When I first retired, I said to myself I wanted to do my best to make sure I made someone I’ve never met either smile or laugh every day. By driving for Uber and Lyft, I found a way to achieve that goal.
I love having the opportunity to talk to so many new people, and driving provides a new avenue for me to stay busy while fulfilling that passion. Rather than just staying at home with my dogs, I can log into Uber or Lyft, and before I know it I’ll be on the road meeting someone new.
In my two and a half years of driving in upstate New York, I’ve had the chance to meet all kinds of incredible people, including a couple of television celebrities. I’m able to get out of the house and earn a little extra money to supplement my retirement plan, which is exactly what I needed when I retired.
More importantly, I can work in a way the best fits my personal schedule every day. I don’t have a boss, meaning I can start when I want every day, and if I am feeling tired I can close the app and go home whenever I like. The flexibility is tremendous, and it is a big part of what keeps me driving.
Having control over when and how long I work has allowed me to maintain a valuable level of independence. Since I drive for multiple apps, I can switch between them however best fits my own needs and what I want out of driving in a particular week. I’m not tied down to any particular company or boss, and it provides a level of freedom I never had in the traditional workplace.
Part of what has made driving so easy for me as a retiree, though, is that I have access to great retirement benefits after a 34-year career as a court reporter. While that may be the case for me, I know that is not necessarily the case for countless others who don’t have those benefits to lean on. Moving forward, it will be important for lawmakers to work toward solutions that help all the people who rely on driving for work, but want some of the benefits and security more traditional jobs offer as well.
Though I’ve been driving less frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am eager to pick up the pace once again once I am fully vaccinated. It has been a fantastic way for me to get out and earn income on my own schedule, and maybe make a few new people smile and laugh while I’m at it.
Written by James McManus
James McManus is a retiree and a driver for Uber and Lyft in Upstate New York