Messenger Wage: 50K a year
I am continually amazed and offended at how many men would ask me how much I made as a bicycle messenger while I was in the process of working. Now, I expect this kind of rudeness at a dinner party. I’m there dressed nicely, or at the very least a T-Shirt without holes in it and a middle age man finds out another middle age man makes a living as a bicycle messenger. It’s a little curious, I understand that. So when that guy says, “Does that pay well?” I will politely sidestep his question. But here is the scenario I don’t handle so well. I’m out there, hauling huge boxes and attempting to delivery a package “yesterday.” I get on an elevator and a middle age man looks me up and down and says, “You a messenger?” I say yes. He would then say, “How long you been doing it?” I say 10 years. With a look of shock in his face he says, “What kind of money do you make?” That’s when the conversation ends. He really isn’t even asking a question at this point. What he is saying is, “My job sucks, my life sucks, and if I could make good money riding a bike I’d start today.” But that is the big rub. What is “good money”. As Kurt Fletcher states in the movie, “my best year was $50,000, which I thought was good money for riding a bike all day. But most years were in the mid 30′s.”
So, while there was a time when the money was better, it was never way to get rich quick or even in the long run. So, my point is this. You have to deliver over 6,000 packages a year to even come close to making 50K a year. To do that you will ride at least 6,000 miles, carrying at least 6,000 pounds on your back and run about have to run well over 10,000 stop lights. So instead of asking someone how much they make, ask what they have to do to make it. Life’s a balance. Good with bad. Bad with good. And we all look at life differently.
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