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.

Posted in Work. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on More Work, Fewer Paychecks

The End Of A Decade

The 2010s are almost over. I must admit it’s been an eventful decade for me, especially since its start was terrible! The same could be said for the first decade era I lived through (2000 – 2010), but I don’t remember much before 2006.

Occasionally, I wish I remained in my hometown and grew up with my childhood best friends, especially since there was ultimately no good reason for moving as much as I did, let alone to new cities (my mom didn’t get along with people). Reconnecting with my childhood best friend via Facebook only serves to strengthen that wish. It’s to the point I’ve made sims and stories based on what my life could be like if I never moved. It’d likely be the same, but it’d be in the place I called home and the events of 2010 (which I call the worst year of my life) would’ve never occurred.

Of course, I wouldn’t have my current best friend, nor any of the friends I have now, and I possibly would have a more distant relationship with my boyfriend since it’s harder to get to where he lives from my hometown than from where I live now. There’s a reason I’d be content burning every year of my life that preceded 2011, and that particular year is only because it’s the one where I met my best friend. Otherwise, I’d burn every year before 2015, when I met my boyfriend. If I didn’t have him, I’d burn every piece until July 2019 when I got my current job.

Cheesy as it is, the power of love and the power of friendship are real. It may be a bit unhealthy, but I’m not kidding when I say my friends and my boyfriend are the only reason I care about my life. Yes, my family is excluded from that because, as much as I love them, I strive not to be like any of them. They’re terrible role models.

The one thing I can say is almost every year of this decade had a major event. Sadly, the one in 2010 is the biggest one, and it’s another reason I’d burn that year to utter ashes if I could. I’m going to skip that one and start with 2011 because I simply do not want to talk any more about 2010 right now.

  • 2011: I met my best friend of now eight years (and counting)
  • 2012: Nothing! I would say I turned 18, but that age really changes nothing.
  • 2013: No more high school! I’m free! Hallelujah!
  • 2014: I learned community college sucks and dropped out.
  • 2015: I met mi amor, and as of January 2020, we will have known each other for five years (and been a couple for 4 1/2)!
  • 2016: My first job, which I was foolishly excited about. If only I could’ve foreseen how much I’d grow to hate it.
  • 2017: I’d say being promoted to full-time, but that was an utter disaster and is the reason to refuse to ever try for a higher position again. So nothing for this year too.
  • 2018: Back to school, and it was a waste of time and money.
  • 2019: The year of the jobs! Counting a second job I’m about to start (that pays more than my current, but is seasonal), I will have had six jobs this year! Seven if I count the school’s internship and eight if I count my recent venture into DoorDash. I’m happy with my current job, though. Just wish they would stop sending people home early every day! Tax time is going to be fun. Six jobs will owe me a tax form (not seven; DoorDash sends a form only if a dasher makes $600, and I doubt I’ll hit $100).

I am looking forward to 2020 – mostly to celebrate five years with my boyfriend and hopefully going on the special trip I’m trying to save up for to be our five-year anniversary special – but I’m also scared of what the next decade will hold. I hate I’ve lived where I currently am for almost ten years. I certainly don’t want to live here for another ten.

One of my high school classmates has a master’s in psychology and recently got an internship she was aiming for. She graduated a year before I did, and she has definitely accomplished a lot in those seven years. My best friend, six years after graduation, is going to comic and anime conventions, and having the time of her life, often in NYC. I’m so happy for both of them, but I admit I wish my life was thrilling like theirs are. Unfortunately, I couldn’t care less for school or conventions, so those things wouldn’t make me happy. Aside from where I live, I genuinely am happy with my life, but I really don’t know if I have any exciting interests. Strangely, I did achieve something none of my friends have yet: my driver’s license and a car. But that probably still pales in comparison to being on the way to becoming a therapist or being a regular at conventions. Maybe I’ll find something someday. Maybe not. I guess that’s the pitfall of liking a quiet life where your favorite spot is beneath your bed covers. Too bad quiet can’t be exciting.

If nothing else, I want the 2020s to be the decade I finally accomplish my ultimate goal: moving into my own apartment!

And a passport. I want to get that just to have it.

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”?