After a week of off-site storage warehouse work, the following are my tips & tricks for survival. These did much to help me throughout the week, but great credit for my own survival must go to my fab teammates: Mary Beth, Susan, Erik, Scott and Jean-Paul. You guys ROCK!!
1. Wear layers, preferably with the lightest being a long-sleeve t-shirt; temps vary and breaking a sweat is common, so you might find yourself pushing up those sleeves, but when it comes time to fold trays, you’ll want the protection for your arms
2. If you have more than one pair of comfortable supportive, sturdy, closed-toe shoes, switch between them each day to keep your feet from getting overly tired
3. Invest in hand lotion to use at home in the mornings and evenings, and mind your cuticles
4. Bring a refillable water bottle and cough drops, as the air is very dry
5. Bring painkillers and band-aids just in case
6. Try not to work the same station all day, and especially not multiple days in a row
7. If you have wrist or elbow issues, be warned that the sizing station is taxing on those parts (knees too)
8. If you have back issues or cannot lift heavy loads, avoid the verification station; that said, use the back braces – they really help!
9. Get out at lunch: sunshine, fresh air, and a break from the warehouse are great
10. Your teammates will appreciate any snacks you bring to share!
11. The mental aspect is in some ways more challenging than the physical
12. Pause to glance at funny or interesting items, and share with your teammates; short breaks to share a laugh are valuable
13. Hot water in the bathrooms (well, at least the ladies) is hit or miss
14. Tray folding is a great stress reliever (and Erik can tell you how to hug them into being)
15. Whichever tray supply you build up the day before probably won’t be the tray size you’ll need most the next day
16. Scholarly publishing truly is out of control: no single issue of a journal should be 5″ thick!
17. Keep your cell phone in your pocket at all times; you do NOT want to get locked out in the cold
18. Program Scott’s number and your teammates’ numbers in your cell phone just in case you do get locked out
19. Find your rhythm and stick to it
20. The wooden book trucks generally roll better if a certain side is facing forward, so figure that out before you load ‘em up
21. Don’t use the plastic handles to pull or lift full trays
22. Don’t put little books at the back end of the trays
23. Don’t walk away from stations with pens still in hand
24. Don’t make evening plans on warehouse workdays
25. Friday afternoon celebratory happy hour is encouraged!
26. Schedule a mani/pedi or massage for the day after your last warehouse day, especially if you work a full week
27. Be forewarned: the warehouse brings out interesting persona
28. When you start dreaming about your warehouse teammates and accidentally find yourself in compromising positions with them, it’s time to get out of the warehouse!!