I thanked my driver for finding me. This week disability services changed to a new vendor for dispatching our rides. They have a different way of setting us up, but so far I’m managed to get to and from my destinations, so that’s a relief.

I asked my driver how long she has been driving for Uber, and she said for about five months. She asked me what I did for work, and I explained that I am disabled now, but I worked in IT for 16 years. My driver said that she was doing QA in IT for 18 years. Then her job was changed to offshore. She started interviewing for other positions, and either wouldn’t hear back, or if she did, she would be offered 75% less than what she was making. I told her that the exact same thing happened to me. There was a small window of time between when I was laid off and the last of my brain surgeries, when I was going to try to keep working (because my neurosurgeon told me that he would operate on me a hundred times and never clear me for disability. He changed his mind at surgery 10). I was interviewing for jobs, and if I got offers, they were about 70-75% less than what I was making. It made absolutely no sense to me. I mean, we can speculate on the reasons. Traditionally, Phoenix is not a high-wage market. I was warned that I would face age discrimination at 40 (and I did – what???). Also, my driver and I are women. We have to prove that we can raise 11 children, butcher a cow, be sharpshooters, cook a 5-course meal, run in stilettoes, and – oh – perform about 7 peoples’ jobs perfectly to maybe be considered for at least an entry-level job, even though we had so many years of experience. We also talked about the fact that our replacements were paid far less than we were. She found out hers was paid $15 USD per hour. I didn’t know the dollar amount of mine, but I know three people replaced me. I trained my replacements too. That was a great feeling. So great.

My driver said that this time off from regular work wasn’t so bad. About once a month she and her daughter escape to either San Diego or Los Angeles and then spend time at a beach. This isn’t the first or last time I’ll be hearing this. We are close enough in Phoenix to these other cities where it’s convenient to do a day trip or a weekend trip, and if you can afford it, go for it! Don’t wait for anyone or anything.