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A DoorDash delivery worker in Palo Alto, California. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Image.

For Mark Ferguson, delivering food orders for DoorDash was a means to an end after getting separated and needing extra cash — but he says it’s “not a career” and “there’s no ladder to climb."

Why it matters: While on-demand companies often tout the flexibility of the jobs they create, many workers find them unsustainable.

Ferguson, who lives in San Jose, Calif., found food delivery service DoorDash in 2015 through an online ad (probably on Craigslist, he says) and signed up.

  • He “felt more comfortable delivering food over people,” especially given that his car is “modest” and one he’d want to keep pristine for customers.
  • Ferguson has tried various delivery services—including Uber Eats, Caviar, Instacart and Eaze — in part to serve as fodder for his occasional contributions to the Rideshare Guy blog—but he’s mostly stuck with DoorDash.
  • Grocery-focused Instacart is quite different than other food delivery jobs — ”it’s more challenging,” he says. “With Instacart, when you go into the store, you’re looking for items, you’re scanning items, you’re making sure there’s no mold on the berries; it’s a very interactive experience,” adding that it could be more tiring. But he did enjoy the leaderboard for local Instacart workers’ scores, which added an element of friendly competition.

Finding purpose: “On one hand, I do kind of enjoy the change of pace from the typical email and spreadsheets and the 3pm marketing meeting,” says Ferguson, who was working as a project manager at a tech company when he started doing DoorDash.

  • “People are always happy to see you because they’re hungry."

Reality check: “If you think this is a full-time job and you can make it — you’re fooling yourself,” says Ferguson. “These platforms are here to make money and they will find out the absolute bottom before drivers don’t show up.”

  • “I’m under no impression that DoorDash loves me or appreciates me.”
  • He acknowledges that many other jobs have worse working conditions.

Epilogue: Ferguson had to move back into his parents’ home following his separation, but he was eventually able to scrape together enough savings to purchase a condo. Today, he still drives for DoorDash and other services while looking for his next move (he was laid off last summer from his day job).

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Minnesota schools "all over the board" with mask-wearing guidance

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesota and federal health officials are urging universal masking in schools this fall, but not all local districts are following suit so far.

Driving the news: The Minnesota Department of Health issued new back-to-school guidance Wednesday, encouraging mask use indoors for students and teachers regardless of vaccination status.

  • Unlike last year, the state won't mandate mask use. Decisions will be up to local districts and school boards.
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Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏃: U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks withdraws from Games after positive coronavirus test

🏊‍♂️: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle —Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

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🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
48 mins ago - Economy & Business

Giant earnings growth for the world's largest companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Never in the history of capitalism have the world's biggest companies grown as fast as the tech giants in recent years.

Why it matters: A series of stunning earnings reports this week — with another one likely to arrive Thursday afternoon, from Amazon — has underscored the astonishing growth among a group of companies that were already some of the most profitable of all time.