For a generation that’s been told we can ‘have it all’, it’s’s still mighty hard to juggle a career and family – especially if you’re a woman. Often, part-time work seems like the only option in order to both raise a child and earn some money. But with life becoming more expensive all the time, a part-time salary usually isn’t enough to support a family.
Flexibility is key, not just for mothers, but for anyone looking after a family member or friend, or even for those starting their own business needing some extra money on the side. This is where Uber comes in. The driver service changed the way we get from point A to point B when it launched in 2009, making it easier, faster, and cheaper to get around. But it’s not just convenient for Uber passengers – it’s made a real difference for its drivers, too.
The concept is simple, but genius. Anyone with a decent car and a driver’s license can become an Uber driver, creating a business and an income source that is totally controlled by them. Uber drivers choose their own working hours and working locations – making it ideal for those who have to be spontaneous and can’t commit to a stringent weekly schedule.
According to Uber’s yearly survey, 19 per cent of Uber drivers are women, and the number is steadily growing. 50 year-old Carolyn became an Uber driver early this year and is loving it.
“As a self-employed Interior designer, I needed to be able to have complete flexibility in my day and found that with the Uber platform, I can easily incorporate it around my interior design projects. I generally drive a couple of hours a day – in the mornings and in the early evenings, and am completely astounded in the beauty of the people I drive here and there,” she says.
When 59 year-old Miriam had to stay at home to take care of her sick mother, her son suggested she pick up Uber driving.
“My son started me off on my Uber journey in October 2014. He knew I needed the flexibility to continue looking after my mother who lived with us and who had Parkinson’s disease. I also wanted to continue writing my children’s books. The flexibility to log on and off the Uber App and work hours that suited my family and me was a brilliant concept.” Miriam enjoyed her new job so much, she continued even after her mother passed away, as “the flexibility was just too hard to give up.”
While flexibility is the main ‘perk’ of being an Uber driver, there are other aspects female Uber drivers value, such as safety. As Uber drivers use their own car, they are in a comfortable, familiar environment. Every Uber driver and passenger has to provide their name, and in most cases even a photo, making it impossible to stay anonymous. All communication has to take place via Uber – no phone numbers are given out – and every Uber user can be rated, making it very easy for drivers to see if they’re picking up a pleasant passenger or not.
Miriam, who has completed almost 6,000 Uber trips, says she has “never felt unsafe while Ubering. As a matter of fact, my Uber Riders have been friendly, fun, kind and very happy to see a female Uber driver.”
She also enjoys the social aspect of it, saying she has had “the most wonderful and varied conversations, from a young boy who gave me the ins and outs of how to play Pokemon, a great grandmother who had so many stories to tell, and young people asking for relationship advice.”
Having work that fits around our lives, not the other way around, is a lifestyle choice that’s becoming increasingly popular – and rightly so. We are willing to work hard, but we also want to enjoy life. Finding the right balance between the two might not be easy, but being your own boss certainly helps.
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