Lessons from my Taxi Driver!

Said just dropped me off at the train station in Casablanca, and I both admire him and pity him.  He’s like a kid working his first job…nervous, flustered, slowly trying to figure things out.  Only problem is…he’s not a kid – far from it!  Said is a 50-year old father-of-three who recently lost his job as an insurance agent.  Instead of successfully selling home, auto & life insurance, he’s now a taxi driver for Careem.

Why I admire Said:

  1. He’s taking action!  I’m sure he’d rather be working in the insurance industry – using the skills & knowledge he’s built up over his decades-long career.  I’m sure he’s tried to find a different job – surely Careem wasn’t his first option.  But rather than sit at the café waiting for an interview – he’s out there making money to provide for his family.
  2. He’s willing to learn new things. It was obvious that he was unfamiliar with the Careem application, and he wasn’t 100% comfortable battling the traffic to get me to my destination.  But I got there!  (I’m writing this on the train right now).  It’s not easy to learn new skills and embrace new technology, but it’s a necessary part of life.  We must adapt to the rapidly changing job market and be willing and able to learn new skills.  When Said started his career, it was probably 1990.  It’s doubtful he knew how to type, use Microsoft Office, or send an email.  And he surely had never used a smart phone application.  What skills will be required of the workforce 10 years from now?  20 years from now?

Why I pity Said:

  1. Negative mindset. He said to me, “The problem is that I am 50 years old.”  He thinks he is too old to find a new job, and that no one will want to hire him.  But I often speak to students who complain that they have no experience and are too young to be hired.  So which is better?  To be young with no experience, or to have lots of experience but be old?  The problem I see here is perspective.  Is the glass half-full or half-empty?  Young students look at Said and think they don’t have a chance against him because of his experience.  And Said looks at young graduates and thinks he doesn’t have a chance against them because he’s so old.  BOTH ARE WRONG!  Companies need both experienced employees who can offer a lot of value, and young employees who are easier to train and will stay for longer.  The main thing is to remain optimistic and not make excuses.  It’s not easy to find a job, but it’s also not impossible, so stop making excuses!
  2. No linkedin profile. I asked him if he had a linkedin profile because I thought I could connect him with some contacts, but he didn’t know what I was talking about.  He’s never heard of linkedin!  That tells me that he was way too comfortable working as an insurance agent, and never dreamed he would ever have to look for a job again.  So how is he looking for a job?  Waiting for the newspaper to post ads once a week and then e-mailing a CV?  Calling up an old friend to ask if he has any leads?

What we can learn from Said:

  1. Don’t get too comfortable. We have to expect changes in our careers.  We need to stay flexible and nimble – ready to adapt and respond to market changes.  Very few jobs are 100% secure, so don’t put your trust in large corporations.  Don’t let your linkedin profile become dormant…dig your well before you get thirsty.  Build your connections, upgrade your skills, and stay current on market trends.
  2. Create passive income. How long could you survive if you lost your job?  How many weeks or months would your savings last before you couldn’t pay your bills?  My guess is that Said worked hard for a good income, but failed to have money working for him.  By buying ASSETS that put money into your pocket, you can build up income that doesn’t require your time or energy…it’s passive.  Most people depend on one source of income, (their JOB), rather than building multiple streams of income.  Find out more by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad.
  3. Hunger motivates. The reason Said is working for Careem is because he needs money!  He’s outside his comfort zone, trying new things and being stretched, because he has a family to feed!  He’s gotta pay for rent, Lydec, the car, kid’s tuition, clothes, food…he can’t afford to sit at the café wasting time hoping a job will fall into his lap.  He’s continuing to search for a job in his industry that will pay much higher, but in the meantime he’s not sitting on his ass – he’s motivated to get out there and get some money flowing in.  If you’re struggling with motivation, perhaps you need to light a fire under yourself.  Go rent an apartment or sign up for a course that will stretch you financially and give you the hunger you need to get hustlin’.
  4. Learn to learn. There’s no skill more valuable in the marketplace than the ability to learn new skills.  They say ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’…make sure that never applies to you, or you’ll be begging people to throw you a bone.


Thanks for the motivating ride Said…bon courage mon ami!