8 miles a day at Amazon

8 miles a day at Amazon

A few weeks ago I posted an article about finding work as the spouse of a traveling nurse. Today I saw on the news that Amazon is hiring 70,000 seasonal workers at their warehouse facilities across the U.S. It just so happens that I worked at an Amazon warehouse during one of Stasha’s six month contracts in Carlisle, PA. Here’s my experience as a seasonal worker at Amazon.

My first day of work I was a little intimidated when I walked through the front doors only to find locking floor-to-ceiling turnstiles. It honestly felt like I was visiting what I imagine a prison to look like. I would soon learn that all employees are issued a badge that unlocks the turnstiles. Without your badge, you couldn’t get in or out. Any employee who used another person’s badge or any employee who let someone use his or her badge was subject to immediate termination. During my five months I actually witnessed two employees terminated for violating this rule.

Within my first month of work I realized I was doing an awful lot of walking. I decided to start wearing Stasha’s Fitbit to work to keep track of just how many miles I was racking up each 10 hour shift. I was a little shocked when I got the results. The Fitbit is a pedometer that gives you online access to your walking history for the life of the device. Here are my results:

  • 600 – total miles during the five months I kept track
  • 7.7 – average miles each shift
  • 13.2 – most miles walked during one shift
  • 10 – number of shifts in which I walked at least 10 miles

The numbers pretty much tell the story. Despite required stretches at the beginning of every shift and after lunch, there’s not much you can do for sore feet. After almost every shift I felt like I had walked the soles right off my shoes and was starting to wear my feet down to nubs. My job was to take carts full of merchandise and randomly store them in bins throughout the factory, logging which bin I had stowed them in with a scanner. There were lots of other jobs that didn’t require that much walking but I would say maybe 25-35% of the jobs do. Other jobs involved operating forklifts, lifting and loading, unloading, packing and wrapping.

So if you’re the spouse of a traveling nurse and your’e looking for a temporary job this holiday season, now is the time Amazon starts to ramp up their seasonal hiring. If you don’t mind hard work, the people are great and it’s an opportunity to make new friends and some extra cash for Christmas. And to the workers at 21 Roadway Drive in Carlisle, Pennsylvania – thanks for having me and for some great memories. I miss most of you but I certainly do not miss the walking.

I forgot to mention a very important detail in my Amazon experience. I was offered a permanent position but declined since we were going to be moving within a few weeks. Later when we were having our taxes prepared we learned that had I taken the permanent position, our tax home would have shifted to our apartment at the time. That would have meant Stasha wouldn’t be able to claim a tax break on housing and could have cost us $400 a month had I been hired directly from the start. So for any spouses traveling with a nurse, DO NOT take a permanent position anywhere unless you don’t claim a home elsewhere as your tax home. As long as your paycheck comes from a temp service, you should be fine.

  • Amy Womack

    The amazon warehouse I work at has walk through security. Did yours have that as well? If so, did your fitbit set off the security? My initial first day is Sunday and I was curious.

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