Why My Uber Driver Quit Working as a Network Engineer

So…I had an interesting ride this morning: my car is in the shop and I used Uber. I had a great ride and my driver got five stars and a tip from me — but that’s besides the point. Over the course of our conversation, he shared that he was a relatively new driver for Uber as he had left his career as a network engineer behind in the dust. He said he couldn’t be happier now.

Of course, I was happy for him that he found happiness driving for Uber…and working on his stained glass art when he wasn’t driving. Truth be told, I was also alarmed. Why? Here at Graphical Networks, our mission is to craft software that makes life easier for folks on the frontlines of network management. I wanted to know what drove him to walk out on what he said had been a 20 year career…so I asked him.

Without further adieu…here’s ‘Why My Uber Driver Today Left His Career Managing the Network’:

He Was Sick of Data Entry

Ed was burned out. Just prior to his departure, he spent 11 months on a documentation project…using Microsoft Word. The manual data entry and network mapping, the errors, the monotonous day in and day out of it all…made him rethink his needs vs. wants: Ed was fed up.

He Was Fed Up with Not Having Tools

Speaking of documenting with Microsoft Word: Ed was fed up with not having the software he needed for the job. He didn’t have software for automatically creating network diagrams…at all.

I asked him why on earth they were documenting with Microsoft Word: he said his organization flat out refused to purchase software.

He Was Overwhelmed by Lack of Staff

A major problem Ed cited was that there was too much work to do — and not enough hands to do it. Case in point: his 11-month documentation project (aka his 11 months in solitary). He was the only one on the job — and he needed help. Ed was sick of it.

He Was Tired of Employee Churn

Finally, Ed told me there were too many people coming and going. It was hard to retain experienced network engineers…and more often than not, new college grads were coming in with limited knowledge of the network. Without proper IT documentation in place (and software for automatic network mapping and diagrams), the organization didn’t have an easy way to onboard new team members…and getting someone up to speed took months and months. Ed was tired of it.

I asked Ed if he considered moving on to a different organization with more resources. He sighed and said, “nope. Different organization, same issues. Not worth it.” I thanked him for the ride, congratulated him on his new-found happiness, and wished him all the best with his glass art.

As I poured myself a coffee at home, I thought about a few things. That project that took 11 months with Microsoft Word was the straw that broke the camel’s back…but it didn’t have to go that way. Ed needed tools like our network diagram and mapping software netTerrain. New employees taking so long to get up to speed? That time could have been significantly reduced if Ed’s organization had the proper documentation in place to give new hires information about the network.

Hannah Ash
Hannah Ash
Hannah Ash is a marketing specialist who loves thinking, writing and speculating about the future of the data center.

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