I’ve been a cyclist for 15 years, and I love riding my bike. I found out about delivering for Jimmy John’s through the bike community. My partner had been a bike messenger for a few years at that time, so I decided it would be a decent idea to get my own bike and work as a courier. I think cycling in the city has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever done. The fact that I’m able to do that, do it well, and pay for my family while I do it, is really rewarding.


As a bike courier, my hours are steady — I work a three-hour shift, Monday through Friday. That means I have the time to do other things in my life that I need to be doing. As a human being, I have goals, I have appointments, I have other interests, I have a whole other life outside of work. I live with my partner and my two kids — Cierce, who’s 6 years old, and Riot, who’s 3. Parenthood requires me to know what’s coming up in my life before it happens. Making plans on a whim and squeezing things in doesn’t work when I’m balancing my family’s multiple schedules. The fragility of my life depends on knowing what’s happening in advance.

In the past, I’ve worked for places that have taken advantage of their employees — asking us to take on extra shifts and knowing somebody would step up and say yes, or using guilt trips to make us feel like we didn’t have a choice about our schedules. Now that I’m working at a job that’s covered by secure scheduling, I can say no. I can know that I’ve fulfilled my commitment, and even if it’s sort of a bummer for my employer, I won’t be at risk of losing my job because I turned down a shift. The employer needs to plan ahead and have their own backup plan, instead of making employees’ fear of losing their jobs the backup plan.

Secure scheduling also means I can change my schedule when I need to. We have the luxury of being a two-parent household, but there are still times I need to take off work for my kids — early release days on Wednesdays where they get off the bus downtown at 2 pm, or teacher’s days where they’re off school, or when I need to take them to doctor’s appointments.

I chose this job specifically because I knew it would be a schedule that worked for me and my family, and that I could hold my employer accountable if they weren’t giving me two weeks’ notice. I know that unless I decide to work extra hours and stay late, I’m going to be able to get off work on time to be there for my kids. When I was growing up, my parents were always held late at work. Sometimes they were so late to pick us up because of work that it caused a significant issue — we would be the last kids left to get picked up after school, and have the principal waiting with us. I know that will never be the case for my kids. They won’t be left waiting for me because my boss expects me to stay late.

That’s why I’ve shifted away from salaried positions — I’d rather be paid the hours, and be done working when I’m done working, and give to my family what I anticipated giving to my family. I’m able to make dinner with my family every night of the week. I can pick up extra shifts if I have extra time, but it’s not expected of me.

My dream job is to be a food educator — I’m passionate about food in a personal setting and a professional setting, and I know how powerful it’s been for me harnessing that power, and I look forward to sharing that with young adults and youth. I’m studying for the GREs this year, trying to get into grad school so I can study public health or nutrition. With secure scheduling, I know I’m going to have the time and space in my life to study because I know my schedule. I’ll be able to plan in advance and make sure my goals are attainable instead of being sucked into working extra hours or being told I need to stay late.

I owe it to my family to provide for them, but also to be present and know when I get to invest time. Secure scheduling means I can be home with my kid when I need to — without my boss being able to change it in the snap of the fingers. I know I get to spend that time with my kid when I need to. I get that time for my family.

When I know my schedule, I am able to build a life of quality. When I compare jobs and benefits, my secure scheduling & my two weeks' notice are at the top of my list.

Click here to read more stories from workers like Merlee about what secure scheduling has meant for their time, their families, their health, and their lives.