Some of you may vaguely remember that I was pursuing a Ph.D. in biology some time ago. That endeavor has crashed and burned in spectacular fashion due to my own inadequacies - not in the academics or in the research but in my drive and engagement. It's a really dark place when you question not only where you're going in life, but also your place within existence itself. When you're over 30, your entire life has led up to what you conceptualized as a particular goal, and then the goal crumbles, it takes time to come to grips with it and figure out what the hell you're going to do about it.
Since then, I've had plenty of people look at my situation and basically say "well, you failed" and then point me to a consolation job of convenience. IT, rail, technician, security, you name it. Never mind that I have a bachelor's in microbiology, the working knowledge of a biology Ph.D., stellar teaching skills, and have been trained to use multi-million dollar analytical equipment - that's all gone out the window. A person's gotta eat, so I applied for some of these jobs... and got turned down for every single one - go figure.
Having exhausted my credit, and on the verge of being overcome by depression, eventually I applied to drive for Uber - a job of last resort which has actually turned out to be decent for the most part. The best thing about it by far has been the flexibility, and it's reinforced something I've known for many years - I am not cut out for the typical 9-to-5 job. I'm not saying that because I don't like working but because of how I work. I'm an analytical problem solver. I find a problem, I attack it with everything I have, work nonstop until I've solved it, and then move onto the next problem. Whether that's in programming, research, writing, kayaking, games, or driving, that's just how I operate. Things that arbitrarily get in the way of my drive to accomplish a goal just discourage me from doing it at all, and basically I've learned that doing things on someone else's schedule just isn't going to work for me.
Driving is fine, but it's not ideal. It has severe limitations that come with working for someone else. That's fine in the short term, but I don't think it's the best use of my abilities. Now, back before I was driving for Uber, and for many years, I've worked on computers as a hobby - making a few bucks along the way andPost too long. Click here to view the full text.