Lessons Learned


Why I Learned My Lesson

Three months ago I decided that I would pick up a part time job to help pay off the home equity loan (and other debts) we got when we purchased our house in April.  My job of choice was delivering my local newspaper. The pay seemed perfect and the hours, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., fit perfectly into still being home and homeschooling my children. What I couldn’t possibly know before starting this job was how angry I would feel by the time I ended it.

The ad said something to the effect of “Work Part Time and make $250+ a week”  Well heck anything that says part time and that kind of money sounds awesome to anyone, including me.

What they don’t tell you is that this isn’t easy work, it is hard on your body, hard on your vehicle, hard on family and especially hard on your finances.  What?! Finances you say? How could that be you are making money, you ask?

The Nitty Gritty of It

Here is the nitty gritty of what being a Newspaper Carrier is all about.

For your local paper the typical going rate here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is $.10 for the daily Monday through Saturday paper. There is a bonus increase for the Sunday paper making it $.27 per paper delivered. Are you asking yourself how that computes to $250+ a week yet?  See in order to make that money you NEED to have a customer base that is at least 200 customers per day and at least 350 per Sunday to come near that $250 per week pay. Now you have to factor in how far away is the route and how much time it will take you to stuff the papers and get out the door and still deliver everything before 6:30 am every morning. Also if you had a complaint that would be a negative cost to you of $2.00 (so don’t mess up!)

Here is where I got caught up in this scam of being a paper carrier. I choose a large route that weekly yielded 2000 papers and was a 20 minute drive from the distribution center (which was only 10 minutes from my home).  I was brought on with little instructions, did a ride along the first day and then left to my own devices going forward. Lucky for me I learn fast and had no problem running the route in daylight and evening hours to get the entire route under my belt. Seemed easy at first, small papers, which is what you want. Then they grew larger and larger especially for the Sunday paper the closer we got to the Holidays.

Over the three months, I found that I was really slow at stuffing papers, I was rarely if ever done by 6:30 more like 7:30-8 am, my arms and elbows hurt like I never felt before, my feet hurt for standing for long periods on concrete floors, I was filling up my vehicle with gas five times a week, I was so exhausted when I got home that I couldn’t keep my eyes open and therefore need to take a nap right away (Thank God for the teenager!) and I really missed my family.

The day that it finally dawned on me that this is NOT what God had intended for my life was a particular day in December. All I wanted to do was spend some quality time with my kids and decorate the house, listen to Christmas music, make some cookies and hang out. However I was too tired to stay awake and needed to sleep. When I got up it was nearly 1pm! My day was basically gone, but determined to spend time with my kiddos I charged ahead, only to find out that the teenager wanted to go ice-skating with the homeschool group and the littlest one needed a nap desperately and my precious boy wanted to hang with friends (Duh Mom!).  I was angry, hurt and felt defeated! I cried and cried and finally prayed and asked for guidance. This isn’t how I intended for this to go. There was little left of my weekly paycheck to go towards the bills I wanted to pay off and I was losing my precious family.

After mulling the situation over and talking to God for hours, I decided to quit the paper. I put in the required 28 day notice to quit and finished up on December 31st.

What I Learned

I love my family more than anything in the world. I put the idea of money before them and cost myself physical pain and emotional pain. I got caught up in the idea of “easy work for lots of pay” and found a scam that couldn’t justify doing any further.  I felt and still do feel horrible that I left all those customers (dang me and my since of loyalty), but I keep telling myself that if it were from God it would have been easier than what it was and not always climbing up a mountain.

**Disclaimer: While this post is about my own personal experience, it has no reflection on the paper itself or the carriers who continue to do this job. 


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