Food Delivery Driver: Gen Z’s Dream Job or Worst Nightmare?
I have had many jobs… but I have never had an actual boss. In high school, I filmed my school’s Board of Education meetings. I would occasionally freelance tutor by finding clients in a Facebook group. At college, I film different sporting events for our school. All of these activities were and are extremely independent. However, the most independent and profitable of all is my true money-making addiction: driving for DoorDash.
Driving for delivery apps has become an extremely popular job for teens in the past few years. With a car, a phone, and some time, you have the opportunity to make a stack of cash by just driving around your local area. The job is viewed as relaxed and fun, but it is not always as easy as it seems. From experience, this is why driving for delivery apps is both perfect and not ideal for teens and Gen Z.
Delivery app driver is a perfect job for Gen Z because:
- There is no barrier to entry: As stated, the only things required when signing up for delivery apps (in my experience with DoorDash) are a phone, access to a car, a bank account to link, and a clean background check. If all of those items are met, you can start driving in days. This is great for a teenager. There is no application or interview process that often creates stress and anxiety. There is also no previous experience required, a condition becoming increasingly rare with many job and/or internship postings. There is also no maximum number of drivers: help is always wanted. All of this makes it reasonable and attractive for Gen Z.
- There is no schedule: Driving for delivery apps is unique. If you want to work tomorrow, you can. If you don’t want to work tomorrow you don’t have to. Delivery apps provide an extreme amount of flexibility that no other job does. With the rise of heightened social settings, the fear-of-missing-out, and increasing responsibility, this is perfect for teenagers. They don’t have to actually commit to a concrete schedule, leaving time to be spontaneous and spend time with friends and family.
- The gamification of delivery apps: Delivery apps are simple (from my experience with DoorDash): you drive out to your town, activate the app, and wait for orders to be offered to you. Essentially, the app will offer you an order with the location of the restaurant and house and how much money you will make from it (for instance: a five-mile delivery from McDonald’s that will give you $8.00). You can choose to accept that order and complete the delivery, or reject that order and wait for a new one. This basically turns the job into a game. What strategy should you use when accepting orders? Can you beat your “high score” of money-earned-per-hour? This gamification of the job is extremely appealing to Gen Z, used to the fast-paced nature of social media and other outlets. This makes the job enjoyable.
Delivery app driver is not an ideal job for Gen Z because:
- The gamification of delivery apps: While the gamification of the job is definitely a benefit, it can also be an extreme detriment. This facet of the job can cause addiction to the job, overly consuming teenagers’ minds and time. Additionally, this can cause extreme frustration when a delivery outing is not as successful as usual. The job is designed to keep you delivering as much as possible, which can definitely lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
- The job is not as easy as it seems: While it is true that virtually anyone can deliver whenever they want, it is not so easy if you want to make at least above minimum wage. To make a good hourly rate, delivery takes a lot of practice and research to understand. There is an intense strategy in deciding which orders to deliver and which orders to skip. This is all information that delivery apps do not provide themselves. Even knowing all the strategies, some days are just worse than others with just worse and lower-paying orders. All of this makes the job less idyllic than it seems.
- There is a missing, essential structure: When you deliver food, you do not have a boss, you do not need to delegate, you do not need to write emails, you do not need to network, you do not need to create a proper schedule, etc. All of this is great and makes the job very desirable. However, the vast majority of people will not deliver food for the rest of their life. Eventually, you likely will have a job where you have a boss and need to know proper work etiquette. Skills required for these jobs are not gained through delivering food based on an app. This is perhaps the biggest detriment to the job. Delivering food for a delivery does not prepare effectively for future jobs, and is withholding essential skills from a large group of our future workforce. Teenagers should understand this before committing to the job.
In conclusion, I do believe delivery apps are a good option. The systems were essentially built for Gen Z, and the job is extremely flexible for the lives of a teenager. However, teenagers should understand what they are getting into before starting delivery and should work to fill in the gaps in skill that the job provides.
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With immense gratitude, the Promly Team.