I stopped at a truck stop half way between Boston, MA and my home office in New Haven, CT. From the get-go, I knew the assignment wasn't for me. And I had traveled all that way, expenses not reimbursed (parking for 2 hours set me back $32), to check out the "opportunity."
I looked around to plug in my laptop. Immediately I needed to send an email to the employer stating that other assignments had come in. Blah. Blah. Blah. I wanted to make the horror ancient history.
A middle-aged man jumped up from his own laptop to help me. He read my face. I poured out my sad story. He poured out his. Laid off two years ago, he was now a long-distance truck driver.
I'm sorry, I said. Oh, don't be sorry, he told me. He explained how on the road he got to think up memes to post on social media. He showed me samples. He was very proud of being a social media gadfly. The guy did have a talent with headlines. That's what I told him.
We kept in touch. About a year after our meet-up, he opened his own transportation business. After all, he had a commercial license. He is still participating in many conversations on social networks and his own social media platforms.
I am convinced: It was that preoccupation with social that kept him rolling. No pun intended. He never identified himself as a truck driver. Currently his self-definition is thought leader. Not driver. Watch out, Peter Thiel.