Thursday, December 27, 2018

Career change …

… What It’s Like to Deliver Packages for Amazon - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There’s also a bracing feeling of independence that attends piloting my own van, a tingle of anticipation before finding out my route for the day. Will I be in the hills above El Cerrito with astounding views of the bay, but narrow roads, difficult parking, and lots of steps? Or will my itinerary take me to gritty Richmond, which, despite its profusion of pit bulls, I’m starting to prefer to the oppressive traffic of Berkeley, where I deliver to the brightest young people in the state, some of whom may wonder, if they give me even a passing thought: What hard luck has befallen this man, who appears to be my father’s age but is performing this menial task?


  1. I would not be entirely surprised to learn that the bright youth of Berkeley had never seen--or anyway noticed--delivery drivers of middle age or older. That the author seems to think it surprising is more interesting. The oldest delivery drivers I worked with in my college days may have been younger than I am now; but they were old enough to have offspring of twenty-five or so.

  2. My sister recently got hired to drive a delivery van for Amazon. She has a predictable 40-hour-a-week schedule with a benefits package that includes a health plan. She earns slightly less than she did in her white-collar job, but she's worlds happier, because she gets to leave her job-related worries in the van when she goes home to her kids at night. This week I met some of her co-workers. They're men and women of every race, age, and background, and they don't consider the job embarrassing or beneath them.

    The Atlantic piece was nicely free of self-pity, but it does say something about the socioeconomic silo of their readership that they need a journalist to brief them on the exotic world of...package delivery.

  3. I was actually sympathizing for this guy until I got to this passage: "The Iraq War was going sideways; 43 needed some positive press. I jumped at the chance, even though I loathed many of his policies"

    Sorry, but it is not the job of ANY principled journalist to offer "positive press" in exchange for access. I certainly never did and I was an independent journo who got access to presidential candidates, Nobel laureates, and numerous other notables. In all cases, I never sucked up and even questioned the people who I really liked. (And many of my interview subjects respected me for this.) If this was the way this guy was "practicing" journalism and landing interviews, then it sounds to me like he should have been out of the game much earlier.