Planning & Goals – Job to Career

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Appreciate you checking in with us today, I’m Marty with Warehouse and Operations as a Career, our Podcast is about the Positions and Opportunities within the Warehouse, Transportation or Operations fields. Today I’d like to talk a little about those Opportunities and how just maybe we can push them along a little & make things happen for us.
A few of the most frequent things I hear from Supervisors and Managers today pertain to advancement planning, attendance and headcount struggles. I feel these are new opportunities for them, I use to hear much more about productivity and how it was so important to see at least marginal increases across the reporting quarters. Here at WAOC we try and point out the short cuts, if there is such a thing. Experience is needed to advance in our chosen profession, we’ll need to be noticed, be there for our shifts every day we can and be involved, have a Plan, know and obtain our short term Goals as well as our long term goals. With those in mind we will win the objective which I hope is a great salary, a good work life and a Career we will retire from. I believe going into Operations with a plan, something we’ve really thought about is paramount to that success we’re looking for! Now a job is a job, we’ll get a paycheck every week, which fits some just fine, and there’s nothing wrong with that but if we want that job to be a Career we should be dedicated to it, loyal to our company and use or stick to our plan, it will pay off for us!
I was speaking with a Supervisor last week, he had a gentleman that had just started working with his company as a Lumper. The employee had worked 2 weeks on a training program which is at a G/L pay rate and an hourly position while in training and his third week he went to the regular piece pay program which gave him that particular week the equivalent of about a $1/hr increase, which brought him to a fairly normal rate for the local market. The gentleman wasn’t displeased with his pay but stated that he really needed to earn more. The Supervisor sat the employee down and coached him a bit about how being just a bit more organized and moving just a little quicker when palletizing and wrapping the freight he would be able to move more cases and make quite a bit more weekly. He also shared with the employee that he had been impressed with his attendance, him being on time every day and that he could see him one day being a dock lead possibly, explaining to him that he is doing an excellent job and coming along in his training at an above average rate. The following week the employee was given larger loads or loads with a bit more responsibility & he was exposed to the Slip Sheet forklift with someone working with him, getting training on yet another piece of powered equipment. The employee’s pay increased the equivalent of about another dollar an hour for that week bringing him to a nice wage for the market & really put him in the forefront of his management team’s thoughts. So, in roughly 4 weeks’ time the employee had a pay increase of about $2/hr if you converted his pay into an hourly rate, remember he is on piece pay at this point. The employee was very happy with his job, stated he really appreciated the additional training and responsibilities but asked how could he make more money and when could he be a Lead. The Supervisor told him to keep working hard, keep learning everything he could & helping others and that he would probably see those opportunities arise. The employee seemed satisfied and excited about their talk. Well, The employee No Called No Showed the following Monday, of course the Supervisor was a little concerned about him since he did not hear anything from him. The company’s HR Manager reached out to the Associate a few days later to perform an exit interview. The Employee stated he just was not making enough money & had found a another position at the same pay rate. When asked did he feel he had been treated fairly by his managers his answer was certainly, they we’re very nice and had spent the time he felt was needed on training him and working with him. He was then asked about his pay, that upon taking the position it had been an additional .50 cent increase above his old position as a G/L worker, and he had actually increased his weekly pay by just under $2/hr in only 5 weeks and been trained and certified to operate 2 types of equipment, an electric pallet jack & a Slip Sheet forklift and that the Supervisor had notated a discussion about a lead position that he felt you could possibly grow into. The employee stated yes, that was true but he just wanted to make more money. The Manager thanked him for his time, wished him the best going forward and encouraged him to always feel free to speak with an employer when somethings bothering you and try and give notice when resigning if at all possible.
So, the Supervisor was wondering if this had just been a bad hire, had he missed something when working with the employee or maybe did something to make him quit? I explained from what I had heard, it sounded like the employee just changed jobs. Me being a bit curious about such matters I reached out to his ex-associate myself but was not able to contact him but I was able to speak with a peer that knew him. He stated the ex-associate had left for an hourly position, actually doing the same thing, that he really liked the work and now wished he had stayed where he was that he hadn’t been given a raise yet, mind you it had only been 4 weeks since he had started working for the new company, and he didn’t see any opportunities there. He then shared with me that his friend had quit already and was looking for another job and did I think he could come back there. I told him I was sure they would love to have him back but they had a pretty firm stance on the NCNS rule. I hate hearing these kinds of stories in our Industry and with our labor pool or demographics, and I hear them all too frequently.
You know, unless we win the lottery it’s just a fact that we’ll need to work for the rest of our lives, at least if we want to live comfortably and be able to have everything we want, not necessarily just our needs met. I believe it’s very much possible to have a job that we really enjoy, love doing and look forward to going too most days. And those jobs can make us great Careers, taking care of us and our Families but I think we have some responsibilities ourselves and that’s a couple of things we try and discuss here at WAOC I guess.
I believe it’s so important we have a plan, really know what our Goal is. It’s so easy to get stuck on that paycheck coming in each week but I feel without an idea of what our long term plan is we’ll find ourselves moving between jobs and not know, or never defining the reason why. With each new job we’ll be starting over again and again. There’s really no short cut to success in Operation’s, we need those experiences that time will give us, but I think researching a bit about a company, knowing what kind of money we want to be making and what we want to be doing in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years, having those short term and long term goals can get us there quicker.
I read a couple of articles this month that made me think about just this very subject, one forwarded to me for us here at WAOC by a very good friend, it was written by Lindsey Novak entitled A Year Here and There is No Way to Build a Career. She is speaking to another industry and position but it gave me plenty to think about and it probably will you too. Another one I found interesting and pretty spot on as well was by Julie Zhuo titled How to Think About your Career. There’s hundreds of articles on line, you all know how I feel about self-education and what we can learn to help us advance, check out these two and cruise a couple of others, I can almost guarantee 30 minutes spent reviewing them or like articles will give you something that will help you next week at your work place. Anyway, yep, I got lost again for a minute and off the topic, now where was I. Oh yeah, I can see how maybe in the Technologies Fields or Computer sciences and Programming or Design fields its ok and probably accepted to change jobs every year or so, I mean you may be bringing with you ideas or skills that others just do not have. I’m sure companies are looking more at what you bring to the table or company than how loyal you are or what your work history and longevity is like.
In our field though the Skills we need are not something taught in schools, we’re of course shown how to perform our jobs but experience and our experiences while performing the jobs is our education, I like to think of it as being paid while going to school, our companies are paying us to learn and in turn we’re performing a task for them & getting a paycheck! This training or education as I like to call it is expensive to our companies or our Universities if you will & when we jump from job to job they usually do care. We’re in the productivity world, headcount matters, X number of boxes have to get moved each shift. When we as associates are not there it will affect our customers, work peer’s and our Company. I think that’s why we need to think about what our Resume or work history looks like. Now not to say we should worry about the number of jobs we’ve had, there is always reasons, usually good reasons for leaving a job but we need to be able to explain them and actually make sure we do explain them to our hiring agent so they know and feel that we’re a committed employee.
One of the great things about our industry is, or at least I believe is that not only can many skilled positions in the warehouse and transportation fields pay us very rich yearly income but can offer us very rewarding Opportunities with Management positions if we’re interested.
It’s really up to us to be the Best in Sanitation or Unloading, Loading or Order Selecting, Forklift Operator or maybe the Receiver or Returns agent or Inventory Control etc and the Best in a Transportation position like Driver Helper, Router, Logistics or Driver positions and maybe the Best in Building or Fleet Maintenance. It’s honestly simple to be the Best at any position. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be the most productive or the fastest, we do need to work hard give it our best and be productive but that great attitude and wiliness to work with others, train others are just as important. Our Attendance and Positive attitudes goes a long way with our management teams, as will our participation in meetings and our input of ideas and suggestions. Being the Best brings with it some responsibilities and I really believe it will be noticed and rewarded by our Managers.
We’ve all have that peer that is favored or promoted by a manager because their friends or family members and although we may feel slighted a bit I’ve never seen it to be a positive thing for them in the long run. One promoted under such terms is really being cheated, and when their sponsor moves on they rarely make it on their own because they did not possess the skills needed for the job. Us that put in the time and have the experiences will excel, it may take just a little longer but hey, we’re in it for the long haul right, that Career & we’re going to keep on advancing. If we do our jobs well, and we are that employee to our managers, advancement and promotions are really just a byproduct for us, we like our job and we’re the Best in the organization at it, those things will just be knocking on our door.
Lets go back to our employee we spoke of earlier. Did he want too much, or was he in too much of a hurry? Possibly so, it appeared he did not want to complete the full course or curriculum or even a couple of semesters of the education. I believe companies pay for skills, in our industry those skills are obtained by experience, the more we know about the positions within our warehouse as an example the more pay that’s involved. The only way to learn those things is with time invested & of course a bit of self-education on our part. I whole heartedly believe Career Opportunities will come and we can be ready for it, even make it come to us, we just have to open that door.
I hope we’re leaving you with a few thoughts and maybe we’ve touched on something that fits within your goals and Career path today, and please email us with any questions or if we can help you in any way. I’d ask that you check out our Twitter feed @whseandops, we share quite a bit about leadership there each week and if you would give us a Like on our Facebook page too, again @whseandops and as always past episodes can be found on the website warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and on iTunes, Apple Podcast and Google Play! We didn’t speak much about Safety in this episode, please remember it’s the most important of our daily tasks & treat it as such, share and participate in your next Safety Meeting and BE that Safety Conscience Employee!

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