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My Year as an Uber Driver

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

I kicked off my Uber adventure not long after it was first launched in Perth. My son Oscar was approx three, or maybe four years of age, so I'd wager it was late 2016 or early 2017. Time flies when you're having... well, read on, you'll see.

The Prelude: The Not-So-Great Escape

Flashback to before my Uber days: I hadn't worked since November 2015. I left a steady gig at Macquarie Bank because my boss and I mixed about as well as oil and water. Imagine eleven years in a role, surviving multiple changes of ownership, relocations, and the whole corporate rollercoaster, only to find that the top seat was now occupied by someone who thought 'supportive leadership' was a myth. Despite these challenges, I rose from a mere Temp in the Finance Team to a Tech Ops Leader - a journey less about climbing the corporate ladder and more about playing corporate snakes and ladders.

Looking back, I see I was low on confidence. A new boss in my last year, let's call him Mr. Sunshine, didn't get me. He was more of a bulldozer than a boss, and our relationship deteriorated to the point where "performance management" became our daily soap opera. When Mr. Sunshine took a leave of absence, I rediscovered happiness and productivity. But as luck would have it, his return was my cue to exit, stage left.

I'd threatened to leave a few times prior to this, buoyed by a team that actually knew the meaning of support. But with Mr. Sunshine, every day was a rerun of 'Clash of the Titans'.

The Home Front: Toddler Tantrums and Sleepless Nights

At home, life was its own kind of circus. Oscar, around two at the time, was developing a personality faster than I could keep up. My parenting journey was more 'Survivor' than 'Full House'. Oscar, the cat napper, made full nights of sleep as rare as a peaceful day in politics. His energy levels could power a small city, and he was as inquisitive as a detective, turning our home into his personal investigation scene.

The plot twist? Both Oscar and I had ADHD, a revelation that came later (2023), like a delayed 'aha' moment.

Life Before Fatherhood: The Chaotic Symphony

Before the dad life, my existence was... let's say, 'creatively unstructured'. I was a maestro of disorganisation, had an allergy to routines, and was familiar with the blues. I enjoyed a drink or two (or more), and 'moderation' wasn't in my vocabulary. My wife and I, pre-Oscar, were the poster couple for DINKs (Double Income, No Kids). We lived a carefree life where spontaneity was our compass, and travel plans were as fluid as our choice of wine.

The Perfect Storm: When Life Gives You Lemons...

Combine all these elements, and you find yourself in a scenario akin to being trapped in quicksand. That period of my life felt like being mired in an ever-deepening pit of despair. Each effort to escape only sank me deeper into a morass of depression and disconnection. My world had dwindled to just my wife and son. Looking back, I see myself trapped in a treacherous swamp of mental quicksand, where every attempt to climb out seemed futile. The more I struggled, the deeper I sank into this murky, suffocating bog of gloom. To onlookers, I might have appeared like a languid soul, simply too idle to pull myself together and get back on track (and get a job). Little did they know, it was like fighting an invisible force that kept pulling me under. That force was undiagnosed ADHD.

Then, in 2017, like a plot twist in a sitcom, Uber entered stage right.

The Uber Chronicles: Steering Towards Hope

On a whim, with the kind of research typically reserved for choosing a brand of toothpaste, I signed up to be an Uber driver. From the very first ride, I found something unexpected: relief. It was like opening a window in a stuffy room. Passengers were curious about my story, and I was equally intrigued by theirs. Each fare was like a mini therapy session, except with scenic views and less couch time.

Over that year, I must have clocked in around a thousand rides. Financially, let's just say I wasn't giving Bezos a run for his money, but each conversation, each shared journey, was invaluable. I found solace in these transient connections, lifting myself, one fare and one heart-to-heart at a time.

The Comeback: Rediscovering My Groove

Within months, my perspective started to shift, and a newfound confidence began to emerge, reminiscent of a cautious cat venturing back into familiar territory. Things at home were also improving. About a year later, I cautiously re-entered the workforce, securing a part-time consulting job with some former colleagues from Macquarie who had started their own business. Life gradually began to resemble normalcy, and as my "little business venture" started to flourish and I gained more clients, I found myself increasingly busy. The quicksand that had once held me captive had dried up, freeing me from its grasp.

So there you have it, Uber didn't just give me rides; it gave me a ride back to life.

Next time: In my next update, I'll explore the ongoing journey. Life, it seems, is a path where quicksand lurks unexpectedly, ready to ensnare you when you least expect it. Despite my progress, I've found myself periodically caught in these hidden traps, a stark reminder that the journey is never a straight path. Each encounter with these challenging patches has been a test of resilience, a struggle to pull free and continue moving forward. It's a continuous process of navigating and avoiding these treacherous spots on the road of life. Stay tuned for more on this unpredictable, yet enlightening journey.

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