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How One Worker Adjusted to Job Loss

Summary:
Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me an hour (plus OT!). It’s been healthy for me, a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon with a Roman numeral in my name (John Austin Murphy III), to be a minority in my workplace, and in some of the neighborhoods where I deliver. As Amazon reaches maximum ubiquity in our lives (“Alexa, play Led Zeppelin”), as

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Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!). It’s been healthy for me, a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon with a Roman numeral in my name (John Austin Murphy III), to be a minority in my workplace, and in some of the neighborhoods where I deliver. As Amazon reaches maximum ubiquity in our lives (“Alexa, play Led Zeppelin”), as online shopping turns malls into mausoleums, it’s been illuminating to see exactly how a package makes the final leg of its journey.

This is from Austin Murphy, “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon,” The Atlantic, December 25, 2018.

The whole thing is worth reading. I even found it somewhat inspiring.

His last paragraph suggests that Mr. Murphy does too:

This is also true: Gina and I got approved for that loan [on a house] last week, meaning that our monthly outlay, while not so minuscule that it can be drowned in Grover Norquist’s figurative bathtub, is now far more manageable, thanks in part to these daily journeys which I consider, in their minor way, heroic.

People my age may also appreciate his discussion of the need to find a place for urinating. Here’s something I carry in my car. I do NOT recommend using it while driving. You should stop somewhere first.

Personal story that this article reminded me of:

Years ago, when I went to give two talks at the University of Rochester, I had lunch with economists Steven Landsburg and Ron Jones. I was reminiscing with Steve about an excellent luncheon talk he had given to a group of Congressional aides at a Mercatus event in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He remembered the talk I had given that same day on a panel dealing with health policy. I asked him what he remembered. He said that what really stood out was my statement that although I was saving for old age and was on track, if worst came to worst and I had to work for a living, I would see nothing wrong or demeaning or embarrassing in working at a cash register at McDonald’s.

HT2 Glenn Reynolds, aka The Instapundit.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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