I Broke

No, that’s not a typo.

I said a few times here I like my job, and I do. But much like my previous job, that doesn’t mean I like what they do.

Something I recently realized is we have “6ft sensors”, but the metal detectors were disabled and uninstalled to encourage “social distancing”. So, no one can be within six feet of someone else, but someone can walk in with a weapon and assault someone or open fire. And yes, this did happen at one location, although the employee opened fire in the parking lot.

Having already lived through one workplace shooting, I really don’t want get caught in another.

Safety issues aside, I enjoyed my job a lot more before March. But it’s not just the supposed precautions (also, someone else touching what I want to eat instead of me is gross; “safety”, my ass on that one!).

Temporarily, they added an extra hour to our work days. You’d think an extra hour wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. I’d prefer an extra day to stumbling around my station like I’m drunk. For a place supposedly obsessed with safety, they certainly think nothing of overtired employees operating their machinery and walking around the warehouse. And, you know, driving.

I also received a write-up for something neither I nor the manager who issued it remembers. I don’t know how that works.

The final straw was watching a friend successfully get a position I’d been asking about for months and never got a clear answer on, despite both of us being there for the same amount of time and having no prior experience. I am always happy for my friends, and even the team I was trying to join continually pushed for me to be added. On top of this, it turns out to do any position, even one on the same level, I’ll more than likely to have to transfer to another building every time I want to.

I snapped.

Even at my previous job, I worked various positions without having to transfer. I did everything that wasn’t management.

But none of that was the clincher that made me decide I want to return to part-time or quit wholly. No, the clincher was when I learned I can make more money with rideshare. After taxes.

The danger of that is lack of insurance, but turns out you can buy health and life insurances, and not have them tied to employment. That solves that problem.

Still, I don’t want to decrease my schedule for the sake of working less. Part of it is I’ve taken up studying again since lockdown has tendered my trade school useless (well, my current job did that too). I like learning on my own time, and since I don’t want to repeat the school/work/sleep cycle if I don’t have to. I don’t even play my Sims game much anymore because I prefer practice. That was unexpected.

If I cannot transfer (again…) or return to part-time, I will try to hold out at my job until January. But if my efforts ultimately change nothing, I consider myself done.

Why I Prefer Warehouse Work Over Retail

So far, I’ve lasted seven months at my warehouse job The job I do full-time is easier than the one I did part-time. Only needing to keep up a certain rate makes it hard.

I sincerely never expected to think of working in a warehouse any better than retail. I made the switch for a higher wage and because retail is for extroverts, but I still expected to have my soul sucked out of me and dread going every day. While nothing will ever make me enjoy waking up early, I don’t hate my job and while I can’t say I look forward to going (it is ten hours of work, after all), I don’t dread being there.

Obviously, this is very subjective. There are people out there who feel the opposite way: can’t stand warehouse work, but are great in retail. As for why I particularly like it (besides getting paid more):

  • No customers. I won’t lie. This is the biggest reason I hated retail. Too many people! I worked as a cashier and, unfortunately, the management thought I was great at it. Too many people in too short a time and too much interaction. No, I really don’t care to idly chat with this person. I just want to ring their stuff, so they can pay for it and get out! I can’t talk that much out of my mouth. At least, not small talk! It’s boring. Heck, part of why I wanted to work on the floor was to get away from this. The other part was not wanting to be confined to a small space (though this didn’t change with my current job, I’m too busy to notice most of the time, and I don’t need permission to leave that space).
  • Too little staff and leaving late. There’s a reason closing shifts are the most hated, but I grew to hate every shift. It seemed like we never had enough people. I remember there was once two cashiers scheduled for the entire day, meaning the floor people would be counted on as backup. I hated that. Of course, warehouses can have too little staff, but so far, my experience with my current job has been sometimes, too many people show up! My day always ends at 6pm, when I’m scheduled. I’m not obligated to stay later to continue cleaning. Speaking of cleaning…
  • No cleaning up after people. This is the second-biggest reason, and it’s why I don’t give two cents about automation coming into retail. Customers are freaking slobs! Our store looked like a tornado struck every night! And shockingly, it rarely was the kids. Really, who raised these people? My mom would’ve destroyed me if I didn’t clean up after myself in someone else’s space. I still wish they banned food! Warehouses are definitely not sparkling and spic-and-span, but cleaning up the warehouse is not part of my job! The most they ask is to keep our stations clean and that’s fine with me since, you know, I’m working in that spot and the trash likely came from me.
  • Break schedule. I suppose it makes sense my retail job had no regular break schedule since consistent scheduling doesn’t exist in retail by any sense of the phrase. But it actually helps the day go quicker. There were also times you couldn’t get a break because there was no cover. On two occasions, I’ve been one of only two staff members in the entire store. And the second time was pure chance because I wasn’t scheduled. The keyholder that day called me in and I said yes. She didn’t say she had no other staff with her whatsoever, presumably because it would’ve sounded like a guilt trip. I must respect her for that.
  • Always something to do. This one is more about desk jobs than retail. I had two desk jobs and they were boring as boring could be. I spent more time warming the chair than doing work. And it wasn’t laziness. There was sincerely nothing to do but talk, which, as I already said, I cannot do for long periods of time. It wouldn’t have been so bad if entertaining ourselves was allowed when there was no work to be done, but that wasn’t the case. The expectation was to sit there and do nothing until something popped up for you take care of. While I don’t want more work than I can handle, I don’t want the polar opposite either. If you’re going to have me here for the majority of the day, give me enough work to fill that time! Anything that takes more effort than keeping my butt in a chair. Being on my feet all day isn’t fun, but I’ll always take it over sitting in boredom for the same amount of time. Keeping busy (and good socks and shoes!) prevents me from noticing the pain.

None of this is to say I never get frustrated at my job. There’s no day without some kind of problem: computer freezing, jammed cubes, heavy stuff, the conveyor not working, needing to search for tiny items, exact same items with multiple different SKUs (I want to imprison the people who do this!), the scanner not scanning. Anything the causes me to mess up my time fries my nerves. I also learned way more varieties of sex toys than I ever cared to know. But none of those problems, as annoying as they are, result in me staying past 6pm or leave only two people in the whole warehouse. Plus, it’s fun to think that sometimes, computers are freaking stupid.

Of course, most warehouse positions are physical and can’t be done after a certain age. While I’m okay with my job, I still overall prefer something less physical that could keep me just as busy (or allow me to entertain myself when there is no work) so I’m not bored out of my mind. Maybe it’ll come someday. Maybe not.

For the present, I’ll be happy with what I have.

More Work, Fewer Paychecks

So far, my new position as full-time has been good. There’s only one problem I was unaware of before transferring: full-time employees are paid bi-weekly.

Bad.

Yes, I know being paid bi-weekly means a bigger paycheck, but that’s a big duh because it’s payment for two weeks instead of one. I prefer getting paid weekly, and if anything, that’s encouragement to return to my old site as soon as I no longer need full-time hours (although I’ll ask if pay is still weekly before transferring!). That’s also, for me, less motivation to go any higher than I am now… especially since the pay rate switches from hourly to salary at certain levels. I will be absolutely damned if I work overtime and am essentially on call for no extra money. I will not work twelve hours and get paid for eight. No! And yes, salary is cheaper than hourly for that reason, so companies do it.

In the realm of first world problems, however, I’m disappointed I now have only two Fridays to look forward too. The other two are bland. Getting my paycheck would motivate me to go to work to make more money, and after the getting over the hurdle of the weekend and Monday, I’d look forward to Friday being close again. Now, that happiness is thirteen days away instead of six. It definitely makes me miss my old site, and makes me envious of my boyfriend, who still gets to joyfully await his paycheck in the pre-dawn hours of every Friday.

Yes, I know bi-weekly pay is cheaper for companies and that’s why they do it. Why else would companies advertise weekly pay as a perk of a job? It is one of those perks that entices me and I would leave my current job in a heartbeat if I found a full-time job that pays weekly. Considering the apparent rarity, if such a job worked out, that company would have me for a long time.

The easy answer would be give myself something else to look forward to on the Fridays I don’t get paid, but I work Saturday to Tuesday, so that’s easier said than done. However, I am trying to switch my schedule to Monday to Thursday, so I always have weekends off. Then, I’ll definitely have something to look forward to every Friday.

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Ninety Days Working

Today is my 90th of employment at my warehouse job. Woohoo!

I also finally turned in my resignation notice to my retail job. I am no longer on call. I am not their employee anymore. One of my former managers recently posted how much the store looks like trash after she visited, and while the unexpected validation was unnecessary, I consider it reassuring of my choice. Ironically, and funny, the store finally got a new store manager one day after I quit.

What is so special about ninety days? First, and most importantly to me, I think it’s safe to say I’m… safe. If I haven’t been fired by now, I don’t have much reason to expect it. Second, it means I’ve finally managed to hold on to a job that’s not retail. Granted, at three months, I was proclaiming I love my retail job too, but that was before the store fell into the deepest pit of hell. Even back then, the store had some problems I simply didn’t have enough experience to see yet, but no workplace is perfect.

The most significant difference to me is the pay rate. I know there’s more a job than money, but let’s face it: we all have bills to pay. But I’m not talking solely about base pay. I’m talking about where it goes.

In retail, I started at $9/hr. Three years later, I left at $10.41. That would be a big deal if not for two facts: the extra dollar came from a temporary promotion (company policy forbids withdrawing a raise), and new employees with zero experience (like I started with) for the same position would be hired at $11/hr. Unsurprisingly, that contributed to some of the employees who had experience jumping ship (not that most of the new ones stayed for long). The other matter is you get a twenty cent raise once a year. In other words, if my state’s minimum wage hadn’t risen this past summer, I would’ve gotten a 41 cent raise in three years.

Meanwhile, at my warehouse job, I got a 75 cent raise. Please refer back to the title of this post.

Three years to get a raise of less than half a dollar or three months to get a raise of 3/4ths of a dollar? Tough choice.

Yes, I realize that depends on the workplace itself rather than the industry, but that doesn’t invalidate my point. I’ve been told there’s often a better chance of making more money by switching jobs than switching positions in a job. Which means I likely will have to leave my warehouse job someday if I want more money. For now, it works for me, so not someday soon.

180 days – six months – will be in January. Let’s see if I can leave this year with this job.

Starting At The Bottom

There’s a rap song my uncle likes with that lyric… Huh.

Anyway, there is a subreddit for employees of the company I now work for, though it’s not very active. I replied to one topic that asked if anyone enjoys their job (the person who posted the question does not, though they’d started only a week prior to asking, and it’s their first job ever). Most of the users who commented expressed disliking the job, though that doesn’t surprise me because the company itself has a terrible reputation. My location is good, however, and I enjoy it, so I added my own comment. Unfortunately, there was a user who doesn’t think I should like it:

I’m sorry but leaving the jobs you got from a degree to start a bottom level manual labor at Amazon doesn’t seem like the best decision…if you already have a degree apply for higher levels, it doesn’t make sense to waste a degree on a entry level job anyone can do, imo.

This is stupidly funny to me for more reasons than I care to count, mainly being if it’s a job anyone can do, why are so many people complaining? Putting that aside, this person thinks they know the best decision the life of a total stranger. Sounds like my family, actually.

It’s worth noting this user apparently didn’t read my full original comment because he/she had the idea I voluntarily left the former jobs. At least, read everything before giving unasked for advice. My reply was as follows:

As I said, [company] pays more than both of those jobs [I was fired from], so it’s not a decision I regret, especially since both bored the living hell out of me anyway and one proved to be the adult rendition of high school. “Anyone can do” retail too, yet I fucking can’t stand it.

I don’t really care about being at the bottom level. It’s more satisfying than the other jobs because I don’t have to pretend to be busy for almost nine hours. I actually am busy (and I work for six unless I choose otherwise; I hate long hours). School isn’t going anywhere, and neither is my “degree” that proved to be more of a waste (I really don’t give a shit about it at this point) of my time and money. If I’d known high school clique and seat warming jobs were all I’d get from it, I never would’ve pursued it. I didn’t voluntarily leave. I got fired, one of which, as I said, was for not having a new BFF within four days. But that’s a much better environment… /s

Obviously, some people enjoy office jobs and that’s cool. To each, their own. I, however, do not. I don’t like pretending to be busy and I’d rather my job not depend on how fast I make friends (ironically, I have made friends at [company]).

I haven’t even hit ninety days at [company] (79 days), so I’m not comfortable applying for something higher yet. I’d rather stick around for at least a year before I do. I’m also not a fan of management in any industry (management positions have too much stress and too many restrictions), so even if I wanted a higher position, that’d be out.

No job is a waste if you actually like it.

I’ve yet to receive a reply, and I doubt I will. It seems to stun people others may not share their view what of life’s goals should be for each and every person. While I doubt I’ll stay at this company for the rest of my life, I’m happy with it now and I’m not looking for a new job or another position. Frankly, I wish it were more common to recognize everyone lives a different life and sees things differently, and what’s a bad decision for one person may be better for someone else. Someone’s life choices don’t have to make sense to you. They’re not yours and they’re not affecting you.

Do not use your life to judge’s someone else’s. You have your life. Let them be with theirs.

EDIT: The user did reply, and to sum his responses, he doesn’t consider himself an asshole for telling someone they should live their life according to his standards. Of course. Well, that’s part for the course for Reddit. Or really, for humans in general. If one job made someone miserable, it must make everyone miserable. Isn’t that called “crabs in a bucket”?