That’s what we talked about earlier ; life happens. And at some point, it may just get too big of a mountain that you think that quitting is an option. You know, and sometimes it is and sometimes it doesn’t.

Cody Curren  08:58

At the time, it sounded like a great idea. In hindsight, it was kind of stupid, but at the time it was the move that I chose right?

Jeremy Kellett  09:04

So why did you come back?

Cody Curren  09:07

Well, big picture long and short of that, one man needed a job and purchased a new truck. I was at the company that I went to when I left here and the work kind of petered off. It just got slow from five or six days work to three days work if you’re lucky.

Jeremy Kellett  09:28

And did you go back to the local job

Cody Curren  09:30

I did yesterday. I went back to LA went back to the company I was at prior to coming here the first time doing dry bulk and liquid and the work just got slack there and they didn’t have enough to keep somebody busy which is one thing about here if you want to go to work, you will stay busy over here and that’s what I prefer and I like to go I like running that out and back scenario where local scenario don’t work for me and my mom’s a look at his wasting time. You know, I’ve got a 70 hour clock to work and we’re going to work, you know Six hours a day and have something done that we don’t do. I need to go to work. So I come back to work volume, workload, work consistency. And I like to ramble. So

Jeremy Kellett  10:10

was it, you know, a lot of guys that quit. It’s hard for them to make that call to come back. You know, even if they want to, it’s hard to make that call and come back. Was it hard for you to do

Cody Curren  10:26

that at first? It was a thought I had talked myself into. I had something in the works that never panned out and never, you know, calm so I said, Well, I know I can go to work here. On new, I was pretty confident I could anyway, I knew I left on good terms and tried to. And I believe it happened. I made the call. I want to say on Thursday or Friday morning, I made the call and I want to say Monday afternoon or Tuesday after the weekend. Hey, when you want to be here and I’m like, well, here I am. So

Jeremy Kellett  10:54

we know when we get had a good one, you know,

Cody Curren  10:57

got your buffalo

Jeremy Kellett  11:00

we got him to call him back. Let’s go. It’s getting back to work. So yeah, we’re glad you did that. I mean, because it’s not easy for everybody to do to hey, I left them you know, I can’t call him to come back. You know, what if they don’t want me back? What if, but I think there’s a I mean, there’s a it takes some courage and confidence to do it and you realize that was pretty easy. Oh, yeah, it was

Cody Curren  11:27

and I’d been I’d been in contact with my dispatcher Hunter I’ve been talking to him all along anyway, even even from the beginning we developed a pretty good relationship and stay in contact with him and a few of the drivers talking to this one on that one carrying on

Jeremy Kellett  11:42

what some of the things that that you missed while you were going something’s things maybe that we did hear that the other company didn’t do or just things that you missed

Cody Curren  11:54

Things I missed would have been like some work. Well, I don’t mind working locked to go flex. I like to program well. That opportunity was not afforded to me, like saying everything was kind of local or out and back. You didn’t get the opportunities for the long runs. I mean, when I was here, previously, buying wholesale dedicated we’re gonna dedicate No, but I was pretty consistent running out to the northwest and I love it out there. The scenery, though. You know, he’s a pretty man. One of the furthest runs we did was not to Texas on a consistent basis, and that just didn’t stretch it out enough. I did get to go to Madawaska, Maine somewhere I’d never even heard of till I was with this company. So I hold a liquid load all the way to the top of the country. And I was pretty neat going up there. Oh, yeah. Well, that was once

Jeremy Kellett  12:37

We were talking. We were actually trying to think of that yesterday. Me and Cory were talking about this totally off subject. But we were talking about some of the longest loads we’ve ever done at Oakley. And I know we went to Nova Scotia. We went to what is it? Oh, they went way up in Canada. We went to a few emails been here when that was a

Cody Curren  12:59

I never wouldn’t have gone to Nova Scotia and had taken the ferry but that’s the only one I recollect.

Jeremy Kellett  13:04

years ago. We went to Alaska, way up there. But that was a long time ago. I don’t think we’ve done that recently. But that’s a whole nother episode. But it’s fun to talk about because there’s some great, there’s some crazy load with Doug

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Jeremy Kellett  14:08

You know, I guess there’s consequences that happen when you know we leave a company, things happen, you come back, you realize well, that government if I’d stayed there and made it one of the biggest things is the bonus.

Cody Curren  14:22

Yeah, that’s huge. Yeah, that’s huge. I wasn’t aware of it when I left. Obviously of course. I don’t know human nature. When you go to a job you never plan on leaving them. When you do leave a job where you never plan on going back. So you go back well then when you go back you’re exposed to like you said the consequences. The bonus is a big one that I wasn’t aware of. For those of you that don’t know when you come to Oakley, you get a mileage based bonus. There’s 10 cents a mile for your loaded miles that you run for the year. And it goes up a penny year incrementally from there. So if you come and do something, you can make some pretty good anniversary bonus money. When I started initially the bonus was at five cents a mile. And then I won’t say in my third year or rough beginning COVID timeframe is when they did it. They increased that bonus to 10 cents a mile for money they doubled it and then the people that were like said I was at the eight cinnamal Mark Well when they bumped it that nickel I went to 13 cents. The year I left I was working on 14 cents a mile bonus. Like I said I quit in March I would have got my bonus in June. And that’s water and debris now so we are coming back well when you come back. I guess kind of you’re welcome back bonus. A little sleep on a little penalisation whatever you want to call it. They start you back at a nickel a mile bonus. You don’t need to start at the diamond, new hires are but some bonus is still a better known bonus. Most companies don’t give you that, that’s what’s called a bonus. Yeah, but you’re a nickel and you go up incrementally from there.

Jeremy Kellett  15:59

And just so people never heard of that. So what we do is we give an annual bonus to all our owner operators. Whether it’s five or 10 cents but you know, and it’s paid once a year on your anniversary date. You’ve been here a year then we cut you a check for 10 cents times all the loaded miles you ran that past year that was paid mileage. So there’s nothing there’s no catch to it. There’s nothing there. The only way you can lose it is if you quit or you get terminated. Then you lose it you get nothing if you built up 10 months you get nothing you have to be your year to get it and it’s really a great it’s worked great because it has it gives you something to look forward to every year it you know just create a nice good sized check that you wouldn’t look you know you wouldn’t expect and sometimes and it gives and it just keeps increasing every year so good little deal little sidebar there. Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic drivers. We provide the trailer free of charge and you provide the truck. We have a large customer base that reaches the whole United States as well as parts of Canada. Our owner operators live anywhere from Texas to North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and everywhere in between and we get them home weekends. We take it seriously when you join Oakley trucking because we need you to be successful. Oakley offers great benefits and competitive mileage pay so you know that when your wheels are turning, you’re generating money no matter if you’re loaded or empty. We understand that you want to make a good living and that you make our living. We only take on independent contractors and to be honest with you we’re very particular on who we lease on and must have a good driving record and good work used to being a clean, dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just want some more information, you can go to Oakley trucking.com. Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Hobonichi’s wife, what’d she think about her quitting and ain’t coming back.

Cody Curren  18:01

Like most while she was on the fence. Like I told you I had something else in the works. She was kind of hoping that would pan out. And one thing about recruiting here: you’re reaching out, you’re trying to get a job, you’re trying to get information on the job. You’ve got communication, bing, bang, boom, bing, bang, boom, you got communication, that outfit of reaching out to, I’ve sent emails, I’ve made phone calls, and nothing. I’ve gotten nothing, I had an initial contact. That’s a follow up one follow up email, tried to reach out for further information, probably seven, eight times. And I’ve got no response at all whatsoever. Well, I’m like the rest of you all. You buy a truck, you get a truck sitting in the yard or fixed to come in or hit the ground well, when that truck hits the ground, you need somewhere to put it to go to work. I still haven’t heard anything from another company. So now we got a truck, we got a job and we’re gonna go pull the first load tonight or in the morning. So it’s time to go to work, time to go to work. I would go to work to finish that to answer your question with that. She was kind of hoping that would transpire next, it was a little bit slower paced a little bit different work. But on the other hand, she understands why I came back because I am going to work right now. And the money is considerably better, especially in the loan. So here we are making a payment she knows what she’s getting into just like I do and we’re gonna ride

Jeremy Kellett  19:19

Good. Good. What advice would you give me? I’m telling you, there’s probably people out there right now that were in that same situation you were in back in March of 22. Where everything that piling up on them they just felt life was happening you know, parents are having problems things happen that you can’t control and you can’t be there and you’re far away type deal mean that you know it’s a struggle for some people and you know, we need advice isn’t you’ve been through that and we’re all gonna go through it again. But you’ve been through that and can look back and kind of see what happened. Anything you tell somebody that’s going through there right now.

Cody Curren  19:59

All right. i could say, instead of doing a drastic change, like I did, get aggravated and quit, just step back, take two weeks off, take three weeks off, whatever it takes, get to it, just step back and breathe, and relax. And that would have been the right answer to my situation, just take a month, whatever you have to do, just back up, breathe, regroup and get your head right. Get your family right, which is the most important thing and then go back to work from there. But don’t make a drastic or a rash decision. We are all grown ups, we’re all truck drivers. Everybody gets aggravated to get mad and quit. And and and so the answer, you know, Jeremy made a good point earlier to me before the show, just communicate, talk, talk to someone, whether it’s the right one or the wrong or someone talk, and just getting aggravated and blowing it up off the handle and just pulling the plug on the whole thing isn’t necessarily the right answer.

Jeremy Kellett  20:49

You know, I think there’s a lot of things and we talked about this in the office, Cody, but there’s a lot of things Oakley can do differently too. We can be a little more sensitive to these situations. And, you know, if we’re talking to you every day, sometimes we know things are going on. And sometimes we don’t know. Unless you tell us but we sure got it, I think we got to create things here at the company to help us recognize that kind of stuff a little better, because I think you hit the nail on the head, which is what I was gonna say. The way to handle that is to take some time off. Just Hey, you know, I need to take a month off. You know, you want to try over here. I’m gonna go home for a while gotta get you know, my dad’s not doing good. I gotta get some stuff squared away and get you hidden again because I think that’s a big deal when I’m not even looking at you know, you look at it from the safety aspect. Wow. Yeah, yeah. That’s a whole nother you know, deal. So I think he did that. Right. But I think trucking companies can do a better job of handling situations and recognizing and you know, maybe us being the first one to go Cody you need to go home. Go take his time off. No matter what, we’re just listening to you. You know, we just we try we really try when we recognize a problem here at Oakley we do we’ve always said for years I hate get them in here and let’s sit down with them and talk about the situation and see if we can be any help you know at all because you know looking back on that and now I regret not being able to do that. I know we talked a little bit. We did know before you quit but you know I should have recognized a little bit more that there was going on and done something else you know to prevent happening but you know, he’s life and happened. He left you and came back here. We’re back on new track and that’s why

Cody Curren  22:51

we’re gonna have fun all over

Jeremy Kellett  22:54

all over again. We love having fun here. Yes, sir. You got to talk to them pneumatic bulls back there yet? much this week. I only liked them. They probably been avoiding you as

Cody Curren  23:09

well. My dispatchers came up and threatened me if I talked to the other dispatchers and he was gonna disown me because, you know, they said something about they wanted me and I told him I won’t go work for either one of them. I was gonna work for the third one. And they all started a whole marital conflict back there about this

Jeremy Kellett  23:24

group you just went through orientation with I know you had to go back to going take some second time. But it’s been a while since you could have been through what this group that’s coming in.

Cody Curren  23:33

I think it sounds like we got a good group. I think we got a good group. We’ve got one additional pneumatic guy. Three on Hopper three on belts. We had a good mix. Yeah, a couple of guys are younger. Well, I’m getting to that age where it seems like everybody’s younger, but a couple of them are younger, but I think I think you’ll have a good group. Yeah. They seem like really good people. They did. They were good, young, attentive, eager, you know. So hopefully we’re leading the charge this week and would know the following : Randolph told me not to step on his toes. Let him do his thing. So I tried to behave while I was in there all week and let Him lead the charge. He handled it and he does a good job. And he does. Yes, sir.

Jeremy Kellett  24:12

Anything else you’d like to add? Like we covered everything doing?

Cody Curren  24:16

I think we did yesterday. I was like we are just ready to get going and like I said I can’t stress enough. Like he said if you have issues. Wherever division you’re driving in or whatever you drive out if you have any issues mentally or your home life ain’t right. Get right and rethink things. Don’t make a rash decision and go with anything near with anything. Exactly.

Jeremy Kellett  24:38

All right. Well, hey, I appreciate everybody listening to the podcasts. You know, you guys have been great to us. We were gaining subscribers on YouTube and we’re gaining listeners out there and y’all help a bunch. Be sure to tell a friend about it. You know, subscribe to it if you haven’t, and share it to anybody and I know you’re because we’re getting that information. We’re getting phone calls, you know now, where they say, Hey, I heard about your podcast or watching it and I got some questions about Oakley trucking. Because that’s the way we want to reach out to, not only all of our owner operators that are here because that’s the purpose of this episode is to, you know, I try to stay focused on Oakley owner operators because we want them to be successful. I mean, they are our you guys are our life out there and make our living and we want to give you every tool we can to be successful, but also share it with everybody. We want to touch every truck driver out there. So, thanks again for listening to the Oakley podcast. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to write or review the show in the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience. So if you’ve got a question, comment or just want to say hello, head over to our website, the Oakley podcast.com and click the leave a comment button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.