head + wall = headache
May 13, 2010 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Desk to Warehouse: Thinking about leaving desk job for warehouse for 1-2 years as I pursue my MSW. My desk job is sucking my life away. Benefits for warehouse job start on day 1. It's at an Amazon distro facility near me. I've done that work before as a temp and liked it. What am I not thinking about?

My desk job is going nowhere. I have ADHD and am having trouble finding medication that works well. I have done warehouse work in the past at another book distro place and really liked it. I love books and organizing things, so running around with a list and putting books in a box was like some kind of heaven for my not-yet-diagnosed-ADHD self.

I have an "in" so I pretty much have this job available to me. I have always liked my more physical jobs anyways (working in the produce section of supermarket, various factory temp jobs) but they don't pay as well. This one does pay fairly well, even tho it will be pay cut, but I'll get OT obviously around Xmas and other amazon-happy holidays.

I figured that I will need to work weekends only (which is an available shift) at some point in the future since I will need to field work for the MSW. Yes, I realize that MSW jobs can be soul-sucking desk jobs, but that's not my question.

This just seems like a nice physical and mental break from what I've been doing for the past few years.

I've been job searching for over a year now and this is the highest paying non-admin desk job I've been able to find. I have a really hard time finding jobs anyways because my degree makes me overqualified for admin jobs (I lucked out on this one after 6 months of trying and being signed up with 5 temp agencies). And my lack of professional experience makes me underqualified for anything I really want to do. I heard this straight from a temp agency rep I was working with after 5 months of frustration.

I feel bad for leaving my current job because I know it was hard for them to find me to fill this position when the last person left. But I am finding my ADHD is making it hard to get more than just the bare minimum done and I'm experiencing a lot of ADHD-induced fatigue from trying to wrap my brain around doing things that are boring (like filling out these damn stupid forms about staff changes because the people in HR don't like the web form so they email me the form they use and then i have to re-enter everything in another form. drives me up a WALL!!!!)

Please no knocks about ADHD. I have it, it's diagnosed. When I'm on meds that work, I can do this job or anything else. But right now I'm just banging my head against my desk and needing naps in the middle of the day. I'm fine on the weekends for the most part.

My SO is cool with the change, as long as I am happy and have benefits. He knows I want to go to grad school. I have no car payment etc. The change in income is not significant to present a change to our standard of living.

FeedbacK on idea? Experiences working with Amazon or in a warehouse? Did doing a move all day job help with your ADHD induced lethargy (I've heard from many folks that it helps a great deal.)

Wow this is rambly.

throwaway: askme8000@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you've thought this through and should go for it.
posted by dfriedman at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2010

I worked in a towel mill warehouse the summer after I graduated from college. I was moving out of town for grad school in the fall, and it was the only temp job available to me. It was physically tiring, but mentally liberating. What I really liked about it was the ongoing "reward" of repeated accomplishments - take a slip, fill the order, send it on the conveyor to the checkers, done. Do as much as you can from your pile of slips, anything left gets handed off to the next shift. I didn't bring the work home with me, there were no ongoing projects, no longterm deadlines to avoid/procrastinate/freak out about, no soul-sucking meetings. (The only things I didn't like about the job were employer-specific - no air conditioning in the summer in Georgia, low pay, etc. I also really hated the sight of towels by the end, but I eventually got over that.)
posted by candyland at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2010 [6 favorites]

And my lack of professional experience makes me underqualified for anything I really want to do.

Taking this job is not going to help you in that regard, even with the MSW field work.
posted by halogen at 2:38 PM on May 13, 2010

Seconding dfriedman. You have me persuaded!
posted by toomuchkatherine at 2:41 PM on May 13, 2010

I feel like I read somewhere that Amazon treats its warehouse workers really poorly, although I don't have a source. I'm making this comment hoping it rings a bell for someone else.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:57 PM on May 13, 2010

I figured that I will need to work weekends only (which is an available shift) at some point in the future since I will need to field work for the MSW.

My only advice is this: think very carefully about doing anything that requires you to work seven days a week for months or years on end. I've done it; after a while you become unable to do anything well because you just don't ever have a chance to take a full day off.
posted by anastasiav at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2010

Congratulations on pursuing your MSW. I have one and have had the opportunity to employ quite a few. I am quite confident that with the MSW and field experience you will find a position that challenges you, keeps you active and with which your ADHD will not interfere ( but please do your paper work, based on experience).. If you can get through an MSW program you will do fine. As for the warehouse--It does appear you are going in with your eyes open and the option of week ends is great. Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 4:02 PM on May 13, 2010

Do you have to do any heavy lifting on this job? Is it physically taxing in any way? Are injuries common?

Physical jobs hold the huge, and very real, risk of you walking away with lifelong injury that could at least partially disable you for the rest of your life. If it really is only short term and you are in your 20's or early 30's then you can probably get away with it if the work is otherwise pretty low impact, but workplace injuries (mostly backs, knees and the occasional wrist or elbow) are far too common.
posted by whoaali at 4:12 PM on May 13, 2010

Do you like dust? I hope so.

I worked as a stocktaker in warehouses and miscellaneous shops when I was studying at uni. I've seen them well-kept and filthy, busy and slow, big and small, full and empty, even a few burned ones that we counted for insurance purposes. They're decent places to work—not fantastic, not awful—but I can think of many, many worse places to spend your days. There's a certain meditative quality to counting things for hours.

There's worlds of difference between different warehouses and you can't tell good ones from bad ones on sight. Unionised worksites always have much better safety, conditions and pay (where I am, that's most of them). You'll be doing heavy lifting wherever you are, and there is definitely the risk of severe incapacitation, for instance if someone drops a pallet on you or you fall from a scissor lift or picker; warehouses are dangerous places. It's really your co-workers and bosses though who make the job pleasant or horrible; and there's nothing you can do about them.

Forklift drivers with proper certificates (where I am) are paid better, given more respect on the job, and are in demand. If you have some time and a bit of savings, think about getting yourself a forkie's ticket.

And get some good, comfortable, flat shoes, or quality safety boots if the site requires it. Sneakers or Doc Martens aren't going to cut it, and are more dangerous than you think. Spend as much as you can afford to on workboots that fit and on comfortable thick socks.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:19 PM on May 13, 2010

Did you look at Safeway? Unionized, and they pay their checkers really well.
posted by salvia at 6:14 PM on May 13, 2010

I know someone who has ADHD and who pretty much went nuts doing a desk job. A few years ago he moved to a warehouse-type job involving lots of physical work and it made a huge difference to him. Maybe the endorphins released during physical activity helped, but he became a lot less frenetic and easier to be around.
posted by essexjan at 1:41 AM on May 14, 2010

As a former warehouse worker / current desk jockey;

1) You'll need to get used to standing for 7-8 hours at a time again. Strong agree with Fiasco da Gama on the need for quality footwear.

2) Depending on the company, you may not be able to get a coffee / go to the bathroom outside of scheduled breaks. Not dictating your own schedule may also take some adjustment.

I really enjoyed my time doing it, though - it's nice to work hard, do a good job, then go home and forget about it.
posted by fixer at 6:01 PM on May 14, 2010

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