Amazon is WORKING employees!
I decided to keep my writing as objective as possible because who the hell am I to judge?
Some people say Amazon has too much power, that they are dominating the entire market and causing problems for publishers… this post is not about that.
This post is about working at Amazon, and what being an employee of Amazon really means, I went undercover for two days at one of the fulfilment centers in Joliet Illinois to see what is really going on there.
First of all let me say that getting hired at Amazon was one of the easiest employment processes I have ever experienced first hand, and I have worked with an estimated 20-30 different companies over the years.
I filled out a 5 minute application and sent it into Integrity Staffing who was handling the hiring for Amazon at that time.
A few minutes after completing and submitting my application I received a phone call from Bella who works with Integrity Staffing. She asked me what shift I would prefer. Being a night owl I chose the third shift. It made the most sense because it pays $1.15 more per hour than the other shifts. After a 10 minute conversation regarding pay and scheduling I was told my start date would be Sunday May 17, 2020 but that I would need to come in one week prior for an “orientation”.
I never really got a description of the job and assumed that would be coming at the orientation.
I arrived at orientation and went into the office. I presented my ID/ authorization to work docs to Bella and was sent into a room for my photo to be taken. I took my photo and was told I could leave. I have to admit I was a little surprised by the lack of information I was given and I asked Bella before leaving, “This was orientation?” She assured me I would be more informed when I started and said Amazon has a thorough training process.
On May 17, my first official day of work, I arrived on time and was corralled into a waiting room area with 39 other people. The office was doing its best to maintain social distancing guidelines but there was definitely not enough space for everyone to be six feet apart. On top of that there were many people without masks on. Masks were handed out about thirty minutes later.
After standing in a weird crowded line for about 20 minutes we were led into the warehouse where we each had our temperature taken and then we were ushered into a freezing cold classroom where we would sit for the next four hours learning about safety procedures and “picking.”
Essentially the job is this:
You are assigned a scanner that provides you with a series of numbers that correspond to the location of the item you have to pick.
You walk to get the item, scan it, put it in your tote, and another location appears on the scanner.
You do this and only this over and over again for the duration of the 10 hour shift.
Mindless and physically demanding.
We were told that if we think we are injured the following day, not to worry, that is just our bodies “hardening.”
LBS those were the exact words used.
We were told we would be walking average 10-20 miles a day throughout the warehouse.
I did this job for two 10 hour shifts and I can honestly say I was losing my mind by the end of the second day. The job is tedious and robotic. You are not allowed to play music for safety reasons and phones aren’t typically even allowed in the building. You are given two thirty minute breaks one paid and the other unpaid, but the factory is so large that it takes a realistic 5 minutes to walk to the break room so the lunches are actually about 20 minutes long each.
During the ten hours I spent working on day two I caught my mind trying to create a better perspective of the tedious tasks I was facing… I thought things like, well this is good for people, good exercise at least… this could be fun it's like shopping but you don't get to keep anything… Ok Heather this is fabulous you can look at the items that are the most popular purchasers and drop ship those items…
My ability to ignore the tedious redundancy of the job did not last long. By the half way through my second shift mark I was coaching myself differently…
omg what the hell… this is not fun at all… man IDK if I can make it through the shift… fml i'm halfway there I got this…
I am posting a video of the first day when we were all crowded in the office together to give you a visual of what I mean.
Overall I have to say working at Amazon was not for me.
It is true that the training process is thorough and complete. I met some very kind and hardworking people while I was there, and getting the job was very easy. At the same time the work is incredibly physically demanding and mentally draining.
If I could make a couple suggestions to Amazon it would be to allow for the use of headphones or maybe one headphone so that employees could listen to music while working. The drawback to headphones and the reason they were not permitted is because they don't want anyone crashing into/ running over each other with the very heavy carts that are loaded and pushed. I would say adding some sort of visual light, maybe a laser pointer onto the front of the carts would take care of the safety concerns and I know for a fact music would have helped me through the shift.
Amazon is huge on pleasing the customer and I can back that 100%! Speedy deliveries and low cost of products keep customers delighted and coming back to the site, I think Amazon has a very impressive operation going on overall and it was an honor to be able to see how things work first hand. The last thing I would say about the experience is that human beings are working their asses off doing these jobs and if there is any room for improvement for the company, it would be to treat the employees with the same standard you do the customers. Some small shifts in operation could make the day much more pleasurable for the employees and employees deserve the same respect customers deserve.
Big HUGE THANKYOU to Amazon for hiring me and allowing me to learn the process, same to Integrity Staffing you guys are awesome!
Also shoutout to the trainers, employees, managers, and my coworkers from Amazon I really enjoyed meeting and speaking with each of you and wish you continued success and good vibes wherever life takes you forever and ever!