Saturday 16 December 2017

'The 40-hour weeks in the office... I think it's kind of slowly killing you' - research associate who quit to cycle all day as Deliveroo driver

Hannah Bechara in Portobello. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Hannah Bechara in Portobello. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Hannah studied ­computational ­linguistics at DCU and completed ­post-doctoral research at the ­University of Wolverhampton. She now lives in Portobello, Co Dublin, and works as a driver for Deliveroo.

"Until last year I was working as a research associate in a university. I left my last job because I was working up to 60 hours a week, and I developed a repetitive strain injury in my neck. I realised I could spend the next 10 years doing this and lose all feeling in my arms, or I could quit and get a different job.

"I had also fallen out of love with the job - it just became a job, it was no longer my passion.

"I'm really into cycling as a hobby, and in November I saw the ad for Deliveroo drivers. It meant I could cycle all day and get paid for it. Of course it's not the same kind of money as a research associate, but it keeps me outdoors and it's really low stress. It's not really sustainable long term, and I don't know what I plan to do in the future, but for now, it's made my life so much better.

"It is definitely unreliable - you get paid by delivery rather than by hour. What you have to do is figure out the times when it's busy, usually between 7-10pm on a weekday and most of the time on a weekend. I tend to work five-hour shifts during the week and on the weekends I'll go out the morning, and if it's a nice day, it's great because you can spend the whole day cycling around Dublin and do 10-12 deliveries.

"In terms of wages, it is basically the bare minimum - I'm lucky, I have cheap rent on my apartment, but if I want to go on holiday or if anything comes up, I have to dip into savings. I can't put money aside on it, it just barely covers me to survive.

"It's very different to what my friends do, but I like that it's different. People find it fascinating, they always want to learn more about why I'm doing this. I used to hear it from friends - well, ex-friends - that I'm dodging responsibility and what I should be doing now is saving money and buying a house, and why am I trying to hide from it?

"The 40-hour weeks in the office, doing the same thing over and over, I think it's kind of slowly killing you. That's how I felt, it was making me sick.

"In terms of lifestyle, I can't spend as much anymore, but I feel I don't need to, I can actually survive on very little because I have time and energy to do fun things without needing to throw money at it. I'm not stressed any more, I have no stress in my life from work at all, so I think I'm much happier and much healthier than I was."

Hannah Bechara (33)

Portobello, Co Dublin

Originally from Belfast

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