As I was leaving the grocery store this week, I was reminded about one of the part-time jobs I held while I searched for a full-time job when I saw the green Instacart freezer and refrigerator on my way to the car. Instacart is a grocery delivery service that I learned about from one of my students. I don't think it was a coincidence that she randomly came into my office that day when she told me about this part-time job making $25 an hour with flexible hours. I think God sent her to me to tell me about what ended up being one of the best part-time jobs I have ever worked and that I would work throughout my unemployment.
After she had told me about Instacart, I looked up the company and discovered they were new to the Houston market and were, in fact, hiring both in-store shoppers and delivery drivers, so I applied to work as an in-store shopper. A in-store shopper is someone who shops for people who are not able to come to the grocery store. The customers shop from home from a computer or an app on their phone, and all of the items they want comes to the Instacart app for me to select, pay for and bag for a delivery driver to pick up to deliver to the customer. Instacart provides everything you need to get the job done. The green fridge and freezer in the picture are where I would store the customers' orders. Once I stage the orders, the delivery driver comes to get it to take it to the customer and I'm off to the next order. I swear I love technology! I despise driving in Houston on a normal day, so I couldn't imagine having to fight traffic to deliver groceries. Plus I didn't want the wear and tear on my car, so I thought the flexible hours as an in-store shopper would be perfect for me and it was.
It took me about two months from the time I applied to actually to start working with Instacart and it took me another two months to get the hang of being able to locate items and shop quickly in order to make more money. The quicker you shop, the more orders you get and the more money you make. I was sold on the idea of being able to set my own hours and being able to work as much or as little as I wanted while earning $25 an hour while I searched for a full-time job. I also liked the idea that I was able to meet my Fitbit step goal each time I worked because there was a lot of walking to complete each order that I had to shop not to mention all of the bending stooping, pushing and pulling heavy those heavy ass grocery carts. I learned a lot about working in grocery stores and learned even more about all of the different foods they carry. To be honest, I consider myself a grocery store expert now.
My time at Instacart was humbling and I am thankful for the experience. Prior to being unemployed, you couldn't have paid me any amount of money for me to believe that I would ever find myself working in a grocery store with all of the professional experience I had and education I had obtained. I thought a PhD equated to job security and salary increases. I was wrong. I am certain that my experience was one that I had to go through. It was the only way for me to realize that I was not responsible for any of the accomplishments I had made. God was and still is driving this life I live. I am thankful for the experience. I do not take anything for granted and am here to tell you that if you are ever in need of a job to hold you over until you receive your break through check out Instacart.