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Lessons I Learned at the Warehouse

by Jed Quinn 9 months ago in advice

A short lesson on percents.

Lessons I Learned at the Warehouse
Photo by Ruchindra Gunasekara on Unsplash

1. Give your real 100%

Working at the Warehouse for over fourteen years, I have some stories and advice to share. One account is after three months of working at the Warehouse, my boss Jarad walks up to me at the start of my soda can order in aisle seventy to ask some questions.

Jarad asked, "How am I doing?"

"Doing fine," I said.

"Do I like your job?"

"I'm enjoying myself."

"How long have you been working at the Warehouse?

"I've been working for over two, three months."

Jarad said, "You below a hundred if you keep it up, I'll be forced to fire you, understand?"

In shock, I jerk my head back, and a heavy feeling starts in my stomach. I am the type of person who gives a hundred and ten percent to everything.

Jarad shows me day-to-day hard copies of the last three months. To see your performance in black-and-white is an unreal truth. To see my name hover the ninety percent, I took the evidence hard and felt embarrassed. Fired for performance issues hurt me personally.

Ten-year-old me would help my father and grandfather pull carpets in apartments and clean them to be painted. Working at McDonald at sixteen, I made it a point to clean the toilets when not told. At college, the hard work mentality and attitude went out the window. Burnt out by high school life, I stop doing college homework, concentrating on playing video games. Eventually, I dropped out of college and had to find a real job. At a job fair, I found work as an order selector. What is a selector? The thought of a person working picking boxes sounded easy. A runner (a nickname for order selector) at the Warehouse is real hard work.

After the surprise conversion with my boss at the start of my order, I ask myself at that moment, Do I show him that I can give hundred-and-ten percent or get fired?

Jarad said, "If you can't improve by the end of the week, I will be forced to fire you."

The words played in my head like dices in my hand. At the end of my order, I had my answer as I reached out for the next order. It hurt my pride. On resumes, I place a hard worker as a skill but to see on paper my name and next to it is ninety-three percent meant I was lying to everybody and myself.

At the end of the week, I hit one-hundred-and-twelve percent.

What is the point? The real hundred percent is the real you. The honest you who can trust in yourself and those around you can in-turn trust in you. Seeing your performance in black-and-white can be intimidating, or you make it a challenge to relive to yourself what you can do.

2. Doing 200% is doable but, you need conditioning to hit it.

On my last race day as a runner (nickname for an order selector), I hit my best percent of 175%. But, the fastest runner hit 235%. How can anybody go that fast?

Mathematically speaking, an increase of 100% in quantity means that the final amount is 200% of the initial amount (100% of initial + 100% of increase = 200% of initial). In other words, the quantity has doubled. If you apply

this to orders selecting a ten-minute order done in less than five minutes is 200%

Another variable is the orders themselves. All orders are created differently; for example, a milk order of five-hundred cases but, each case is a tiny pint of milk. A daily order will be a hundred cases but each one of those cases is over fifty pounds each resulting in throwing fifty pounds one-hundred times.

The next variable is finishing the day or the week at two-hundred percent. Doing a single order at two-hundred seems doable. But in a ten-hour shift, you will need to double the number of orders than most of the other runners at the warehouse. The average runner does twelve orders, then you will need to do twenty-four orders.

Hard work, right?

So, why try to hit two-hundred percent?

As I have said before, I’ve never hit two-hundred percent in a single day. Partly because my mindset tells me it cannot be done. This is one major factor; the second is conditioning your body to put in the work.

One tip to conditioning to run faster at the warehouse is to drink your favorite clean energy drink. A pure energy drink is one without sugar, and they make a lot of them, find your favorite flavor.

Another tip is to eat little pieces-of-candy but try stretching one or two bags of candy throughout the workday. The short sugar rushes will help motivate you to the next order faster and, by eating them throughout the day, you never hit the sugar fall.

Eating quick calories like potato chips is another tip to conditioning to hit that two-hundred percent.

What is the point? Eighty percent of running is a mental game that you fight with yourself over every order. Asking questions like “What life decisions did I make to get this job?” “Do I really like this job, or do I like the fact that I have a job?” “Can this job be any easier?”

But, the two-hundred percent worker does not think about any of these questions. Their mindset is a condition to think, “I did the last order too slow, so I need to speed it up on the next order.” “I need to pass this next runner.” “I need to hit the next case faster.” Their mindset is thinking, how can I improve my speed, not why am I picking orders.


Jed Quinn

I am an aspring sci-fi author who loves space, dark comedy, and heavy metal. I am a huge fan of sythwave and 70's, 80's, and 90's lifestilys.

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