2018 Camperforce Season

Our 2018 Amazon Camperforce Timeline

January 13 – Application submitted (Basic questions, a brief personality survey, and the opportunity to upload your resume)

January 18 – Application Approved

February 18 – Application Approved by preferred facility and preliminary offer paperwork received. Now able to select preferred shift, department, start date, etc…

March 27 – List of Campgrounds released, now able to make reservations based on your preferred start date

August 20 – Drug Test and Background Test Ordered

August 31 – Drug Test and Background Check Approved

September 27 – Received Official Start Date of 10/15

October 13 – Arrived at “Amazon Campground” (Amazon will allow you to pull in 2 nights prior to your start date)

October 15 – 4 Hour New Hire Orientation (Shift and Department Revealed)

October 16 – 10 Hour Shift

October 17 – 5 Hour Shift

October 18 – 5 Hour Shift (After this condensed work week you will begin your regular shift)

What our first week was like at CVG1 as Pickers…

We arrived at the Amazon Hiring Center promptly at 8am on Monday. I believe the orientations are held on Mondays, so I would urge you to choose a start done that aligns with that schedule. We were the first group to arrive at the hiring center. We received our 2018 Camperforce shirt, lanyards, and a few extra goodies. We completed our I-9 on the laptops provided and then headed to the orientation area. There we handed over our ID’s, watched a couple of hours of new hire videos, and received our shift and department assignments.

Tuesday we arrived at the fulfillment center and received our badges. Once we were through the turnstiles, we got a very brief tour of the employee facilities, such as bathrooms, the breakroom, HR, time clocks, etc… In the “classroom” we reviewed break times, for inbound it’s 9:15am and 2:45pm, with lunch at 11:35am. And tons and tons of safety training, safety is very important to them. We did lots of on the floor training, just learning how to navigate the fulfillment center, and how to do your job as a picker. By lunchtime, we were pulling real orders.

After lunch it was Hubby’s turn, I went off and did my thing. Primarily as a picker, it’s your job to pull items from the bins and fill your totes. And BTW it’s very important to remember the difference between a tote and a bin, HA! It’s kind of funny how much this is drilled into your head. Anyways, once you are ready to work, you activate your scanner, and it tells you exactly where to go in the fulfillment center. I’m still learning my way around, but our first week was spent on the 3rd floor in North MOD, I know that tells you a lot, HA! So you grab a cart full of totes and head to the area on your scanner. The scanner will NOT let you mess up. Scan the bin, scan the item, place tote on the conveyor, rinse and repeat. In a nutshell that’s what you do for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I just got a pedometer, so I am so curious to see how much we really walk in a day, but I’m guessing at least 5 miles a day. Pretty impressive that Bezos is paying us $15 an hour to get a little healthier HA!

By the end of the day Tuesday, we were beat. Although all of our Disney training proved helpful, we were pretty used to tired feet. Same deal for Wednesday and Thursday, but only 5-hour shifts. And by then, we were both pretty happy to have a long weekend.

All in all, it’s super easy work. A little mundane, and I have to admit at times I contemplated whether this was better than the tax office HA! But not having to work with the general public is always excellent. You’re pretty much on your own. Except when I might steal a passing kiss from hubby in an aisle 🙂

We start our regular shift this week. A full 50 hours. The money is great! And anytime I feel a bit tired I think about all the benefits my body is getting, along with the fact that anyone can do anything for 10 weeks! I’ll keep you posted.

Week 3 Update…

Well, we’ve completed three weeks at Amazon, and wow, are we tired! I know a lot of people speak poorly about the Amazon Camperforce Program due in part to the extreme physical demand it puts on your body, and I can honestly say that I was not prepared for how I would feel physically. That’s not to say that Amazon didn’t warn us. In fact, I still have yet to walk the 10+ miles per day that is listed under the job description. We average about 7 miles per day. I just don’t think you can wrap your head around how your body will feel, but again no fault of Amazon. Then you have to consider your actual duties. I can only speak to picking, but I have to say that it is the worst job I have ever had. It is boring. Mundane. And gives you way too much time to think. Pair that with your severely exhausted and sore body, and well, it’s easy to say that Amazon is a horrible employer who exploits its workers as if we’ve gone back to the dark ages.

So, if it’s so awful why are we doing it?

$$$MONEY$$$ It’s that simple!

Especially with the new wage increase, it is going to be tough to beat Bezos’ Camperforce deal.

Consider this…

$15/Hour

A Free place to live

Free Utilities

Over time at $22.50/Hour

A season End Bonus of $1.00-$1.50/Hour Worked

And the ability to work as little as a few weeks or several months and be welcomed back year after year…

Anyone can do anything for a couple of months. And if this allows us to pursue our passions, then without a doubt it is worth it. And so doable. I can’t imagine doing this full time though, ever! Of course, those of you who know me, know that I can’t really commit to anything for a long time, HA!

At this point, without finishing out the season, and reviewing opportunities for next year, I have to say that this is the best way to earn good cash, in a shortish amount of time as an RV’er. With that said, I will absolutely be looking for other opportunitites next year, as well as evaluating our season net, mesured in both time/effort and actual paper dollars.

So what about the fulltime/long term employees and the wage increase?

It’s been a little disconcerting talking to some of the fulltime employees. It’s hard to get the facts, but the consensus is that the employees feel betrayed, and they are actually making less money now. It’s well known that the stock options and performance-based incentives have been withdrawn. With that said, I am not sure to what extent or how far up the ladder these items have been affected. Morale seems mediocre at best. On the floor, it feels like a very us against them mentality. Anytime I ask someone how they feel about the wage change; the answer is always the same bleak outlook. And everytime we get a message on our scanners to “move quickly because we have to ship out the items” I think to myself how irritated the employees must be knowing that the only bonus they receive for working a little harder is the fact that they’ll get to keep their job.

HOWEVER! It sure worked out for us!!!! And every new employee to come….

I’d like to think that it truly is for the benefit of the masses. Amazon sure has done a lot for the consumer. And I can’t help but think how many thousands of jobs have been created, especially in these smaller towns.

My Amazon musings…because there’s not much else to do while picking for 10 hours a day other than think!

PERHAPS…MAYBE…POSSIBLY…AMAZON IS…

  • WEEDING OUT THE OLD EMPLOYEES
  • PLANNING FOR A MORE SEASONAL WORKFORCE
  • ENCOURAGING EMPLOYEES TO PURSUE OTHER CAREER PATHS
  • GEARING UP FOR THE FUTURE BY CREATING LIVE/WORK/PLAY SITES
  • EDGING OUT THE COMPETITION BY BUMPING MINIMUM WAGE ACROSS THE BOARD
  • SCREWING OVER LONGTERM EMPLOYEES JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN
  • GROWING A TOP DOWN BOTTOM UP LIVING WAGE ENVIRONMENT
  • TAKING OVER THE WORLD ONE FULFILLMENT CENTER AT A TIME

So, in my opinion, it’s still too early to tell for the fulltime employee. But as for the Camperforce program, I strongly encourage people to take a step back and realize all of the benefits before passing judgment. For our family, it was a way out….of Alaska that is 🙂 And I think that as the wave of “nomads/wanderlust/full-timers/whatever you want to call yourself” continues to grow programs like this are going to be vital.

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