“Once you get in, you can’t get out.”  That’s what you hear from folks that have been in the logistics industry for years.  Those same people can quickly spot the rookies who aren’t going to make it; the logistics vets are in the corner saying, “That poor kid, he just can’t handle it.”  The international trade and logistics industry certainly isn’t for the faint of heart (or the sane, for that matter).  But, if that’s the case, why is it that so many stick around?

Here are a few reasons we just can’t quit:

  1. Every day is different:  This is the understatement of the year!  Every HOUR is different.  I’m not only talking from a Customs broker’s perspective; this applies to every party along the supply chain – importers, exporters, truckers, you name it.  A typical day for an importer might sound something like this:  “Oh, great, there’s another Customs regulation coming out next week.  Let me call my broker.  No, wait.  Our shipment just got pulled for an exam and it was super-hot; I just can’t wait to call my customer, I’m sure she will be thrilled!  No, wait.  Another GRI?  I swear I’m going to…What, a strike?  Are you kidding me?”  This is a pretty “typical” day, believe it or not.
  2. You know you’re playing a major role in the world economy:  Your friends are showing off their kid’s latest toy that was made in China (where else) and you’re thinking:  “You have no idea of what it takes to get this thing in your child’s sticky hands.”  Now, let’s get real:  According to the International Trade Administration, trade accounts for more than 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) globally and, in the US alone, total trade was $5.0 trillion in 2012.  Duties, taxes and fees are in the top 2 highest revenue generating categories for the US government.  Top that.
  3. People don’t understand what you do for a living:  You try to explain it until you are blue in the face and your friends stare at you, with that puzzled look, nod, smile, and say, “Well, that sounds really interesting.”  Quiz them next time they say that because you know they don’t get it.  What?  These things don’t just magically appear on the shelves at Target?  Logistics is mysterious.  I am convinced my husband of over 10 years still doesn’t know what I do for a living, and he has taken the quiz several hundred times now!
  4. You have to get way more creative than other industries will ever give you credit for:  People rarely put the words creative and logistics together but everyone in this industry knows that you can’t survive unless you’re creative.  Sure, we’re not designing the latest tech gadget here, but we just re-routed a shipment from India through the Suez Canal to catch a late flight in Milan while pre-clearing and getting a trucker to pick and deliver that precious cargo within 2 hours of touchdown in the US, just so that tech device you love so much could be in your hands when you expect it.  We’re behind the scenes doing logistical acrobatic moves but most would never know it.
  5. We’re crazy:  Yes, a little bit.  Okay, a lot.  Most of the time, you get to work with people that are a lot of fun and have a great sense of humor.  It is the logistics industry, after all!

What are some of the reasons you love logistics? Please share with us below.

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