Posted on: August 26, 2014
A young widow with two small children was planning a birthday party. It was mid-January, and her Christmas tree was still up. She had shopping to do and Christmas decorations to put away – all before the weekend. She had challenged herself to push through the grief and make her daughter’s third birthday a real celebration, but the logistics were overwhelming…
Meanwhile, an urban couple acquired a rental property in west suburban Chicago. Exciting, until the snow kept falling…and falling…and falling…It was difficult to battle out to the suburbs week after week just to shovel in a -5 degree windchill. Brrr…
Additionally, there was the busy family with mom and dad about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, they were wracked with guilt because they never scrapbooked their wedding photos! With a house, two kids, and work, well…good luck with that.
What do these folks have in common? I helped them all! It wasn’t about the money. It was about “neighbors helping neighbors.” I took down the Christmas tree, addressed “Happy New Year!” cards, and bought balloons. I shoveled driveways in bitter temperatures. I spent hours tastefully blinging out a wedding scrapbook – for someone I met only once.
How did I find these folks? By occasionally scrolling for tasks on a website called, “Task Rabbit.” But I am not doing that anymore.
I recently removed my profile from the site. The company changed their business model and I could not be “on-call” for “invites” as the new platform required. Additionally, I could not provide service within the pre-set blocks of time the site required. Finally, I refused to be subjected to e-mail threats to pause my account if I forfeited tasks that the algorithm required. All these requirements. <<shudder>>
My husband used to tease me because I would swear off driving into the city for tasks, and then turn around and do it again. How could I not? There they were – the urgently pregnant nesting mom, the guy with 1000 unlabeled beer nut bags, even the chronically disorganized 70 year-old painter – I loved them all! And we had fun!
With the new format, I cannot “see” any of them. There is no longer a “feed” to scroll. Tasks in tidy categories are matched to Taskers (not Rabbits) with tidy schedules via invisible algorithms. And that is that.
I was fairly (ok, really) over-qualified for many of the tasks I ran, but that was the fun of it. I hate to be bored. People interest me. And stuff needs to get done.
I don’t begrudge the company for changing the platform. Algorithms and efficiency are where the money is, right? To be honest (as they say), I was not really even scrolling for tasks anymore. Business is going well and I volunteer my time on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers and doing occasional room makeovers with Special Spaces Chicagoland. Once I removed my profile, however, I discovered the need to grieve my bunny days – just a little.
Was I an errand runner for a living? Nope. I was a wife, suburban mother of two (that’s me in the silver Honda Odyssey mini-van), a Professional Organizing Entrepreneur, and a seeker of stress-reduction for interesting folks. When I started running tasks, I was in transition. It was So. Much. Fun! that I continued…Not for the money. For the joy of helping others.
So…I guess this post is a little “shout-out” to the posters I worked with, and the Rabbits I met along the way. You can’t find me on the site anymore, but I am remembering you all fondly – even the hoarder across the border in Michigan who only gave me four stars. And I probably learned valuable lessons from you all too.
It was fun while it lasted…
– Leslie G.
Define, “Task.” According to Merriam-Webster, a task is “an assigned piece of work to be finished within a certain time.” Tasks are the work of life – household chores, business demands, and brief obligations. Tasks are light duty – picking up dog food, or heavy exertion – moving a sofa bed down three flights of stairs. I make lists of my tasks then categorize, prioritize, and (hopefully!) find time to complete them.