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Linked Local Network - Mark Michniak

I was having coffee and talking to some friends this week when I mentioned that I had to wrap-up because I had to start “Ubering”. They both looked at me funny and one of them said “I didn’t know you were driving for Uber, how long have you been doing it?”

Back on December 18, 2018, I was informed that I was going to be out of work effective January 1, 2019 as my company had been sold and my position was being eliminated. I have been let-go from companies before, mostly because the companies were going out of business, and this was the first time it was a complete shock as it came out of no-where! It was hard to take at first for many reasons: 1) I liked where I was working and had no plans to leave, 2) I worked with some really good people, and 3) I really liked the services we offered and that I sold.

Needless to say, I have spent the better part of the last four months looking for a job. I had a short stint with selling insurance as an insurance agent and I quickly found that that was not for me. I have spent more hours than I could count trying to find my next opportunity. I had a nice severance for a few weeks, but eventually that ran out and I had to start collecting Unemployment. No matter you may think, Unemployment is NOT what it is cracked-up to be! Because it was only a portion of my monthly income I was originally making, I needed to take-on a part-time job to make-up part of what Unemployment was not helping with. Thus, I went through the process and became a driver for Uber. Uber was offering me a chance to make decent money for part-time work and allowed me the flexibility to work when I could so that I could spend my other time looking for work and interviewing.

In a few future blogs, I will share some of my interesting stories of being an Uber driver. Today, I will share a quick trip from this week: April 29 – May 3, 2019.

So this past Tuesday, I had an a busy day of picking-up and dropping-off people. During this day, I had driven many miles and had 9 trips that I conducted. It was made hard by the fact that it had been raining a lot throughout the day and even harder by how hard it was coming down, like buckets that almost blinded you while you were driving! I was tired and ready to wrap-up the day by starting to head home for the day at about 2:40pm when I got a fare to pick someone up. Keep in mind that Uber’s app only tells you where to pick-up the person and you do not know where you are taking them to until you pick them up and accept the fare.

So when I pulled-up at the location, an older man, about 55+ came out to the car with a large metal case, a small metal case, and a backpack. While it was down-pouring, I helped this man get the metal cases into my trunk and closed the trunk lid. When we both got into the car, I accepted the fare on the app and found out that I needed to drive this man 52 miles at the start of rush hour to place that is over 60 miles from my house!

Frustrated and unhappy only begin to describe my feelings as I drove through the pouring rain. Oh, did I also mention that I needed to be home by 5:30 to pick-up our youngest daughter from school? After driving over an hour in this storm, I dropped this man off at his destination. Then the fun REALLY began because it was 3:50pm and I had to somehow drive 60 miles home through more of this down-pouring rain and hope and pray I made it in time.

The good news is that I arrived at my daughter’s school at 5:10, an absolute miracle if you ask me, considering all of the traffic slowdowns I hit, blinding rain, and distance I had to drive. When I got home, I fed my daughter dinner and proceeded to lay on the couch for a half hour without moving! I was absolutely exhausted, so much that I fell asleep on the couch later that evening watching tv and did not wake-up until 5:30am!

This experience helped me appreciate what people go through who have to do this all the time as full-time Uber drivers or even what taxi and limo drivers experience on a day-to-day basis. The next time I hire a ride, I will make sure I treat the driver with respect because you don’t know what other rides he or she had to do prior to picking me up!

Mark Michniak

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