Counseling My Lyft Drivers

It happens inadvertently, but it’s happened enough that I can call it a trend:

I career-counsel my Lyft drivers.

It seems like the common thread among Lyft drivers is being in the midst of seeking something else.

Most are entrepreneurs with big ideas, some have suspended careers because of personal issues, some are unwilling to ‘go captive’ and enter the corporate world, and some just can’t get a job in their line of work by the time the rent bill comes around.

I talked with one driver who lived part of the year in Southeast Asia just to cut down on expenses. (Seemed a drastic measure, but, having watched the cost of living triple in the last few years, it’s a notion I entertained for a milli-second.)

Usually, these folks don’t need career direction as much as a plan to reach their destination. In other words, they know where they want to be; they just can’t arrive. Or at least haven’t yet.

As a career counselor, Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash used to be ‘stop-gap’ jobs I’d recommend as a quick way to make money with low barrier to entry. You could make enough in a day or a couple of days to pay for groceries or the electric bill.

But these companies got greedy and once they cornered the market, the pay dropped significantly. Now we have people racing around the city 7 days a week, from fare to fare, trying to make a living. Some are indentured to the company who leased them their car.

What’s the end result?

Sadly, these drivers with good minds and big ideas can’t seem to slow the car down long enough to get off the race track and pursue their dreams.

This Catch-22 shows up for a lot of us. We seek full lives, and therefore earn our way into routines that leave very little wiggle room for change. When something breaks down, we’ve got limited time to fix the problem, let alone change our course completely.

And so we keep racing around the track, getting more of what we already have while our big ideas scream at us from the back seat.

After counseling 10 or so speeding entrepreneurs with day jobs, I’ve come to realize this:

The first step is almost always making time for the first step.

Otherwise, you get nowhere fast.