A Day in the Life of a Cold Warehouse Worker
Working in a cold warehouse was quite an experience. The warehouse was separated into three zones - huge industrial ovens for preheating foodstuffs, huge shelves for stockpiling dry products and huge freezers to keep foods fresh.
My obligations were stockpiling dry products and taking care of the logistics of fresh foods.
My typical day started at 8 a.m., with a coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other. Equipped myself with safety clothing and shoes then headed to get myself a pallet truck. I used to put a sticker on my favorite one so I could prank my colleagues for stealing my machine. Haha, very funny.
I had a clear task list for everyday so there wasn’t any separated morning briefings and the days pretty much started with delivering dry products to the preheating zone. Dry products were like trolleys, cardboard boxes and wooden pallets. It usually took the entire first half of the day for all of these because there were only two guys completing the task daily, so it was a disaster every time when either of us caught a flu or something else.
After three to four hours of hard work, the rewarding feeding time arrived. We usually drove to the nearest canteen to forget about work for some minutes. The physical work was clear and simple. What gave us grey hair and wrinkles were the squeamish data that needed to be thorough so the following departments could practice their procedures. No one monitored our breaks because supervisors solely focused on the results, not the process. We had even lunched for a couple of hours some day, if given tasks were done early.
Another half of the day was typically spent in the freezers. I loved that because my body temperature increases with even a little amount of physical work.
First thing to do was to check on the inventory to ensure that there were sufficient amount of food to be distributed to different restaurants, next morning. If not, then we had to make quick orders directly to the restaurants. Next, we needed to load up pallets with foodstuffs and it usually took us a couple of hours because there were tens of restaurants in being taken into consideration in a daily distributions. All the stuffs were delivered to the preheating zone around 2 p.m.
Our days pretty much ended at 3.30 p.m., and since it was located in industrial areas among other warehouses and factories, it took about half an hour returning home. Fortunately, the pay was above average and bosses were friendly.
I would like to mention a few exceptional things that I haven’t witnessed in other warehouse jobs.
First, food waste was immense. I have seen tens of thousands of buns and meat products being destroyed weekly despite the fact that such phenomenon is normal in the food industry, but I still felt the pain of wasting food inside myself. I have always hated wasting food.
Second, people working in such warehouse weren’t happy, in general. I rarely saw anyone smiling during shifts, even on breaks. I tried to come up with a reason for the atmosphere like “Maybe working in such unusual temperatures for such long periods of time have made people frown.” Nonetheless, I felt sorry for the frowners because I enjoyed my job.
And third, there were only a few people in the entire warehouse, three per zone in average. It was pretty creepy working in such huge place with such few co-workers, sometimes.
I would like to share some facts from my own experience:
- Good pay for such great freedom
- It felt awesome because bosses relied more on results than process
- Many-sided tasks made shifts feel like short
- Tasks could be done alone or with a colleague
- The immense food waste gave another perspective of the food industry
- Flexible lunch hours was a huge pro
In sum - The physical part was simple and enjoyable. What came to challenges was maintaining detail oriented inventories and precise reports to minimized any negative domino effects. People who like to play with numbers and fiddly data is more suitable for the job.
My advice for a more convenient working environment - Have a pleasant breakfast or in my case, an iced latte right in the morning. It always saved my day. Dress well because the freezers are literally very freezing and not every warehouse can provide warmth consuming sweaters. Also, do your tasks quickly to earn more spare time for your own things so, you can save more time for your family at home. I did.
Thank you for reading once again, until next time!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Davie Chen