Uber Story – “Everybody needs something for nothing.”
I was going to Airport to attend HR Tech. HR Tech is the largest HR technologies focused event where thought leaders, technologists, innovators, and HR practitioners come together to celebrate the importance and advancements in HR.
Today, my ride to the airport was interesting. My conversation with Michael (Uber driver) helped me appreciate the rapid evolution of technology, the impact of gig economy on hard working middle class and lastly the importance of Employee Value Proposition to retain talent. While I realize that the world of employment will change drastically in the next ten years, it’s important to acknowledge that “Future of Work” is already here and we are right in the middle of this economic transformation.
This Story is about Michael – A 45-Year-old Meat Cutter, Cab Driver, and the delivery person
Not many times you meet a person who is passionate about his/her job. Michael is a seasoned hard worker who has three jobs, and he loves doing it. This blog is a summary of my conversation with the driver along with my interpretation of how gig economy is helping uplift the economic, standard of living for many millions already. What I loved about this conversation is the passion, dedication, and respect Michael had for the companies he works. This conversation served as a good reminder to myself that gratitude is one of the most important constituents for a happy life.
Meet Michael – A meat cutter with 25 years of experience working for HEB, driving Uber and delivering for Amazon part-time to fund a vacation
List of Michaels’s three jobs and nature of engagement
1) Meat Cutter at HEB – Full Time
2) Uber Driver Part-time – Part Time
3) Amazon Delivery driver – Part Time
During my conversation, I asked Michael about his job, salary, his employers and the reason for working so hard. I was genuinely curious to understand “What drives Michael” and what I can learn from him.
Let’s talk about his jobs
Meat Cutter at HEB
Our conversation started by talking about the neighborhood, inflation, and growth. Michael told me that he has lived in Austin all his life and moved to Pflugerville (Suburb of Austin) recently as Austin was getting very expensive. Pflugerville is a new neighborhood to the east of Austin. We started talking about rapid retail expansion in the area and how big-box retail is engulfing the landmass.
Michael told me that he shops in HEB and he loves the quality of grocery, meat, and food. After a few minutes of chit-chatting, I found out that Michael works for HEB and hence the brand loyalty. Michael works as a meat cutter at HEB, and he has been doing it for the last 25 years.
At that point, I couldn’t believe my ears. I could never imagine a person working for a same company in the same job for 25 years. My curiosity peaked at this moment, and I fired many questions to Michael. Michael gets paid $30/hour at HEB to cut meat. His salary has tripled in the last 25 years. Michael said he loves working for HEB. Top reasons he stated as reasons are great culture, amazing colleagues, flexibility, No commute (His house is eight mins from the HEB Store he works at) and autonomy at work. Not to mention the great benefits.
Hardest challenge Michael has faced at his job is customers asking for more for less i.e. Specify the size of meat piece, cut type etc. I heard the phrase "Everybody needs something for nothing" several times from Michael while discussing customer expectations
I asked Michael if he drives Uber part time and he promptly replied that he drives Uber for 3 to 4 hours every day and has been doing it for about three years now. He makes about $700/Week ($2,500/Month) with Uber. He mostly uses this money for vacation spending.
He takes a family vacation every year with this money (Has been doing this for at least last three years now)
Michael said that few days a week he will sign-up to deliver packages for Amazon. Amazon delivery pays $100 for 2.5 hours of delivery duty on a route. All of the delivery is last mile delivery which means Michael can use his car to deliver the packages. During rainy days (When there are not enough drivers to deliver) Amazon pays $180/route
About 12 hours of hard work every day, $92,000 Income, Great Benefits and No commute to work
HEB – $30*176*12 (30/Hr, 176 hours a month, 12 months a year) = $63,360/Yr
UBER – Avg. $2,000/Month = $24,000/Yr
Amazon – Avg. $400/Month = $ 4,800/Yr
Total = $92,160/Yr
If this isn’t the future of work, then what is?