12 Things I Learned From a Seasonal Warehouse Job
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12 Things I Learned From a Seasonal Warehouse Job? I know, it sounds like one of the last things you would expect to hear me talk about if you have been following along since 2010. If you know me, you know that I am like that meme where a brain is referred to a computer that has multiple screens open, some frozen, and you have no idea where the music is coming from. That is pretty much the secret to my creativity and how I come up with tons of new ideas.
I had a new idea for a four-book romance series, and it was going to take place in a warehouse/factory. The only problem? I knew very little about them. Being close to Christmas, a lot of places were hiring seasonal help, and I thought it the perfect way to get a bit of real-life experience while researching a few things to make my book series more authentic. I was going to work just two weeks and then quit, digging deeper into my writing.
Well, my two weeks came and went. I had over eighty pages of notes about the little details that help sell a story and make it believable. I had some great character studies, small technical observations, and aching feet. I stayed out the full eight weeks because I adored my 74-year-old supervisor, got a kick out of a lot of the other seasonal crew, and it helped keep my mind from aching as I watch my Mom with her Alzheimers progressing.
Looking back at that short stint, I want to start by saying that it can be an excellent way to help counter your debt or build that emergency fund. In those eight weeks, I cleared over $3,600 between regular pay, weekend differential, and overtime. What would $3,600 do for your family budget right now?
- Would it pay off a bill?
- Fund that summer vacation?
- Cover a semester of tuition and books?
- Pump up that retirement?
- Help with a downpayment for a new car?
I am a firm believer that we can do ANYTHING for a short amount of time. Eight weeks really isn’t a lot of time, when you boil it down to the larger picture. The best part about a warehouse job over the holiday season instead of working retail? They are usually more accomodating for moms or dads that have kids in school! I worked with a few moms who worked 8:30-2:30 so they could take advantage of the seasonal work, yet be there for the munchkins.
12 Things I Learned From a Seasonal Warehouse Job
The People Are Amazing
Retired teachers. Moms. Senior Citizens. The fellow seasonal workers are just plain neat to get to know. Add in the people who work there year-round, and you have a diverse, yet fun collection of people to interact with. I found myself sitting at different tables, with different groups, during break times to learn more.
Language Barriers Are Real
Some things are just not possible if you don’t speak the local language. I saw people trained in positions that they really wouldn’t be able to do without someone right there over their shoulder the entire time, simply because they didn’t read English. They were terrific people and hard workers, but it just didn’t work.
Cross Training Rocks
When you receive training for only one area, you are at the mercy of that area and the amount of work it holds. When you are trained in multiple areas, you can always find something to do or someone to help. You are never bored or have an excuse to be lazy.
I Hate Lazy People
When you overhear a conversation where people are being coached to slow down by co-workers who have been there longer? I just want to go over there and smack them. WHY would you want to do less than your best at anything? Seriously, I saw a 74-year-old amazing woman who could work most people under the table. I would be embarrassed if I didn’t try my hardest to keep up with her.
See Something – Say Something
You know you are only going to be there for a short time, but do you see something going on that the management should know? Is there something you think would make a big difference for them? Do you have an idea to help make their business better? You know how shy and reserved I am. (snort) Let’s just say that I did.
Good Shoes are Important
If you aren’t used to being on your feet for extended periods, then you don’t just want good shoes for those 6-8-10 hours days where you stand and walk all over concrete floors, you want great shoes. First, your feet hurt, then your knees hurt, then your back hurts. Don’t even go there and start with great shoes.
It isn’t Always About the Pay
Don’t get me wrong; money matters when looking for a job. Also, try to consider the company, what it does for the community, how “green” it is, and how they treat their employees. Catered in meals, free lunches on weekends, and holiday bonuses all add up nicely. Warehouse work usually pays better than retail too. Things I Learned From a Seasonal Warehouse Job also involves how hard they try to keep you happy. They WANT you to come back the next year, as it saves them on training time and costs. Let them make you happy.
As an added incentive? Many places offer a sign on bonus or a referral bonus. You can get $200-400 for each person that you get to join the seasonal team, and so can they! By sharing the opportunity, you can easily add another $1,000 or so to your paycheck, making it an even
more lucrative experience. Just for sharing your eight week job with a few friends, you all win!
Conveyor Belts Can Be Mesmerizing
Never underestimate the power of those spinning silver cylinders, especially if they have remnants of an old shipping label attached to them. They spin like the old barber poles and can draw you in unless you have enough sleep.
Put the Gym Membership on Pause
I had been stuck on a plateau for a few months with my weight loss. The simple switch up of lifting, twisting, and walking, was all I needed to drop another eighteen pounds and go down two sizes in jeans. I went up and down over 100 stairs a day and almost had buns of steel. Since Ms. Sarah and I are training for a 5K after the holidays, I have a pretty decent head start. There was one day I wore my Fit Bit to the job. I wan’t through with my shift yet and had over 30,000 steps in already. Let’s just say I took it off, and didn’t bother to put it back on until I was done with the seasonal job.
I Love Eco-Friendly Packing Peanuts
These babies are the product of hot air being applied to dry cornstarch based pellets, and the entire plant smells like fresh popcorn when they take the flakes and turn them into the Cheetos-like things. Sadly, they do not taste like popcorn or Cheetos. (sigh) But they will melt down nicely and feed your garden beds if you take a hose to them. FYI: it smells like burnt toast when they clean the peanut making machine.
Cardboard Kills Your Hands
Not that I was always perfectly manicured, but at least my hands didn’t look like they belonged to the Crypt Keeper. I should have worn my gloves more to help keep the moisture from being wicked away from my skin. I dug out my spa therapy gloves and good shea butter lotion to return my hands to their almost usual looking selves, but would undoubtedly keep gloved in the future. I am not a fan of being able to use my bare hands to sand wood.
Music Makes a Difference
They switched it up a bit between “oldies,” holiday, Hispanic, and contemporary music over the course of the day. For a week or so, they had classical coming on right after lunch. I wanted to find a nice box of air pillow thingies to snuggle up in and take a nap. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Classical music, just not with a full tummy and while I am supposed to be concentrating on computer work.
That is just 12 quick Things I Learned From a Seasonal Warehouse Job for you. It turned out to be a great experience and I highly suggest it as a way to pay off debt or pay down your future.
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