Valerie Topete – An Intro to Mercury Rises

Valerie Topete has been working as a bike messenger in the New York City area for many years. As a freelancer, she overcame many challenges to iron out a good living for herself, and her family. After working on her own for three years, fate intervened, and she met John Tudebaker, CEO of Mercury Rises, a hyper-competitive bike courier service operating in New York City.

Valerie Topete

Topete had no idea what she was getting into when she accepted a test interview from Mr. Tudebaker. Tudebaker had found her based on her reputation as an excellent freelance courier with no traffic incidents on her record. It was based on that information he thought Topete may have what it takes to compete in Mercury Rises.

One thing that became apparent for Topete when she officially started at Mercury Rises, is their spirit of competition. Tudebaker has every employee of his company in direct competition with each other. The company is all about skill and precision, speed and accuracy.

Mercury Rises has a standard that does not compromise. Tudebaker simply wanted the best couriers that New York City had to offer, and Valerie Topete found herself on that list.

Valerie Topete has now found herself immersed in the competitive culture of the company. Though at first glance the competitiveness may seem strange to outsiders, Topete has developed a kind of bond and comradery with her fellow couriers based upon mutual respect. Topete continue to perform at her best, as working for Mercury Rises offers little alternative.


Valerie Topete – A Freelance life

Valerie Topete did not always enjoy the comfort and security of being employed full-time by a company. In fact, before she became a bike courier for the company Mercury Rises in New York City, she worked as a freelancer. Though her duties of delivering packages all around the city has not changed, her experience is much different working for a company than it was being a freelancer.

Valerie Topete

There are pros and cons to freelance living, as with any occupation. While having a reliable full-time position at a company ensures a steady pay rate and often comes with good benefits, it also comes with a rigid, set schedule and rules. Also, many jobs have a steady pay rate, which means it won’t go down, but also is likely not to go up.

Freelancers on the other hand have the freedom to set their own schedule. A freelancer is his or her own boss. While this means more personal freedom, freelancers also tend to have a far less reliable income, as job opportunities often change or disappear all-together. So while a freelancer has more freedom, they also take substantially higher risks. Freelancers are also not entitled to things like health insurance benefits.

Though freelancers’ income is not always certain, one upside is that they have the potential to make more, faster, based on how hard they want to work.

Valerie Topete enjoyed her time as a freelancer, but prefers working at a steady job where she can rely upon a stable income.

Valerie Topete – Working Conditions for Couriers

Valerie Topete has a unique occupation. She is a bike courier that works in New York City. A job like that certainly goes against the status quo, and with it has its own unique set of working conditions and benefits.

Valerie Topete
Valerie Topete

The conditions of work a bike courier can expect will depend mostly on the country, city, or even the company that they work for. That is because each individual contract between company and courier is subject to the local laws. It is even common in some places that messengers are strictly independent contractors, and are paid on a commission-based system. While these independent contractors can assign their own hours, they don’t receive benefits such as health insurance.

All things considered, it is generally accepted that bike couriers are underpaid for the effort and hazards that they face on a daily basis. One medical study done by the Harvard Medical School determined that the rate of injury for Boston bicycle messengers requiring time off was 13 times more than the U.S. average.

Couriers are often paid by each successful job, so it is also difficult to track the income of a courier. In London, one figure proposed that the average wage was around $65.00 a day.

Valerie Topete has been working as a bike courier in New York City for over seven years now. Though it is a tough job with few benefits and low pay, she enjoys the fresh air and exercise that the job offers. Topete likes being able to work on the streets, instead of a stuffy office.