Pros: Good money all things considered, pretty easy and relaxing when cruising down an open western highway on cruise control
Cons: Out of town all the time, hard to get exercise, can be stressful driving/backing in tight situations, lots of hours on the job - but a lot of those hours are pretty easy
I went through Swift's driving academy in Phoenix, AZ and then drove for them for about a year.
A lot of drivers complain about Swift on forums like this, but I don't agree with most of that negativity. Sure, Swift largely treats its drivers as just cogs in a big machine. Accept that, and work hard to be a productive part of that machine, and Swift will treat you fairly, which is about all you can really expect from a first trucking company. But Swift always did right by me, and by working hard I was able to rise in about 6 months from a "Bronze" driver to Silver, Gold, and finally Platinum, with CPM pay increases at each step. Since I didn't rent or own my home (just paid friends to let me stay with them when I was in town), pretty much all of my earnings went to food on the road, and the rest right into my savings account. Considering that you just need a high school diploma and a clean record to get the job, I was accumulating $$$ at a pretty nice rate.
The biggest downside is that I would be on the road for weeks or months at a time. For a married guy (especially with kids), this would be hard from the start. For a single guy like me, it was fine for a little while, but eventually it was time for me to move on and start making a life for myself, settled down in one location instead of on the road all the time.
Another big downside for me was that I like to exercise, and this was kind of tough on the road. I made due, though. It's possible to get some exercise even on the road if you're creative enough and really committed.
There are a number of little stresses – more... and annoyances with the job, but overall it worked pretty well for the time that I did it. – less