Once Upon a Time
Around this time last year, I wanted to challenge myself by trying my hand in the blue-collar field. Fresh off a year-long break where I cheerfully worked from home to focus on my first book and the perils of self-publishing (running away from a career in corporate at the speed of light), I thought of the brilliant idea of applying to Amazon and becoming a part-time delivery driver. What did I have to lose? I'd become my own boss for over a year, mentally unprepared to relinquish that title, so this job was about as close to it as I could get. As per Amazon drivers I've encountered over the years:
"With this job, there isn't anyone standing over you. You kinda just drive and do your own thing."
Say no more!
I gave it the 'ol college try and actually enjoyed it - EXCEPT for:
Those days where temperatures soared to the upper 90s and I was sweating like Patrick Ewing at the free throw line; or when routes took me into the woods, apartment buildings without elevators or downtown districts where parking was limited (if I took too long making my way around the building I'd usually be greeted with a traffic ticket from an unforgiving cop - deducted from your paycheck, might I add); or better yet, those glorious days being assigned to deliver in sketchy neighborhoods, (holding my urine) where the only time I felt safe was inside of my truck pulling off 🤦🏾♂️
Oh, the memories...
Keep in mind, I'm a NYC guy - born and raised - having lived through the grittiness of the 80s and early 90s. I'd like to think I've seen and dealt with EVERYTHING. But life as an Amazon delivery driver is a different animal. Imagine dropping off packages in the 'hood, with onlookers commonly advising that you not leave items at the doorstep of a customer who wasn't home? Ummm, isn't that what DELIVERING is all about?
"YO! I wouldn't do that if I were you. It ain't gonna be there when they get back!"
All in a day's work, but in the end, I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with the chaos, nor was my body cut out for the day to day grind no matter how much of a gym rat I'd become over the years. I'd arrive home, drenched, drained, battered and bruised... like boxing against the '88 version of Mike Tyson. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the freedom of a driver, frequently visiting the exquisite homes of some handsomely-paid individuals, but after a couple of months, I waved the white flag. No mas!
The moral of the story is, I had the ability to leave on my own and was very fortunate not to skip a beat concerning household expenses. Unfortunately, there are many people currently working frontline jobs who can't afford to get out of the line of fire so easily. This is how they survive and feed their families. Besides, finding a new job probably isn't the easiest of things right now. The eye-popping issues I'd encounter during my trial-run as a driver is considered child's play compared to those who deal with this five, sometimes six days a week - on top of working through the current Covid-19 pandemic. We can't forget about them.
I am here to tell you first hand, delivery driving isn't some walk-in-the-park job. It isn't as simple as driving at your own leisure, delivering packages while whistling The Andy Griffith Show theme song. Sorry. You're dealing with all types of people, scenarios, visiting all types of environments - 365 days of the year. The job never ends - pandemic and all. The next time we think about throwing a fit because our packages weren't "delivered on time," let's take some time by putting things in its proper perspective. Probably NOW more than ever.