As things tenuously reopen here in Santa Fe, I know a lot of people who are searching for jobs and, as usual, it can be difficult to change jobs in what was a thriving restaurant and tourist town.
Before the pandemic hit, I had been working on getting a job with the 2020 census, but that was going nowhere due to reasons I can speculate on.
Luckily, when I was the operations manager for Fetch in 2019, I hired more than 25 people as drivers, and several of them have included me on other gig opportunities since I left that job due to a repetitive-use injury.
One of those jobs is TurnKey Vacation Rentals, which was thriving for the month I was working under that platform. It was easy to sign on through its website (although I just used the phone app), and jobs can be varied, including housekeeping, which has an entirely new importance due to the virus situation.
I don’t do that kind of work, but I do shuttle household supplies from their storage places to their primarily Airbnb vacation rentals, do laundry and dry-cleaning runs, digital mapping of interior spaces so the company can showcase the rentals virtually online and simple fix-it jobs. Several people I know are signed on as yard workers and more targeted equipment maintenance people.
These jobs are everywhere and are still hiring, but it is contract work.
I had another one of my Fetch hires get me onboard with the 2020 census through her business, the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy, which is apparently a third-party contractor for the census. Again contract work.
This year’s census is going to be very different from the one 10 years ago. For the first four to five months, it will consist primarily of cold-calls, online and social media outreach, and we even were told to start thinking about creating memes.
Instacart is still thriving, but it can be a little unsteady, and a lot of what you make depends on luck and dedication — and, frankly, waking up early in the morning and being able to handle difficult customers who haven’t been to a grocery store in person to see just how much has changed in the past three months.
These customers are unaware of the lines to get into most stores, disbelieve when their favorite products are not in stock and don’t realize the social-distancing rules that everyone is encouraged to practice while in public and in mostly enclosed spaces.
Finally, on a personal note, it was really nice to experience roughly two-plus months of having most of the terrible drivers in this city off the roads. The vast difference has been noticeable in the past week of this soft “reopening” of the city.
Wear a mask, not to protect yourself, but to protect the people you love.
Sam Haozous is a Santa Fe gig worker working as a contractor for Instacart, TurnKey Vacation Rentals and Lyft, and he is administrator for the 2020 Santa Fe Grocery & Restaurant Pandemic Updates Facebook Group.