My name is Chris. I’m 33 years old and I live in Everett, WA. For the last five years, I’ve been working on and off in the “gig economy.” Right now, I’m delivering food for Postmates and DoorDash, and in the past I’ve worked for Uber and Grubhub.
The flexibility of working for apps like DoorDash gives me the opportunity to create my own schedule, get on the road when I want to, and choose when I get to spend time at home with my dog Boe.
If I could afford to go on a vacation sometime, the flexibility would be great — but I’m too far in debt to even think about that.
I’m locked into working 60+ hours a week, seven days a week, and I’m still struggling. Because these companies classify me as an independent contractor, I don’t get overtime, I don’t get benefits, and I don’t even make the minimum wage.
As workers in the gig economy, we take on a lot of risk and a lot of the costs of doing our jobs. We have to pay for our own insurance, gas, car payments and maintenance. Many of us, like me, don’t even get compensated for all of our mileage. (DoorDash pays me for the distance I drive from restaurants to customers, but the cost of driving between jobs is on me.)
My dream is to someday be out of debt. At the rate that I’m going, with all the bills I’ve racked up working in the gig economy, I have to work so much that I can’t enjoy my time.
I can’t go on a date. I can’t take time off for myself. I can’t go skiing, which I used to love doing, and barely have time to go to the gym or cook healthy food.
If you’ve ever had to live paycheck to paycheck, you know how hard it can be. The stress of trying to get by on low wages can even cause health problems — I’m already experiencing heart issues. If you know what it’s like to live like that, and work so hard you can’t enjoy life, then you should know it’s hard to be motivated to keep going.
Many people, like myself, choose to do this full-time because of the flexibility — but that shouldn’t allow them to get away with underpaying us. I would like to see them put their money where the wheels are.