1. Ground Zero

It’s October 2021 in rainy Amsterdam. The COVID-19 pandemic is my reality and I’m living under a fresh wave of restrictions that feel never-ending. I’ve been in Amsterdam for a few months now, trying my best to hold down a 30-hour per week job while also trying to function as a Sociology Masters student. It’s clear: I need work that’s flexible so I can better prioritise my studies. Or at least… that’s the plan. So, I am time-poor and financially unstable. I need an employer that promises flexibility, security and doesn’t mind that I can’t speak Dutch.

My friend works as a rider for a flash delivery service I’ve never heard of before. But apparently they pay double on Sundays! I can’t refuse this. The second I write down the company name, I start seeing adverts for it everywhere — plastered onto trams, bus stops, and of course, my social media. The ads prompt me in just the right way. The next thing I know I’ve applied for the job and quit my current one. Before moving to Amsterdam I worked as a delivery rider in Maastricht so I already know the ropes.

I sink at the memory of bracing the Dutch weather throughout winter… but I am time-poor and financially unstable. I need a job that promises flexibility and security. My new employer offers zero-hour, part-time or full-time contracts. I can finally choose my shifts each week and plan my precious time on my own terms… or so they say. I sign up online. The ‘refer a friend’ code doesn’t work, a €150 unfulfilled promise. Yet, I manage to book my first shift for the following week. Thanks to my friend and the countless targeted internet ads, my new job is about to begin.  

A project by affect lab. 2022