As some and not so many may be aware, my present and only form of income at current is as an Uber driver (of a month). I’ve heard a bunch of mixed reviews on the fact, generally positive, but if we were to narrow it down to specifics -yes, some people would be the worst for it and others would just be stoked with their life doing it (which I am). For this period in my life it is genuinely the best job I could consider having (involving and not limited to factors including flexibility, accountability, location, study schedule, ability to build projects elsewhere.. and let’s be honest, it is good money if you’re specific and smart with the hours you choose to do it). There’s a bunch of questions people ask in and outside of rides concerning the work and life in general, and a significant amount of repeated conversations I have (and no complaints here- because this makes the job that much easier) so I thought I’d scribble some rubbish concerning possible conversational themes/ non-conversations or relationships I continually have and will without fail continue to have at least once each journey with future passengers for the remaining duration of my driver life. If you were to respond to the exact same question another person asks with the exact same answer does it make you any less genuine? Nope. There’s no reason to change your responses if your opinions or life experiences still stand.
Concerning small talk
I knew coming into the passenger-vehicle work small talk would be a great deal if not the bread and butter spoken content within the confines of my car. Initially I wasn’t too keen but to be honest it’s really a very very easy thing to do. A person gets in your car, you are literally whoever you decide to be every time. It’s amazing. They don’t know you would prefer to not ask bland questions about their day and the weather and their job but honestly it’s become one of the most rewarding parts of being a driver. I think it pretty much reaffirms in a very simple way how capable we are of doing things we dread initially and loving it in turn. It’s whatever. I like talking about and asking about peoples’ lives because I feel like my social skills are amplified daily and my ability to relate to others is forever increasing. And to be honest, the rating system doesn’t affect the way your drivers treat you or speak to you, btw. We’re not going to get any less work if somebody every now and again doesn’t like us (or our lack of navigational skills… a recent heart ache).
“Do you like it?”
I actually love it. I don’t know how many jobs I have had (those requiring no qualification) and I can confidently say this is the best one. How does it work? I turn on my app, I am now online. Give or take 10 minutes I’ll get a ride request in the area to pick somebody up. During the ride I’ll usually get my next ride request. The ride ends, I rate the passenger, I drive to my next passenger. I keep doing this until I feel like finishing. I then click offline. I also can track how much I’m earning per ride throughout the time in which I am driving and see how much I’m earning daily, weekly, etc. It’s all there. I get paid weekly, or I can get paid daily if I click that option. I choose to work nights because I prefer to capitalise on my awakeness. Since the age of 14 I’ve had trouble sleeping at night (or deliberately have chosen to be awake dependent on how you look at it).Without fine details I am always awake at night. On my mission I lay in bed every night for several hours and listened to my companions sleep (or sleep talk, sometimes in Swedish) and eventually sleep a couple of hours before the 6.27am alarm. So at this point if I’m awake I may as well make money doing it. I also love how grateful people are when you come grab them from the middle of nowhere at 3am. SO grateful. It’s really cool, like it feels like I’m performing some kind of life changing service but really I’m making money where I can and other human beings are just awesome at being kind to me. It’s nice. I also get to have siq convos with a generous amount of interesting people.
“What’s your other job?”
I change my response to this every time because it does get boring walking around salary taboo, or explanation of my position concerning my age. (Side note: I actually prefer to share my income with people because it doesn’t bother me.) It also depends on how long the trip is going to be. I don’t have another job, at current. I just quit my last job of six months. Prior to that I was a volunteer proselyting missionary in Sweden for 18 months. Prior to that I studied and worked in voice and acting and television and makeup artistry and did a tiny stint being a photographed human being (the word model is one of my least favourite, we are all some kind of visual representation of at least one person’s aesthetic ideal, are we not?). I’ve never specifically planned on being one thing or doing one thing for the rest of my life. I care about developing in whatever ways feel right, and somehow for me that means constant change employment and location wise. It feels good and it always has. I’m moving again soon, and I will be studying music production/ audio engineering shortly. The flexibility of my job kills me in the best way possible, I can’t even believe how blessed I am.
“Do you feel safe?”
I probably get more of this question because I am a female and prefer to drive at night but the simple answer is yes. I feel very safe. It’s a safe system. I drive on the Central Coast which I feel is a contributing factor as opposed to doing the same thing at the same times in Sydney city. But working for Uber as a whole all our rides are tracked, and your credit card/ paypal details are stored in Uber’s system so you’ll always pay and never be not found should you be a creep. As many people have been creepy passengers as times as I’ve been a creepy driver. I feel pretty confident in my discernment abilities and it works out great. I’m allowed to reject as many rides as I see fit should I feel it wouldn’t be a safe one.
The taxi haters
I actually feel sorry for taxi drivers because ‘the most popular taxi company doesn’t own any taxis and the most popular hotel company doesn’t own any hotels.’ They had their stint and everyone would just rather pay less to get a ride home, with a friendly driver, no less. I’ve met some great taxi drivers but the general consensus of those entering my vehicle and choosing to talk about cabbies is that they’re all grumpy old men who hate their job and hate Uber drivers. I’d be displeased too, I didn’t have to fork out anything further than $29 to get my passenger vehicle license and start picking up passengers. Sure I had to have my full license, years of experience, no criminal record and a car <10 years old with four doors aircon and radio but really, it’s actually just too bad for them. Especially since Uber doesn’t accept remodelled taxi vehicles or Ford Falcons in order to steer away from the Taxi brand should they ever decide to convert to Uberism.
“Do you ever get any idiots?”
The funniest thing about this question is that EVERY person who asks it also points to their mate in the back seat and says something like ‘aside from Gary over here’. They all laugh like it’s the first time anyone’s ever said it. I still laugh every time, but only because my life gets funnier with repetition, not the joke. Ofcourse I get idiots in my car. They’re all pretty good at respecting the vehicle and me so bad jokes or singing or any alcohol induced behaviours are the least of my concerns.
The existential conversationalists
I’ve probably been handed some of the most beautiful conversations and insights by faceless strangers in the dark of my vehicle late at night. From life goals to how we’re going to change the world to solving world poverty to lessons learnt through travels to reasons we live in a blessed country to philosophy to conspiracy to moral and ethic—every conversation is to be had, and you’re going to have it in my car. It’s just as important to absorb others’ information as it is to share it.
The discloser of secrets
There’s something magical about entering a strangers’ car and having them be a listening ear for 20 solid minutes in the dead of night, knowing you’ll probably never see them again. I’ve had people tell me secrets they’ve never disclosed nor have been willing to discuss with people closest to them and I feel like it’s making the world a lighter place in an interesting way. It was like that as a missionary as well. People just trust you when they know you’re living an elusive life or have fleeting presence. It creates a wall between anyone and really knowing you but builds a bridge for everyone you’d like to know. That’s why my hair is so big (it’s full of secrets).
The non-talkers/ the rides where the driver doesn’t exist
I’ve had conversations about where is considered a courteous place to sit yourself in the vehicle as a passenger and generally I’m told: sit in the front if you’re alone in an Uber car, and sit in the back if you’re in a taxi. Whenever people sit in the back (when it’s only one person) it feels kinda unsettling to be honest. I still do my regular small talk with them but you can generally tell if they don’t feel like talking, which is completely cool and I like that, too. Nothing better than a bit of comfortable silence. I’ve also concluded that in my car having the radio/ Spotify volume at 24 is the perfect level to have it at warranted there’s no conversation. There’s nothing unsettling nor rude about a little white noise. When there are groups of people who get in the car and don’t talk to you that’s chill, too. It does get confusing however when you think they’re directing a question towards you but they’re asking a friend sitting behind them. It’s good to be a little fly on the wall and get paid for it.
Your best mate
There’s always one or two who get in your car and decide they’re your bestie immediately. They’re keen to converse about everything and anything, and ask you questions in return (important detail!) because interested is interesting. Can we make some detours? Ofcourse. There’s always a maccas run or a servo stop or a couple of places they hadn’t put into the map initially. It doesn’t super matter because just so everyone knows: We still get paid for every kilometre and minute you’re in the car. There’s really no big favour involved. Pretty sure a lot of people think they pay for an Uber before it comes to pick them up but really, Uber give them a ride estimate and then as soon as the driver ends the ride on their app the physical amount comes out of your account.
We’ve got a big year ahead of us, my friends! Before everything gets up and running and approved I won’t be able to expound too much on the v v v exciting development regarding my upcoming Uber travels but know there are cool things coming my way and your way- blog reading wise and your own life wise. Keep your eyes peeled (which means to open your eyelids, not physically peel your eyeballs) gr8 x