Working Seasonally at Amazon

WorkingAMAThe largest internet retailer in the world tends to need help during the holiday season. Beginning in September each year their fullfillment centers hire temporary help to keep up with the flood of Christmas orders. 2010 marked the second time I worked for Amazon. My first adventure was in Coffeyville, KS in 2008, and my second in Campbellsville, KY. I began the application process twice in Fernley, NV over the years, however chose not to go to work there because something else came along. I worked fulltime for the organization 2015-16 in Haslett, TX. But, that would be discussion for another blog.

Amazon has several centers throughout the United States. Each center goes through their own hiring process. They used to hire through a temporary employment agency like Employee Express or Integrity, but in 2010 the company took on the hiring process themselves. Workers are still hired through a temp agency, but if can go through their hiring process, do so. It might make things easier down the road.

Amazon does all the hiring as though you were going to be a fulltime employee for them (without the benefit package). They will want proof of education and will conduct a drug screening before you begin work. A background check is also conducted, but I’ve worked for other employers who did a much more in-depth one. Amazon is very picky about who they hire, so be prepared for an intense application process the first time you work for them.

You can expect physical work. These places are large warehouses where product comes in  and goes out–very quickly during the holiday season. You might work as a receiver or maybe a stower on the inbound side. You will receive the product and/or put it in a bin so that it can be retrieved later–all with the use of a computer and lots of walking. On the outbound side you can work as a picker (even more walking), or packer where you might take the product out of the bin and then box it and ship it.  Any job you get you can expect to spend up to 10 hours a day on your feet. A good portion of that time is spent on concrete. So, make sure you have a good pair of shoes.

Work is typically 4 days a week, 10 hours a day (40-44 hours), but when the season gets real busy close to Christmas you can expect a couple of 50-55 hour work weeks. The company likes to do this overtime on a volunteer basis, but occasionally it becomes mandatory (when there’s not enough volunteers). The pay is good, the RV site is free, and when overtime and bonus is calculated in it is a real good gig for someone in transit between their winter and summer stopping places. Not every location offers the same pay package so make sure you clarify all that before you agree to work for them. The short time there (4-10 weeks) makes for a nice nest egg for traveling during January and February. But, keep in mind that if you are not used to demanding, physical activity this job might not be for you. If you do take on the challenge, expect to be in pretty good shape at the end of your contract.

Because there is a possibility of work in several different states, I believe I might continue to work at this from time to time. It works in real good when working in a National Park that has a summer season. Once that season ends and it is time to move on, then Amazon is a natural. There is typically a center along the route from where one job ended and another begins, or a location where you want to spend the real cold months. Work like this lets me enjoy good food, good drink, and good friends without the necessity of having to get up everyday, all year long, and trudge off to work.

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