Ulises Perez, 22, has been an Amazon delivery driver in Salt Lake City since 2020.
He said he mentally prepares himself every morning for the strenuous and hectic day ahead.
Perez started making TikTok videos to share job tips and communicate with fellow drivers.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ulises Perez, a 22-year-old Amazon delivery driver in Salt Lake, Utah. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I’d always wanted to be an Amazon driver as soon as I knew of the job’s existence. This was because of the advertised flexibility and perks that came with the job.
Overall, it seemed like it would be the right fit for me. I was the general manager of a car wash for a year and a half, but the pay wasn’t great and I found myself on the verge of a burnout because I was in charge of a large number of employees with little to no guidance.
I began to bide my time until I turned 21 — which is the official age to start work as an Amazon driver — and I could join my dream profession. A while after leaving my previous job, I came across an opening for a driver on Indeed, which I applied for. The application process was relatively easy, and I became a driver in October 2020.
I enjoy the flexibility of the job
I usually drive around in a classic step van, which I prefer because of the spaciousness in the cargo area and other favorable accessories inside. There’s a fan that helps during heat waves and a rear door that makes my movements accessible.
The independent contractors that I work with are flexible with scheduling, which allows me to engage in other life events and important activities outside of the job. I’m a gym buff and content creator on different social-media platforms on the side, so this helps a lot. (Editor’s note: Perez, like many Amazon delivery drivers, was hired by a local delivery-service partner and is considered an independent subcontractor with Amazon.)
Being a driver in a less populated city has its advantages
Compared to working in larger cities, my job is easier most of the time. I do occasionally get chased by dogs, but other than that, I usually keep to myself and limit my conversations with customers, except for instances when I have trouble accessing the buildings.
When doing deliveries, I make sure to drop off customers’ packages at their front doors. I always have to be on high alert and do my rounds with speed and efficiency to be able to successfully cover all of my given routes.
Sometimes I get to see people I know, like my friends and family, when I’m delivering through a familiar route. I feel blessed and grateful to be able to connect to the people in my life in this little way while I’m on the job.
I have to mentally prepare myself for the hectic shifts
Amazon’s AI-powered, 270-degree cameras that the company uses to detect our movements while driving was initially one of the most annoying parts of the job for me and other drivers, but I’ve come to accept it. It usually only records if I skip a stop sign or speed, but since this is something I don’t do, I have come to see it as a necessary add-on at work. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.
A typical day at work starts with me waking up and having a little me time where I mentally prepare myself for the intense day ahead. Then I get to the warehouse usually around 8 a.m. where we have a general meetup. We then get our pouches, which have the keys to the van we’ve been assigned that day in them, and line up to load the delivery packages into our vans.
I usually get on the road immediately after this for 10 hours or more, with little to no break time in between. I reach home late in the evening with an average of over 40 hours on the road every week. Our supervisors and managers are constantly raising the bar on how many more products we can deliver in a day in the span of this time frame.
The other drivers and I sometimes don’t get to go on lunch breaks
In some ways, being an Amazon driver is a physically strenuous job where you have to be on high alert to avoid being reprimanded or written up, but it’s also easy at the same time.
I think it would be a good fit for students and people looking for an extra job on the side. However, my city’s seasonal-weather whiplash during peak periods definitely adds to the stress of the job.
I use social media as a medium to relieve my stress
I like to share information on the job and communicate with my fellow drivers. I regularly use my TikTok to create fun and engaging videos while on the road. I share tips, information, and general knowledge with my followers — some of whom are fellow drivers with Amazon or other platforms.
I like to think that I’ve created a niche community of some sort. I was already making TikToks before joining the company, but I decided to use my work experiences to create content, and it’s been a very fulfilling journey.
I sometimes even get recognized by some of my followers while driving on the road. When this happened the first time, it really threw me off. I thought it was a joke or that I was being confused with someone else, but it turned out to be real. We both laughed at the absurdity of it all before I drove off.
We need to advocate for better pay
I would say that me and other Amazon employees that I know are in support of organizing a union. I hope that this happens soon as we all deserve better living wages and a healthy working environment with less tension.
Read the original article on Business Insider