Working independently helps me put school first.

National App-Based Work Alliance Will Advocate for Solutions That Preserve Worker Independence and Access to Benefits

Written by: Cole Rogers

Starting college has been an exciting, but stressful experience. The added worry of how to pay the bills makes it even harder. Right now, I’m in my first semester studying to be an aerospace engineer - and with classes like chemistry, trigonometry, and engineering - I need a flexible work schedule that won’t interfere with school.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about rigid schedules or long shifts getting in the way of my schoolwork, because I deliver with Instacart. It’s the perfect way for me to make money on the side while still putting school first.

What makes this type of work appealing to me as a student is that I can build a work schedule that doesn’t interfere with my classes. If I have a big test to prepare for, a project to work on, or a mountain of homework to get through, I can step back from delivering and make sure I focus on my studies. However, if I have downtime, I can put in some delivery hours and earn some extra income.

Even beyond earning an income on my own time, shopping with Instacart has allowed me to help people in my community. Many times, I’ve delivered groceries to families struggling to juggle work and their kids while trying to stay safe during COVID-19. I love knowing that I’ve helped ease a family’s burden at a time when they really need it.

Delivering is a valuable source of income for me as I get through school. However, because I choose to work independently, I don’t have access to social benefits like health insurance.

Many workers like me need some benefits and protections but cannot work full-time schedules or be company employees. When I heard about portable benefits, I was immediately interested because this seems to solve the one problem with my job. I love the idea that I can keep my flexible work schedule while still having access to safety net protections that would help me get through an emergency. With portable benefits, I could start working with another app-based company and keep my same benefits if I need them. This would help create certainty that is lacking in my current job.

Being in school is the most important thing to me right now, because one day I want to build the planes of the future. Working independently is helping me achieve that goal. A portable benefits plan would keep me protected while allowing me to maintain my freedom to work when I can, while keeping my education a top priority.

Cole Rogers lives in Mesa, AZ and is a student at Mesa Community College.