Our Amazon CamperForce Experience
Disclaimer: We are in no way affiliated with or representing Amazon. We are simply detailing our workamping experiences for those interested during our time as Amazon Camperforce associates.
As newbies to the Amazon CamperForce program, we really didn’t know what to expect other than the information that we were able to gain from others who had written about their experiences. So to those who shared their stories with us - thank you! As a way to pay it forward, we hope this recap of our Amazon CamperForce experience will provide similar information for other newbies.
It’s not all pretty, so you may want to cover you kids eyes as you read this. Okay - it’s really not bad, but we are trying to convey our real experience and how to make the most out of a job that includes lots of walking, long hours, and mindless work. Remember that your job experience is what you make of it. Below you will find some details of what to expect, what we learned, a few perks of the job, and some numbers that detail our experience as CamperForce associates.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- EXPECT to do what the job descriptions describe (shocking, right)! It is incredibly easy to read over the list of job responsibilities and just think okay, okay - enough words already. However, they really do describe the jobs well.
- EXPECT to stand and or walk on concrete for 10 - 12 hours a day. You will be on your feet all day with an exception of two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch.
- EXPECT to be provided with everything you need. Training, Safety School, Safety Vests, Gloves, Goggles, Box-Cutting Knives, Bottled Water are all provided.
- EXPECT a fairly mindless job. There is very little to stimulate the mind. You hold a scanner that tells you just about everything you need to know. It becomes a part of your hand and you follow its instructions all day long.
- EXPECT to be tired & sore. While I’m sure there are blue-badge (full-time) employees that are used to it, pretty much anyone you asked had sore feet!
- EXPECT to feel like all you do is work, sleep, eat and repeat.
- EXPECT to enjoy getting to know the people on your shift, but not necessarily meeting anyone else. There were at least over 500 CamperForce employees, but many of them worked opposite shifts as us. They were sleeping while we were working and vice versa.
- EXPECT change and be flexible. Remember Amazon is a big corporation that is very successful. If they found a way to improve a process, they are going to do it. Hours, overtime, processes, job functions all may change - expect to go with the flow. Regardless of what we think, they know what they are doing and are good at what they do.
- EXPECT to work 40 hours a week financially. Do not expect overtime as it is not guaranteed. However, prepare yourself physically and mentally for 60 hours weeks as they might be the case if the need exists.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
- We LEARNED that working nights wasn’t all so bad as long as you make it a routine and stick to your schedule.
- We LEARNED that being prepared for the work week made the week so much better. We used our days off for laundry, grocery shopping, and food prep. That way once the work week started all we had to do was grab and go with clean clothes & lunches and meals were conveniently prepped in the crockpot. We would do 2 - 3 crockpot meals per week and eat the leftovers the rest of the days!
- We LEARNED that you won’t always feel like exploring on your days off as you are tired, sore, and have things to get done. We when arrived to Campbellsville we had a long list of things we wanted to do and see while we were in Kentucky. We did make three outings during our stay to visit Lousiville, Lexington, and Bowling Green, but still left a lot of attractions and sites on the table. Guess we will have to plan another trip to the Bluegrass State.
- We LEARNED that attitude is everything. It was easy to want to whine and complain, but we were here to do a job they were paying us to do. Thankfully we were able to stay positive and make it as fun as we possibly could. Remember you are in charge of how you feel, so choose to be happy. Energy is contagious whether positive or negative, so keep it positive and those around you might feel better too.
- We LEARNED that by following the “Standard Work” procedures, the job is much easier and safer. We were able to avoid a visit to Amcare (Amazon’s version of onsite medical care) by doing things they way they taught us to do them. Some things may seem trivial or silly, so we had to remind ourselves to follow the program. From daily stretches, to processes, to safety school, to step ladders - they all serve a purpose.
- We LEARNED that a fulfillment center is just that. A place to fulfill customer orders. Our only reason in being there was to make that happen. We were just one cog in the Amazon wheel. In orientation, they made it clear that this was - just a job, not a career. Things were peachy if we just did what we were asked to do. In good ol’ Nike fashion - just do it.
- We LEARNED that the blue badge (regular) associates truly do appreciate the campers being there. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they are happy to have us out of their way and no longer asking silly questions, but our managers always made us feel appreciated. We truly respect the people that do this job each and every day - many of which have worked at the fulfillment center up to 17 years.
A FEW OTHER PERKS OF THE JOB:
- We tried something neither of us had done before.
- It give us a better picture of what happens behind the scenes when we click the “Buy Now” button while shopping on Amazon.
- Working night shift, we never had to set an alarm. We never expected to say this, but if we returned we would definitely request night shift (5:30 PM - 4:00 AM).
- Being in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky, we definitely spent less than we would have in a more populated area. In example, we only ate out 3 times during our 9 weeks in Campbellsville which was always BBQ from Brothers - yum!
- Our campsite was free (paid for by Amazon).
- Laundry was cheap at only $1.00/cycle. This only applies to those staying at Green River Resort as I'm not sure the laundry fees at the other neighboring campgrounds.
OUR EXPERIENCE IN NUMBERS:
The number one question we have been asked is “Would you do it again?” We certainly don’t plan to return to Amazon on an annual basis as many people do, but we can picture ourselves doing it again the future. It is a good way to make a good amount of money in a short amount of time. While certainly not the picture of our ideal job, if it fits in our schedule as we move from one area of the country to another, we wouldn't hesitate to return.
For anyone interested in pursuing the Amazon CamperForce program in the future, please send us a message. We would be happy to provide you with more details about our experience and try to answer any questions you may have.
Here are links to all of our posts related to our Amazon Camperforce experience:
- Arrival at Amazon in Campbellsville
- Amazon Camperforce Week #1
- Amazon Camperforce Week #2
- Amazon Camperforce Week #3
- Amazon Camperforce Week #4
- Amazon Camperforce Week #5
- Amazon Camperforce Week #6
- Amazon Camperforce Week #7
- Amazon Camperforce Week #8
- Amazon Camperforce Week #9
- Amazon Camperforce Final Recap