Thursday, December 27, 2007

advice...

people are constantly asking me for advice about becoming a messenger...no big deal. im sure alot of messengers/dispatchers get asked all the time about what the job is like and so on. the following e-mails took place not to long ago...

hello sir,

you don't know me, but i am somehow under the impression that you can give me helpful advice. i have been thinking about messengering, but i'm not sure if it will make me hate riding my bicycle. i know i can bike all day, and i know i can bike in the cold. i'm not sure if i can bike all day in the cold. i don't know the loop particularly well, but being a messenger seems like a damn fine way to remedy that.

pls advise, kthx.


this wasnt a big deal...normally i try and convince people to not do it at all. it's not that the industry is a complete sh*t-hole but it can break people down. anyway, i decided to be helpful(my comments)...

not sure what to say...how much money will you need to survive? can you do full time? biking in the winter can be very, very, very difficult but for a first timer in can also be fun. most cats like doing a winter and are ok with it. umm...the winter is ok you just have to remember to keep three points of exit warm...hands, head, feet. if you could do that then you'll be alright. the winter time is constantly busy and its the season you'll make the most money in. for a first timer you're usually better off starting in the spring time or fall...that way you get a taste of cold weather but not freezing weather and you ease your legs into getting use to the miles you'll ride. i did it for two years straight and then about three years for winters and summers...i had to stop and dispatch cause i was really starting to hate my bike. those who cant do...teach.

most companies need full-time cats so part-time might be a little difficult but there are exceptions. you wont make shit your first month or so cause you'll still be learning the streets and the buildings...you know, shortcuts, security, msngr cntrs, lights, stops, sidewalks, and so on. it can be hard but if you put your time in then you'll make a liveable wage.

i hate giving advice unless im drunk and then im just telling everyone to not do it...much easier. i know i'll read this over and over wanting to edit things out or in. it can be fun...it can be shitty...Godspeed.


at this point i have no idea where the conversation might go. alot of people keep asking about the industry, some just ask one more question, and others just dont continue. the person i was communicating responds with...

i don't actually need to make money; i'm still finishing up school (taking the winter quarter, january-march off) and my parents help me out a lot. they'd probably be happier if i could pay my own rent, which isn't too bad. so yeah, money isn't really my concern; it's more the hating my bike (that you mentioned).

i'm not in my peak summer shape anymore, but i'm pretty confident i can still bike all day long, especially since this shit is flat.

as for cold, i'm a bikewinter evangelist! though on longer rides, or slower rides like CCM, i definitely get cold after a while. especially my feet. though couriers are inside buildings pretty frequently, so that might be sufficient opportunity to warm up.

i CAN do full time. i was thinking it might be easier to at least start out part-time, though, until i know my way around and feel more confident about things. and fewer hours might be preferable when it's assy out, too. i figure if i ever get up the guts to fill out an application, i'll be straight with my potential employer about that, and see what they say/need.

i have been wanting to try it out for a while now, but have kind of been scared. i guess i should suck it up and try it; i'll never know unless i give it a shot, eh?


you got to be f'n kidding me...you don't really need the money? then why bother? i felt like the person completely wasted my time. i didn't know what to do or respond...if she/he doesn't need the money then its best they dont even try it. my response...

cats are constantly coming and going. its not unheard of to have people such as yourself to work as a messenger but dont really need to. its hard, very hard, to make money in this industry and you would just be taking up a spot for someone who actually needs the money. also, you would be taking money from those already at the company that would take you in. not good.

one more thing...to cut down on the hours when its assy out is definitely a no-no. any good messenger knows that all the money is made in shitty weather...peace.

i should mention that if bike related jobs is what you're looking for i would look to the cbf(chicago bicycle federation)...definitely good. good luck.


cats come and go all the time...the industry has one of the highest turnover percentages. i felt bad telling her/he not to even bother but i know i did the right thing? i know there's alot of people that just do certain jobs because they actually love it and dont care about the money but in the messenger field money is a huge problem. people already working as a bicycle messenger are constantly at struggle with trying to figure out ways to bring more money into the industry. messengers are living check to check...there aren't many that do it just cause. i would say that in my experience 99.9% or messengers need to make money. food, shelter, family, school, or so on...whatever the case, there isn't too much room for those just looking for a hobby...peace.

4 comments:

Simon said...

Great post, J.dot. For whatever reason, being a messenger has a kind of romance to it. I'm sure this is why it appeals to people, especially now with more kids riding track bikes and doing alleycats.

Luke said...

For whatever reason, being a messenger has a kind of romance to it.

I blame Kevin Bacon.

sugar said...

for what its worth... i do not think being a messenger sounds romantic. i think it sounds cold. bless your hearts.

j.dot said...

kevin bacon will pay for what he has done...