Lessons of a cab driver!
“Most people don’t really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened of responsibility”
Creating an interesting career is was what I was after, though it hasn’t happened in the way I anticipated. Quitting my six figure job was one of the biggest decisions of my life, it sucked but it needed to be done. Psychologically that job was a huge part of my identity, giving that up was terrifying and stressful. I went from a cushy union job with my feet up eating donuts, to becoming a sweaty cab driver taking washroom breaks at Starbucks. It was a rude awakening and a hard slap in the face! So this the real world…sigh! Not exactly the sexy future I had envisioned while trying to re-invent myself. Nevertheless being a cab driver offered many valuable and hard learned lessons which I care to share with you. If I could go from a being an engineer to a cab driver, anything else would be an upgrade right?
One the main reasons I hated about my old job was the lack of control or input. Being told what to do… when to do it….and how to do it, can suck the life out of you. Being forced to think and play in the box is boring, numbing and made me want to put a revolver to my head at times. I know! I’m being dramatic but you get my point! Though I must offer some discretion, with freedom comes responsibility, with responsibility comes some unsettling truths. Becoming a cab driver gave me my first glimpse of freedom. For the first time I got to be my own boss, though in the beginning it wasn’t all roses. I got to choose my own schedule but at the same time digesting failure and heavy criticism was tough. When you sit in traffic all day, deal with irate customers and you’ve been flipped the middle finger four times in three hours, you stumble upon a quick realization! Nobody cares or wants to listen to your excuses, incoveniences and how difficult your day has been. In the beginning this can be a tough pill to swallow but after awhile it’s the medicine needed. It connected me to a deeper, antifragile and more robust self. I was more resilient and adaptable to tougher situations than the inner critic led me to believe. If I could deal with hardships of cab driving, what else could I put myself through?
Cab driving gave me the opportunity to meet people from wide array of demographics. I met doctors, business people, techies, hipsters, strippers , homeless people and drug addicts. Many of the successful people that I met were somehow connected to the tech industry. How could break into the tech industry with my analytical abilities?
The one on one environment combined with the fact that I would never see these people again led to some interesting and deep conversations. I was curious and asked many questions. Ironically people complained about similar things such as being lonely, money and lack of deeper meaning in their lives. People shared a common nastalgia for the the past where life was simpler and people made time for each other. Maybe we more similar that we think?
The cab driving experience ended a little sooner than hoped. I started cab driving in early January 2020 and saw first hand the disruptive nature of technology with the arrival of Uber, also the compounding effect that the pandemic brought on. I soon realized that I was on the wrong side of the bet and didn’t want to be left behind as technology and society advanced. As soon I got settled as a cab driver, it was time to alter identities once again. I guess the only thing we can predict is change. As society acclerarates faster and faster our ability to adapt and learn valuable skills becomes more of a skill within itself. All this lead to me teaching myself Data Science and enrolling into a twelve week bootcamp at BrainStation. I figured it would give a good technical skill moving forward.
As I move forward on this journey of creating an interesting career. A question I keep asking myself is, which identity do I next want to adopt?