Tag Archives: Life on the Hustle

Life on the Hustle: Freedom to Be The Boss

At the end of May 2016, I quit my last call-center job after realizing I can’t sit for eight to ten hours a day in a chair anymore (the month prior to that was sheer agony for me as I was in constant pain from my lower back). In July of 2016, I took on my first gig-economy job which was food delivery. Then later that year I took a gig delivering packages for a contractor for Amazon. Both gigs dried up for me and I started driving for Uber. And I’ve been with Uber ever since.

Now I’ve read a lot of articles about the so-called ‘gig economy’ as its’ referred to. People in the gig economy are independent contractors, meaning we get paid directly and get nothing taken out for taxes, Social Security, and insurance. Which is fine because there are a lot of deductions available, but I won’t go into a tax-talk here (as you should always see a tax professional for any questions related to that). What a lot of detractors to the gig economy will go on about is how there is no minimum wage or benefits and no real protections. I will say a lot of these articles read like class-A click-bait written by people who have no real knowledge of what gigging is like. I spent close to twenty years in the corporate-call center world and all I got out of there with was a few thousand dollars in savings and a slightly-messed up back. And in corporate-call center world there was always the threat of being managed out the door if they decided they didn’t want you there anymore because you wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid the way they wanted you to. (And yes I know that sounds terrible but it was my experience, and a story for another time)

The reason I keep gigging is that I’ve been out of the job market for too long and would have to do some serious ass-kissing and groveling to get a job and two, I like the freedom I have with my gig job that doesn’t involve Kool-Aid drinking with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Now with the gig economy you do make your own hours but in order to earn money you’ve got to work those hours, or hustle as we say. Which is fine by me as I’m not afraid to work. Yes, more money would always be a good thing (and that’s probably coming with the new incentive program Uber is introducing for its’ drivers). But if you ask any gig worker the biggest reason why they do what they do it’s simply put, freedom.

The gig economy is freedom from punching a clock and having a set schedule that life can really mess with. It’s the freedom of not having a supervisor or manager to report to who may not be the right person for the job. It’s the freedom to think on your feet and solve problems without someone nit-picking your decisions to pieces. I will freely admit that my views are seriously-colored by my years in corporate call-center world which is probably one of the most uptight and regimented work environments there is. But I’ve discovered that escaping from that and being on the road of freedom has made me hell-bent on never going back to that prison again.

Now with the gig economy there are ups and downs because supply-and-demand fluctuates. And yes that increased supply and leveled-out or lower demand can depress earnings, but those of us who have stuck with the gig know you just have to ride it out.

But as I’ve told a lot of my passengers in addition to the freedoms above, I’ve also discovered I like being my own boss. Because of all the bosses I’ve ever had I’m my favorite. This freedom and independence is why people like me do what we do and it’s what’s given me the courage to pursue a writing career. Because I know writing, like hustling an Uber, requires a lot of hard work and patience but if something isn’t working you can make changes until you find something that works. Because although a hustle can be a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, it’s never been a soul-sucking grind for me.

So if I had to sum up hustling for a living I’d say this:

 

– You have the freedom to make your own schedule as you’re not working to the clock.

– Remember the busier it is and the more money you make, the sooner you can go home.

– Be able to think on your feet and solve your own problems.

– Be good to yourself, and to the people who are paying you to do your job.

– You are your own boss so be the boss you always wanted to have.

Introduction – Breaking My Radio Silence

I’ve been blogging on and off for about a decade now and each blog has gone silent. The reasons for the silences vary and I won’t go into them here other than to say I won’t let those reasons silence me again.

The goal of this blog and website is to use it to establish my writing career.

There. I said what I’ve been wanting to do for the better part of three decades now. Yes, ever since I was about twelve years old and started writing in earnest I wanted to earn a living off of it.

So what stopped me?

A lot of things, which I will go into in the ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ book that you’ll be seeing a lot about here. I’m at a point in my life where I know I can make things up as I go along if I have to, but also know that I can keep going even if I get knocked down. Besides, it’s just me, my dog, and my cat and those two are pretty low maintenance though I wouldn’t go anywhere without them. Eventually when this writing gig takes off, I want to get a van and trick it out to where I can live out of it with my dog and cat while we hit the road.

Although I love where I live and seeing the city day in and day out, I want to see the rest of the world, too. And I want to be able to live and work on the road and I figure writing is as good a way to do that as anything else.

Am I nuts in doing this?

I don’t think so. I tried the nine-to-five corporate gig and all I got out of it was a slightly-messed up back and a ton of stress I couldn’t medicate with alcohol (I don’t drink alcohol because my body reacts to it like I’m allergic). Right now I’m a full-time Uber driver because it’s a gig where I can be by my own boss and earn money without dealing with too much bullshit.

I’ve spent all my life battling fear and doubts and I’ve gotten to the point where I see where they come from. And if anyone asks what took me so long to do this, I’m not going to answer that question directly even if the intent behind it isn’t an on-the-spot demand like it’s always come off to me. The answer to that question is a lot more complicated and deserving of a much-lengthier explanation.

And no, I have no real idea of what I’m doing past a certain point. But NO ONE has all the answers and if anyone claims to I call ‘bullshit’ on them. All I can do is study, learn, and do. I can change direction if something isn’t working and if I fall on my ass doing something then I can just pick myself up and keep going like I always have. And if someone has a problem with that, they can take it up with me directly or just be totally ignored by me.

But I will say I won’t be just posting willy-nilly here. I’ve got topics and categories I want to write under as well as book projects to put together. So I’ve got the focus I need and I know if I start to avoid something then I need to figure out why. But these projects I have going have been with me for so long and haven’t let go no matter how hard I’ve avoided them sometimes. And when things stick with me through thick and thin, like my dream of being a full-time self-supporting writer, I know this is what I really want to do with my life. Once I accept that something is here to say with me, I feel a clarity and a calm I know is true and real.

Because one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that if I listen closely enough, answers will come to me. But I’ve also accepted I can change things if I have to, and that sometimes I just need to be patient and let things play out until I come to an answer. And yes, I know this sounds a bit woo-woo but expect a lot more of that here because although my woo-woo might be non-denominational, I believe in it.

So, what will I write about then?

Whatever I want to, to be a smart-ass in reply to that question.

In reality, I’ll be working under these main categories:

1) Breaking Radio Silence: Memoire/self-help hybrid topic so these posts will be going towards that book.

2) We Ride at Dawn: This is my political topic heading and these posts will be going towards a book, too.

3) Poetry: Yes, I write poetry. And yes, I will be compiling it into a book someday.

4) Writing: Since I’m a writer these entries will be about the writing process including grammar.

5) Short fiction: For the longest time, I didn’t think I could write short fiction but then I discovered I can.

6) Novel Excerpts: I’ve got one cooking right now and many, many more to come.

7) Life on the Hustle: This one will be about my time on the road as an Uber driver along with other entries about my previous incarnations as a call-center wage-slave and such.

8) Extras: One-off entries (or more) about anything not under the above categories.