Apr 2, 2011


As I mentioned last week, I'm now working part-time for Big Blue Home Improvement Store. The first week has been an interesting experience; this is my first time working in a large corporate entity.

My first job out of college was selling cars; the dealership had perhaps 35 employees. From there I went to a software company of about 280 people, a different software company of 75ish, and now to my government job in an office of about 35 people. BBHIS employs about a quarter-million people according to what numbers I can find.

I arrived for my new-hire orientation Monday evening as instructed, and joined a group of five other new hires. Interesting cross-section of the world - a retiree, a former Air Force EM, two students, and a guy whose background I don't know. Most of Monday evening was listening to the HR Manager go through policies and rules - no big deal and nothing unexpected.

Tuesday evening I got plugged in to their computer-based training system and turned loose. I cordially detest CBTs because they are generally lowest-common-denominator and not necessarily self-paced. This was compounded by a slow network connection and/or antique hardware (566MHz/512MB thin clients on a *nix platform) - imagine watching YouTube over a 56k modem. It's just not pretty. Regardless, I plugged through the courses and got a lot done.

I also found out what department I'd be in (building materials; i.e., lumber and masonry) and my pay rate. I have never before had an employer offer me MORE than what I'd asked for in my application - but BBHIS has a pay matrix they use, and apparently my background and position point to the rate I was given, about 5% more than what I requested. What am I going to say, no? :-)

Wednesday night I was off and MrsZ and I celebrated my best man's 36th birthday at a local pub and gave him a bottle of Balvenie Caribbean Cask. (Yes, I would like one of my own, please.)

Thursday I was off from the day job and worked 8-5 at BBHIS - more CBTs. Yes, eight hours of CBTs.

Friday was again at BBHIS, but after a couple hours of CBTs, I was sent back to receiving to learn fork lifts. The standard counterbalance fork trucks were pretty simple once I adjusted to front-drive rear-steer. After that we did a quick run-through of order pickers which were a little harder to work but manageable. They'll take some more practice. And then ... reach trucks. Basically, a forklift that allows you to extend the forks, and is capable of operating in much tighter spaces than a standard fork truck. These are ... tricky. One hand to steer, and the other hand does ALL the other controls - moving forward/back, fork up/down/forward/back/in/out/left/right. Side note - if you see someone zooming their forklift - of any type - around a warehouse and picking things accurately and quickly, they've been doing it a while. It's easy work but it's not easy to do well.

After lunch I was tossed on registers. Not terribly hard given my background (the software company I worked for did cashless and POS systems), just a learning curve.

I've got the weekend off from BBHIS, but I'm back at the day job. Back to BBHIS for a few evenings and a few days next week, and hopefully I'll start getting regular (perhaps even consistent) hours there soon.


Ruth said...

Sounds about right for training, and yes, if you're computer literate the registers are simple easy to learn. Tip, if the CBTs there are like the ones I had, you can skip 90% of it and go right on to the test and 9 times out of 10 pass it first try, especially if you've realworld background to fall back on.

I was attempting to get my forklift license when I left the orange store, but since I worked service desk the management was being hard to convince (I thought it make perfect sense, I'd no longer have to wait for someone to pull my special orders....). I'd done everything except take the actual final test on each machine, I'd have passed if they'd have let me take it, though I'll admit that if you pointed me at one now I'd have no clue anymore.

ZerCool said...

Ruth, I expect you'd find that forks are like riding a bike - you could hop back on, wobble a little, and be right back to where you were inside a week.

I wish I could skip the CBTs, but they gray out the "next slide" button until the audio track is DONE playing - and there's no way to fast-forward the audio track. There are a few that are based on actual DVDs you're supposed to watch, and you're right - those are generally passable on the first try and definitely the second.

Then again - what the heck, I'm getting paid regardless of what I'm doing!

Ruth said...

Ah, either they got smart to people like me, or BBHIS does this differently on the CBTs, could be either really lol. And yes, getting paid for staring at a DVD isn't a bad thing, I just always got so bored I had to move on!

Old NFO said...

Ah... forklifts... :-) You are correct, they 'look' easy, but it takes practice and more practice to be proficient! And the CBTs are STILL, again, always a PITA.