My experience as an Amazon warehouse worker was, at best, completely mediocre. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. Sometimes I liked it. Sometimes I didn’t like it. I’ve had worse jobs — at Walmart, I was paid a lot less for a more difficult job as a booster team stocker. At Walmart, it was always a puzzle to find out where an item went on the shelves. At Amazon, a computer tells you where something goes. There’s no guessing. Most of the time, however, it was both boring and extremely isolating, since it’s just you at your station 90% of the time.
I was hired at Amazon very quickly and conveniently. I am a teacher, and when I didn’t get hired to work at summer school I was bummed — and I knew that I had to find some work, and very quickly.
At Amazon, my job was as a picker. There are also stowers, packers, tote runners, counters, people who organize totes at downstack (where totes are prepared for the station), people who repair malfunctioning Kiva robots, and people who take items off the floor. There are janitors, security guards, and social distance enforcers. The managers I’ve worked with had all treated me very kindly, save the couple of times I was caught using my phone while picking, but that was polite reprimanding that I deserved.
I don’t know if this is the kind of job I could have handled for the long term. I’m lucky I only worked there this summer, and my more experienced co-workers showed me the ropes whenever I was having trouble. I had to switch out my shoes after about two days of work — my feet were killing me. I was more tired and was not able to keep up running as much as I’m used to.
There is no one universal experience in the warehouse. It’s kind of like the military — there are a lot of different responsibilities you can have. The facility is absolutely huge and easy to get lost in. There are two metrics that Amazon uses to evaluate a warehouse picker: units per hour and takt time (the…