The Flip by Keisha H.

For the past three days, I had searched the job boards for new opportunities. Freshly unemployed, money and financial security started to permeate my thinking. He contacted me through a task app, where people hire people to help them with tasks and chores, and hired me for my first job.

My client messaged me from New York, en route to Miami; he would be on the ground in five hours. He wanted me to leave now and wait in line for him at a pop-up store. The store opened in a couple of days so the line shouldn’t be that long. He sounded stressed and I didn’t want to disappoint. I packed up my laptop and exited the coffee shop.

Pulling into the prominent Design District, I saw a line that spanned the boulevard. The tents and folding chairs foreshadowed the events that would ultimately unfold in the next forty hours. I made my way to the back of the line and tried to unpack the situation. The pop-up store announced their Design District opening only hours before. Whilst in the queue, I also learned that merchandise from other openings had been reselling for exorbitant rates on the secondary market. With a bit of patience and luck, I could make some decent money. I scrambled to contact friends and family and within thirty minutes I had secured five thousand dollars. When my client finally arrived, we waited together to enter the store.

Hour after hour passed but the line didn’t move. The store would open in two days and we were left to wait in the hot July sun. With the risk of heat stroke, the district distributed large umbrellas to protect its patrons from the blistering conditions. Finally, after about thirty-five hours, the line began to move. The mob went through a series of security checkpoints before finally being admitted into the store. Once inside, we were limited in the number of items we could purchase. I used my budget and made a nice profit from the resale.

My introduction to the gig economy reaffirmed that I didn’t need to worry about how I would make a living. I proved to myself that day that I could size an opportunity, take action, and remain resilient in an uncomfortable situation. I was going to be alright.

Let Me Do It!

This week, I paired up with another Tasker to take on a moving job in the neighborhood. Michelle needed to get her 20-foot moving truck loaded up as she was moving out of state for a new job. Michelle’s mother, Nancy, flew down from New York to help her daughter with the move.

We started midday with the sun at its highest point and humidity index off the charts. We entered the home and climbed the stairs to find boxes, furniture, and unpacked items strewn throughout the 3-bedroom apartment. As Michelle prepared to leave the home, her kid brother moved himself in. Luckily enough, Michelle labeled the boxes and had good oversight on what was hers.

I led our two-man team and we started filling the truck with the largest items first. I had helped clients before and I was proficient with filling and organizing vans, trucks, and moving pods. After the large items, we planned to fill the rest of the truck with boxes and miscellaneous items. Taking a quick inventory of Michelle’s belongings, I estimated to fill about three quarters of the truck.

Nancy, a confident and strong-minded woman, introduced herself and began peppering us with questions about our experience and expertise. We gladly answered her questions about the app and our credentials as movers. As we were organizing the large items in the truck, she climbed into the back and started directing us on how to place them. She wanted to stack the furniture pieces as high as possible to ensure everything would fit. We obliged and she stayed in the truck for the entire two-hour move. Nancy, dripping with perspiration, organized and reorganized items as we brought them into the truck. At some point, I sincerely asked her if I could bring her some water. In the end, the larger pieces towered a few feet over the shortly stacked boxes, poising an opportunity for damage.

My clients sometimes need total control to remain at ease. I provide my recommendations and leave it up to them to decide on course of action. We thanked Michelle and Nancy and wished them good luck and safe travels.

You Saved my Life

You Saved my Life. Those 4 words make all the difference. As a Tasker, I execute the projects, tasks, and chores that my clients are unwilling or unable to do. I’ve delivered gifts, waited in line, helped with moving, and assembled furniture. With over 100 jobs completed in the past year, I’ve seen my fair share. This past weekend I took my first bar-tending job for a dinner party for 30.

My introduction to alcohol and serving it in large quantities dates back to 2005. My college roommates and I threw large house parties at our off-campus housing. With no large Greek life presence, our parties attracted the basketball team, classmates, and visitors from other schools. At some point, we experimented with selling JELLO shots as a way to make extra money and enhance our guest experience. The initiative failed as they took too long to produce and we lacked quality control. By the end of my college tenure, I had plenty of experience with purchasing, transportation, manufacturing, sales, and distribution.

Nina picked up the phone and sounded a bit stressed. Her dinner party to celebrate her sister’s birthday was less than 24 hours from now. She lacked the experience of purchasing supplies and running a bar; she was counting on me to make this work. I assured her that everything would be alright and provided her with a shopping list of spirits, beers, wines, mixers, and other miscellaneous items. I told her I would arrive early the next day to ensure everything was ready to go.

I arrived to the house in the gated community at 5 and greeted the caterer and event decorators. Nina was out picking up the cake from the bakery and buying some last-minute items. I let myself in through the garage and started gathering my supplies. I found a beautiful, tall, wooden fish tank stand that could double as my bar. I set my spirit bottles on top of the faux-bar with the label facing outward, as I had often seen at restaurants, bars, and catered parties. I sliced up limes into eighths for the caipirinhas, caprioskas, Modelos, and other mixed drinks that I would be serving. Around 6:30, the guests started arriving and the alcohol started to flow.

At the end of the evening, Nina said the 4 magical words that makes a Tasker beam. She promised to tell her friends about me and the various ways I can help. We hugged and said our goodbyes. With a smile from ear to ear, I left the party with one more story to tell and one task closer to 200.

Two Guys and a Dolly

James waited for me in the parking lot as I was pulling in. Today proved to be another hot day in the Sunshine State. At 12:30, we started the move to the new apartment. James and Melanie had upgraded their lives from a 1-bedroom to a 2-bedroom.

I walked in the apartment and the boxes were packed and ready to go. We made a plan to first move the boxes and then the furniture. Melanie supervised our activity from the couch. Once we moved the couch from the first apartment to the second, Melanie and her puppy followed.

An hour into the move, our shirts were drenched and dehydration started to set in; we took a break. I drank my cold bottled water and poured the remainder on the back of my neck. Rested and re-hydrated, we picked up where we left off.

A dolly helps save time and energy. They come in different formats but the premise is the same: a base with wheels to stack boxes or move heavy items. A dolly allows for greater efficiency by decreasing the number of trips. For example, a dolly will allow you to move 4 boxes, at once, instead of picking up and transporting 1 box at a time.

James and I moved the last of the fragile items. We reached his budgeted time so our business was concluded. At the end of 3 hours, the heavy and fragile items were moved to the new apartment. After a quick lunch break, James would complete the move, by himself. I gave James a warm smile and wished him good luck, maybe in more ways than one.

Burger Guy

The intoxicating smell, or maybe just toxic, hit me as soon as I closed my car door. I packed the 26 burgers and 18 orders of fries into the trunk of my sedan. I started the GPS and the delivery distance was, luckily, only 5 miles away.

With the windows down and vents set to pull in air from the outside, I made my way to the drop off location. The fresh air and cool wind in my hair turned into the stagnate, chemical-laced cloud that hangs over burger joints across the nation. With 1-mile to go, I gagged and responded by setting the fans to the maximum level.

As I waited in the client’s lobby, every passerby stopped and took a double take at the bags from the burger joint. First, they were hit with the trademark smell and next they saw the iconic packaging. Their eyes widened, mouths salivated and they were reminded that it was lunch time. These folks just had no idea.

Routine Assembly

Thursday evening came around and I headed to my assembly job. 6 months into this gig gave me the knowledge and confidence to handle any type of task thrown at me. Rex had contacted me from out of state to assemble his girlfriend’s bed.

When I arrived at the scene, I organized my work space. I cleared the area to allow enough room for me to work. I unpacked the boxes and stacked like pieces together to help visualize the final product. Like the many times before, I picked up the instructions and got to work. 40 minutes into the job, I made a critical error causing me to strip a screw. Unable to correct the mistake, I had to explain to the client that I needed to come back tomorrow.

Disappointed, embarrassed, and a little panicked, I called the handiest person I knew, my dad. He suggested I research the problem on YouTube. Once home, I jumped on the computer and started my search to ‘remove a stripped hex bolt.’ The videos were plenty and I found a solution that just might work. Relieved, I shut my laptop and headed to bed.

The next morning, I re-watched the video and noted the parts that I would need from the hardware store. With my new knowledge and accompanying tools and parts, I headed back to the client.

I returned to my workspace with the half-assembled bed and various parts and pieces scattered across the room. My client slept on the couch the previous night; she was counting on me to make this work. I pulled out my hammer and, newly purchased, torx bit steel socket. Using some force, I lodged the torx bit into the stripped screw and then carefully extracted it using my drill. The screw slowly made its way out; the procedure was a success. I replaced the damaged screw with a new one and completed the job within an hour. This job humbled me and served as a reminder that I still had plenty to learn.