How many times have I eaten my words? I’m going to stop counting.
I have a post from September of last year where I talk about not wanting to give Amazon my business because of their reputation for treating their warehouse workers terribly. If only I’d known ten months later, I’d be giving something more than my money. Like my time!
Four of my co-workers from my retail job work at Amazon, two at the same location I do and the other two at a different location. Three of those four also quit the retail job. All the complaints I heard were solely from the internet, and while I don’t doubt they do happen (no company is a saint!), my co-workers have had zero complaints beyond the normal gripes most people would have about work (being tired, etc), One has worked there for nearly a year, and he’s told me Amazon is more stressful, but he likes it better. That definitely says something.
After being fired twice (one of which was for being competent at my job; I still don’t get that), I decided to give Amazon a shot. Opportunities for the location I’m at disappear fast, so it was hard snagging a spot. When I finally did, there were only two left! Their hiring process could use a bit of work. I only got a start date because I contacted customer support (ironic) to find out what was going on. At only three days in, I know better than to get my hopes up, but for those three days so far, the job has been going well. Considering it pays more than both jobs that fired me, and this summer as a whole has been horrid since June, I hope the job continues to go well.
The lesson I’ve learned is if you’re looking for a job, take your friends’ word above all, including “professional” references.
Let me explain the last three words of that sentence. The jobs I got fired from were considered great places to work… by my school. They turned out to be micro-managed and awful. The irony is in both jobs, there was rarely any real work to do! The first job, at SHI International Corp, had me with a team, and we spent most of our nine hour shifts talking or doing anything to occupy ourselves because we had nothing to do. We couldn’t even pretend to be busy, unless you can staring at a device while it’s loading for over an hour. The manager didn’t even want you to read a book while you waited. The expectation was to sit there for the most of those nine hours and do literally nothing if there was no work.
In other words, it was boring as all hell! Maybe that explains why they paid only $12/hr. Yes, I know work isn’t supposed to be fun, but that’s usually because of the work, not lack of it! I hate them for what went down the day I got fired, but them turning me loose is what they let me go to Amazon (which has all the perks they do, except the gym, but the job itself lets me get enough exercise!), so I’m not disappointed I’m gone. Oh, and schooling wasn’t needed to do that job in the first place. Any person who can operate a smartphone, which is just about every able-bodied person born after 1980, can do it.
Next job was an “emergency” call center. I put “emergency” in quotes because no real life-and-death job is going to fire someone for 1) actually being competent and 2) not fitting in. Like SHI, not much of the shift was spent actually working. They didn’t expect me to sit and do literally nothing, but they did expect me to be the whole center’s new best friend within four days’ time, hence being fired for not fitting in. I still don’t know how it makes sense in their head to tell someone as you’re firing them that they’re good at their job, but must be let go because they can’t into a clique. This one actually makes me a bit more bitter than SHI because my school had the nerve to blame me for this nonsense. No, assholes, I’m not changing my personality to fit in with what amounts to high school culture. That’s why I left high school! If being friendly and getting along with everyone isn’t enough to fit in, I’ll pass. Not even my best friend of eight years and I were best friends in four days.
Meanwhile, there’s constant work at Amazon and the employees seem to never stop. I’d think that’s the place that would be micromanaged versus a job where work is actually a small part of the shift. Instead, the managers back off! They leave us be to do our jobs. They sit at a desk to do their own work, and we go to them if we need help. That’s it. In a micromanaged job (two), there’s little real work to do, but in a job with hands-off management, work is done around the clock. “Irony” is an understatement to describe that.
I snagged a position at Amazon back in April, but gave it up for the IT jobs my school found me. It goes without saying I regret that, especially since positions for my location are hard to come at all. I know it’s better late than never, but I wish I listened to my friends sooner than I listened to “professionalism”. Though, maybe it’s no surprise personal references would be more accurate. As my friends, they know me a lot better than anyone at my school would.
I’ve also learned getting paid to do nothing is not as fun as it sounds. Granted, my regular shift at Amazon is only four hours, but it’s four hours that go very fast. I look at the clock and I’m shocked I’ve already been there for forty-five minutes.
I suppose this is an example of a good thing coming out of a bad situation. I’ll never be happy I was fired, especially for a reason as terrible as “you can’t sit with us”, but those firings allowed me to get a job that pays more than both of them, is in my town of residence, has good management (I really hope I never regret saying that), and actual work to do. And yes, I get along with everyone. I may not be able to make brand-new BFFs in four days, but I can certainly get on someone’s good side in a minute! Seems I fit in nicely.
Let me sum up how I feel about these past jobs in three words. If you listen to pop music, you can probably guess.
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