Why A Teacher Quit His Teaching Job to Drive for Uber and Lyft – Only Made $36,000 in 8 Months And Still Thinks Its Better As A Part-Time Job

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Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing flexible work opportunities for many seeking alternatives to traditional employment.

While teaching provided intrinsic rewards, factors like low pay, high stress, and lack of work-life balance led many drivers to rethink their career paths. As the “gig economy” continues expanding, more professionals may face similar choices between job security and independence.

Teaching a Noble Career

Deciding to become a teacher is not an easy choice to make. According to studies, nearly 50% of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, often due to difficult working conditions, lack of resources, and poor compensation. However, for many educators, the rewards of teaching outweigh the challenges.

Source: Education World Contributor

Though there were difficulties, including long hours, limited resources, and sometimes a lack of support, teaching was an immensely rewarding career. The opportunity to positively impact students’ lives and futures, expand my knowledge, and grow professionally with each year of experience made the challenges worthwhile.

Teaching is a Challenge in Today’s Environment

The teaching profession faces many difficulties in the current climate. Teachers have to navigate various challenges that often make the role demanding and stressful. One of the major issues teachers face is increasingly demanding workloads.

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Teachers typically have to complete administrative tasks, prepare lessons, grade assignments, and communicate with parents outside of regular school hours. A survey found that teachers work an average of 51 hours per week, with over 20% of that time spent on non-instructional tasks. The long hours and workload can lead to high levels of stress, burnout, and job dissatisfaction.

Lack of Resources Adding To The Stress of The Classroom

Teachers also have to deal with a lack of resources and funding. Many schools struggle with budget cuts that negatively impact important resources for teachers.

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These impacts are mostly felt in professional development opportunities, teaching assistants, updated textbooks, technology, and classroom supplies. The lack of funding and resources makes the job more difficult and prevents teachers from providing the best learning experiences for students.

Behavioral Issues are The Proverbial Cherry on The Cake

Teachers frequently have to handle student behavioral and learning challenges with little support. Teachers are responsible for meeting the needs of students from diverse backgrounds with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and behavioral issues.

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Teachers are often left to address these complex student needs on their own with little guidance or assistance. While teaching can be a rewarding profession, educators face considerable challenges that contribute to job-related stress and frustration.

How Teaching Burnout Led Me to Rethink My Career

Teaching can be an immensely rewarding profession, but it also frequently leads to high rates of burnout. According to various studies, between 30 to 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within their first five years of teaching.

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For Aaron Lavender, an elementary school teacher in Colorado, the immense levels of stress and demanding workload of teaching ultimately led him to leave his job in 2022 in search of a more sustainable career path.

A side Hustle Turned into a Flexible Job

After seven years of teaching, Lavender found the job to be “unbelievably stressful” and decided he needed an extended break. He had been driving for Uber and Lyft on a part-time basis since 2021 and chose to transition to doing so full-time, working over 40 hours a week during the summer of 2022.

Source: Crunchbase, Statista

While Lavender enjoyed aspects of ride-hailing, such as meeting interesting passengers and having a more flexible schedule, he found full-time driving to be draining and the pay to be inconsistent. The unpredictable nature of the ride-hailing industry made it difficult for Lavender to plan his life or finances.

The Unpredictability of The Job Sucks

Lavender stated, “I plan my whole life around the airport, concert, sport, and event patterns and rarely am able to do anything fun myself on weekends as that’s when I make the majority of my income.” The long hours spent driving and the pressure to maximize his earnings in order to make a living began to diminish the enjoyment Lavender found in the work.

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In addition to the volatile pay and demanding hours, Lavender worried about the possibility of being temporarily or permanently banned from the Uber and Lyft platforms. Known as being “deactivated,” drivers can be banned for issues like a low rating, failed background checks, or customer complaints.

Researching Alternative Jobs With Flexibility, Like Uber and Lyft

Many individuals seek alternative jobs that provide flexibility and control over their schedules. Driving for companies such as Uber and Lyft is an option that some pursue. However, the sustainability and profitability of this line of work is debated.

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A study found the number of gig workers in the U.S., such as rideshare drivers, more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber announced it had a record 6.5 million active drivers and couriers in 2023. However, the pay for these roles can be unpredictable, and the companies’ algorithms are frustrating.

Experience Driving for Ride Shares: The Good

Driving for Uber and Lyft can be an appealing way to earn extra income with a flexible schedule. However, the unpredictability of earnings and long work hours required to generate a livable wage make full-time driving challenging to sustain.

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Aaron Lavender, a former elementary school teacher, began driving for Uber and Lyft part-time in 2021 to supplement his teaching income. In 2022, Lavender decided to take a break from teaching and drive full-time, working at least 40 hours a week. Over eight months, Lavender earned $36,000 driving for the ride-hailing platforms.

Experience Driving for Ride Shares: The Bad

While Lavender enjoyed the freedom from a traditional work schedule and meeting interesting passengers, the inconsistent pay and demanding hours led him to transition back to part-time driving and substitute teaching.

Source: Unsplash/Austin Distel

Lavender found full-time driving consumed his life as he planned his schedule around peak earning periods like weekends, events, and airport traffic. The long hours in the car and the pressure to work during the most profitable times diminished the enjoyment Lavender found in part-time driving.

How Driving for Lyft Compares to Uber

Driving for ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber has become an increasingly popular way for people to earn extra money in their spare time. However, there are some key differences between the two platforms that drivers should consider.

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While base pay for drivers on Lyft and Uber is similar, Lyft typically offers more frequent bonuses and incentives for drivers. For example, Lyft provides weekly bonus opportunities where drivers can earn extra money if they give a certain number of rides during peak hours. Lyft also offers periodic cash bonuses for recruiting new drivers or passengers to the platform. Uber also provides periodic incentives and bonuses, but not as frequently as Lyft.

How Driving For Lyft Compares To Uber: Rating Systems

Driving for ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber has become an increasingly popular way for people to earn extra money in their spare time. However, drivers experience different rating systems.

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Both Lyft and Uber use a driver rating system, but Lyft’s system is generally considered less stringent. Lyft allows drivers some leeway if their rating falls below 4.5 out of 5 stars before they are at risk of being deactivated. Uber, on the other hand, threatens deactivation if a driver’s rating falls below 4.6 stars. Lyft’s more lenient policy gives drivers a little more breathing room as they learn the ropes.

How Driving For Lyft Compares To Uber: Vehicle Requirements

The vehicle requirements for Uber and Lyft are largely the same. However, Uber allows some older vehicles than Lyft in a few markets. So, drivers with an older vehicle may have more opportunities to drive with Uber.

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That said, many drivers find they can earn higher pay driving for Lyft, which offsets the potentially wider range of vehicle options with Uber. With some experimentation, drivers can determine what works best based on their priorities and needs.

Advice for Other Teachers Considering a Career Change

Teachers contemplating leaving the classroom for the gig economy should carefully consider the pros and cons. While the flexibility and potential for higher pay that comes with driving for platforms like Uber and Lyft may seem appealing, the work also brings uncertainty and difficulties.

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Teachers interested in ridesharing should go in with realistic expectations about the job. While the flexibility and chance to meet new people from all over can be rewarding, the job also requires extremely long hours to generate a decent wage, provides little job security, and can ultimately prove all-consuming.

The Financial Reality of Rideshare Driving vs Teaching

Rideshare driving for companies like Uber and Lyft is often portrayed as an easy way to make money on one’s schedule. However, the financial reality of relying on rideshare driving as a primary source of income is more complex.

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For those considering full-time rideshare driving, Lavender advised being highly selective about which ride requests to accept in order to maximize earnings. He also noted that while driving an electric vehicle could save money on gas, the high upfront costs of an EV meant it would take time to pay off through rideshare driving alone.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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