Because I speak on Generations in the Workplace and I focus on Millennials, I decided to start using Uber – as a research project- interviewing the drivers.
My first trip was to DC to visit my daughter, Meredith. She got me on the app, and boom, in a few minutes, a driver was there. I used Uber throughout my visit. It was much easier than walking to the metro or waiting forever for a cab.
When I returned home to Houston, I decided to use Uber more and drive my car less. At first, I only used it to get to and from the airport, but soon I was Ubering it to events all over town. I loved it! In addition to providing me with transportation, Uber has been a great way for me to conduct research. Since I speak on “Generations in the Workplace” and most of my Uber drivers are Millennials, I was getting pages of research.
These interviews have allowed me to expand my insights and bust some myths about Millennials.
- Millennials are not lazy. They just look at work differently than their Boomer parents did. They do want to work, and they are hard workers, but their biggest difference is that they want independence. Most of my drivers have been part-timers who like the freedom that Uber provides. They can pick their own schedules as to when they want to work, and I have learned that they are ambitious. Over and over, I hear how Uber fills a financial need. I have garnered this info from college students, business majors, and graduate students working on master’s degrees. I have encountered a web designer, a programmer who works from home and drives just two hours a day (mid-day while taking a break), a high school teacher who only drives on weekends and a guy that not only drives for Uber but rents out his apartment on a regular basis through Airbnb.
- It’s been said many times that Millennials do not know how to do face-to-face communication. I have found just the opposite to be true. Actually, I enjoyed great conversations on almost every ride. One of my drivers was getting her master’s in social work, and she confessed to me that before driving for Uber, she was very quiet and introverted. Her professors suggested that she work on her face-to-face communications because talking and drawing things out of her clients would be a big part of her work after graduation. She said that she decided to practice talking to her Uber customers. At first, she admitted that she was nervous, but she kept at it. It was a surprise to hear that she struggled with making conversation because we talked all the way home.
- We are told over and over that Millennials are always connected to their phones. I have never had a driver listening to headsets, talking on the phone, or texting while driving. I cannot say the same about my cab rides.
- We have heard that Millennials are not loyal to their employers. On the contrary, without exception, every driver I have interviewed from Albuquerque to DC has said that they love the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Drivers have taken me through the vetting process on how they became one. They proudly show me the badges they wear around their neck and the pick stickers on the right front window stating that they are a certified driver. And every driver has mentioned the five-star rating system. The passenger gets to rate the driver—and get this—the driver gets to also rate the passenger for real-time accountability. Several of the drivers have shared with me that they strive to get as many five-star ratings as possible because if your rating goes below a certain number, you are put on probation. I am impressed not only with Uber but with the drivers who want to succeed and who care about my experience in their car.
- Here’s a new one… Millennials are fun, bold, and creative, and they made a ride home an experience … in a good way! The last driver I had was really into Adele, I mean really into her. I heard Hello as I entered the car. We sang Adele songs together all the way home ( he must have seen this on youtube). It was an experience.
Today, I am a Millennial and Uber evangelist. I have discovered that the Millennials I am meeting are ambitious, respectful, hardworking, and loyal to their employer. They care about the quality of their work, are accountable, and are terrific conversationalists. Thanks, Uber! and if you are reading this, TIP your driver!