‘I love student life because of the parties and fun. I’m also a member of a rowing club where I train two to three times a week, go to get-togethers and sit on committees. But when the lockdown came into effect, all of that suddenly fell away.
“That’s why I started as a bicycle delivery person at Thuisbezorgd in January. To combat boredom and because it seemed fun to be sporty. It wasn’t hard to get the job. As a student you are bombarded online with company vacancies.
“I now work a four-hour shift about two or three times a week. This is how long the services last at most: after that the electric bicycles are empty. Sometimes I do a double shift, then I switch bikes halfway through. It’s fun work to do. I get to know the city better and everyone is happy when I bring food. It is often hard after six: then I am non-stop picking up and dropping off orders.
“I get paid the minimum wage: 10.30 euros per hour. In addition, I receive holiday pay and a tip. The amount of the tip varies. People often give a little more during snow and rain and on holidays. On average, it comes down to about 25 to 30 euros per month for me.”
‘I don’t have to be rich, but I do like it when I have enough money for holidays or to eat out. When I order a specialty beer on the terrace, I don’t want to have to think: ‘this will cost me 5.50 euros’. I want to think: ‘how cozy it is here’.
“Since I got this part-time job, I can make ends meet. I used to be tight at the end of the month. Although I prefer not to use my savings, sometimes I had to. I don’t keep track of what I earn and spend, but sometimes I do check to see if my fixed costs can be lower. For example, I had a Swap bike and have now bought a normal bike. I didn’t take out the money you pay for service.
“How easily I spend money differs. I can spontaneously spend quite a bit on catering. But when I buy electronics, I can spend months doubting, weighing and watching videos about the products I’m considering buying. I’m a bit of a gadget freak and spend above average on Apple.
“I pay for my health insurance myself, but my parents pay the deductible. I have type 1 diabetes, so I’m always through that amount within a month. I have no problem with the delivery. I cycle electrically, so it’s not too heavy. I have a sensor on my arm that continuously measures my glucose levels and I make sure I always have fast sugars with me. I have said at work that I have diabetes, and can always rest if necessary. Then dinner is only a little later.”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of June 14, 2021