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Expectations - by Veronica M. Martinez

$3.48. 22 Minutes. Accept or Decline?


I have to admit: my first couple of UberEats runs were a little shaky. The app didn’t come with a whole lot of instructions. Or I somehow completely missed them. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the tiny jolt of excitement when the “ding” comes in, and the countdown begins as to whether or not those 22 minutes will be worth the $3.48.


I mean, that’s approximately $9.00/hr. But if I send a text to the recipient for an update, they might leave me a $2.00 tip… and if I can manage to speed a little to pick it up I might be able to squeeze in 3 of these “dings” in the next hour putting me at $16.44/hr (which is probably a smidge less than what my college professors predicted I’d be making 6 years after graduation, but we won’t go down that rabbit hole).


My heart is beating.


The “dings” are louder.


Accept.


And with my homemade PPE strapped around my face and my dwindling antibacterial foam tilting around in my cupholder, I proudly press the gas to go earn the most socially distanced $3.48.


Two months ago I was discussing a dream job that would increase my pay by about 50%. As I stood across my would-be employer I remembered my days sitting in cold classrooms across from my professors and eternal nights of unpaid intern work. I thought, “Wow. This is it. I’m finally walking into that great place always talked about.”


I was offered the job.


“I’ll send you the Offer Letter tonight.”


Tonight, consequently, was the night that the entire world “cancelled.” And to make a long story short, I never heard from her again.


Fast forward I’m now really hoping the company I work for doesn’t cancel, too. And I’m becoming a master of quickly calculating the distance/money ratio of an UberEats call.


Today I logged off after a long day of UberEats-ing. I was happy to go pick up, at 6 feet of distance*, some pre-ordered* acai bowls from a local shop* (all of the COVID-19-approved words are noted with a *). As I’m driving away, I get a call from an unknown number I perceive to be UberEats. I should mention that my last drop-off was a $10.36 ride (essentially the jackpot of UberEats deliveries), and I was pretty satisfied with ending on a high. The man on the line proceeds to tell me that the recipient never got their food. He asks if I had completed the drop-off. I tell him that I did.


Time stands still.


I really was ready for my acai bowl. And I hadn’t hit one of those magical $16.44 hours, so turning around was going to make the cost of my time even less valuable.

“It looks like Jessenia can’t find her order.. I’ll let her know to look again. Okay, thanks, b—“


UGH.


I ask for the address again. There’s no way I’m messing up my high star rating for Jessenia-who-can’t-find-her-order. Even if two months ago I was about to get my dream job. Even if I haven’t hugged and kissed my loved ones in forever. Even if she paid WAY too much money for an insanely small amount of food.

I pull up to house 2775. Only to realize the delivery needed to go to 2755. The bag was untouched. I grab the bag. Tiptoe a few houses down. Hop back in the car. And ask Mr. UberEats if the recipient saw her food.

“Uhmmm.. Let me see.. Wait.. Yep, uhuh, on the floral mat, ma’am, she’s got it.”


Relief. Because I’m still the all-star who deserved that 50% raise. And if I don’t exercise that level of excellence (even at $6.42/hr) then that muscle might start to look a little like what my thighs have turned into during quarantine.

Leadership looks different these days. Maybe two months ago you were leading a team, and now you’re just leading yourself. Maybe two months ago you were signing a contract that for sure was going to make your bonus-ahem-robust? And now you’re doing some never-before-seen math to make sure you don’t have to furlough anyone.


There is hardly anyone that can say that their current life looks anything like what it did two months ago.

But. Here we are. As John Maxwell put it in Leadershift, leaders set expectations for themselves. And as we are understanding more and more how to manage our emotions during these “unprecedented times,” we are slowly falling into a new, familiar rhythm. One that will require the best of what you can offer.


What do you expect from yourself during this season?


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