Economics/Class Relations

Tiny homes, big problems

September 17, 2023
with Matt Turner
Hi, welcome back to Insider Today’s Sunday edition, a roundup of some of our top stories.
On the agenda today:
But first: A UPS driver posted their $2,400 weekly paycheck on social media, kick-starting a conversation about pay and unionization.


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Jim Young/Reuters
Paycheck envy

Job seekers are suddenly paying a lot more attention to UPS.


The shipping company earlier this summer sealed a new deal with the Teamsters union that will see the average full-time UPS driver make $170,000 in annual pay and benefits at the end of the five-year contract.


Tech workers on Blind commented on the deal, with some expressing admiration, and others frustration, that delivery drivers might earn more than a software engineer.


And last week, a Reddit user posted what appeared to be a copy of their UPS paycheck, showing pay of $2,400 for a 49-hour week. The post received close to 10,000 upvotes and garnered more than 1,500 comments.


The $170,000 package includes healthcare and pension benefits, with drivers earning about $95,000 a year with $50,000 in benefits on average, according to the company. Job searches to work at UPS spiked after the wage hike.


The interest in the UPS contract comes as another union, United Auto Workers, launches a historic strike. And in Hollywood, the actors union SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America remain on strike. (Yes, Insider’s own newsroom union also went on strike this summer.)


The industries and negotiations differ. But the visibility of these actions, and the contracts won so far, is fueling a fresh conversation across industries about pay and organized labor.


Read More
Boxabl cofounders Paolo and Galiano Tiramani sitting on thrones in the desert. Boxabl
This week’s top reads
Boxabl has a regulator’s attention
With a promise to revolutionize housing and endorsements from Elon Musk and Post Malone, Boxabl drew plenty of attention.


Now the tiny-home startup has nabbed interest from a high-profile group: the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Three former Boxabl employees told Insider they were recently contacted and interviewed by the SEC. That’s in addition to two people with knowledge of Boxabl’s operations and bookkeeping who told Insider they had been contacted by the regulator.


More on the SEC asking questions about Boxabl.


Also read:

Arantza Pena Popo/Insider
Lonely times in tech
Alexander Nguyen moved to Seattle after nabbing a job as a software engineer at Amazon out of college. But despite a $150,000 salary at a high-profile company, his time in the Emerald City was the loneliest of his life.


It’s part of a wider loneliness epidemic within tech, Nguyen said. One reason is software engineering doesn’t require socially demanding skills like other roles do, he said.


Even now, Nguyen grapples with insecurities around his level and compensation, as he compares himself with new grads who have similar compensation and senior engineers with less work experience than him.


More on an engineer’s struggles with loneliness.


Also read:

Chelsea Jia Feng
Working for Vivek Ramaswamy
Before he became a presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy made his money in finance and pharma. His net worth sits around $950 million, according to a Forbes estimate.

But some of those who worked with Ramaswamy at Roivant Sciences and Strive Asset Management, two companies he founded, described him as finicky and paranoid. For example: He hired a former Army Ranger as a personal security guard long before his presidential campaign began.

Perhaps Ramaswamy’s biggest quirk is his fixation on temperature, including previously dictating office thermostats be set to 64 degrees or below.

Inside Vivek Ramaswamy’s high-maintenance and highly airconditioned empire.

Arantza Pena Popo/Insider
Adults in Disney  
The term “Disney adult” has been used to poke fun at grown-ups who love Disney parks despite not having kids.


But millennials and Gen Zers without kids represent a massive cohort that brings significant business to the House of Mouse. One former parks executive estimated that on any given day, roughly half of Disney World’s parkgoers could be adults without kids.


Conversations with 20 people, from pass holders to Disney employees, highlight the trend and the effects it’s having on the parks.

The kidless millennials and Gen Zers spending money at Disney parks.

Also read:


This week’s quote
“They weigh in on what they do or don’t want you to do. It’s debilitating, in my experience” 
— The founder Jon Nordmark on the influence venture investors try to wield on companies they back.



More of this week’s top reads:


The Insider Today team

Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.


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