Occupation: Truck driver
When the economy got bad it was really tough to pay the bills.
So when my brother started a trucking company, I learned how to drive a truck and got my commercial driver's license and headed to North Dakota to work. I live in St. Paul, Minn., so I drive 600 miles to Belfield, North Dakota to work for two weeks each month.
I make $30 an hour driving water to well sites, and we work a lot of hours.
I see hundreds of drivers a day, and one or two are women. That means when there's a women's bathroom, it's going to be really clean. I never fear for my safety in terms of violence against women. I feel protected and taken care of. But there are always gonna be a few guys who say, `What are you doing out here?' and wait for me to screw up.
My first week, I cried three times -- once because I was humiliated when I couldn't back up my truck to a tank while people were watching, another because I was just so frustrated I couldn't make my truck do what I wanted it to do, and the third because my trailer almost slid off the road. But I haven't cried since that first week.
I used to live in my truck. I would pee in a coffee can, clean up at truck stops and shower once every four days. That was really hard, but then my employer got me housing, so now I pay $250 a month to share a two-bedroom trailer with 12 stinky guys who don't clean up after themselves and snore really loudly.
But every single guy I love. I'm a real softie at heart. [My previous job in] social work prepared me beautifully for all of this, with so many people from all over the world who have all different backgrounds. I feel like I can talk to anyone.
NEXT: Meredith Remmich