In logistics the beginning point of a pick up or delivery is often a warehouse. I have seen the careers of many people advance who started off working in the warehouse. Why not, Andrew Carnegie started out as a stock boy. I for one ended up running a warehouse for the company where I worked.
One reason the warehouse is a great place to start a career is that you get to know customers, more so depending upon the business. This is especially true in wholesale. What's to your advantage here is that a hard worker may get noticed by a customer who offers you a better job, or that you make enough of an impression upon customers that your boss promotes you to the front of the store.
This is why your appearance should be particularly neat, your clothes clean and new and your shoes in good order and repair. You should have a businessman's haircut if a male or a professional styled haircut if a female. Do not wear piercings or anything that is considered rebellious by society. This is a job, not an adventure. Most importantly, be a hard worker.
Your attitude should also be positive with no complaining. You should be respectful to the customer and address them as “Sir,” Ma'am” etc. you get the picture. Never mix your personal life with work. You don't have a rotten husband; a wild party life; or parents who came from the wrong side of the tracks to the people at work. Remember, your goal is to get promoted. ( And yes, your bosses will notice these things and never tell you why you don't get promotions. They want stability after all).
There are quite a few places to get promoted to in the warehouse. You can become the person running warehouse operations; you can become the person running the logistics part of the warehouse; or you may get into the sales aspect of the company. The reason the warehouse job is good in the sales department is if the customers come to know and like you over the years in the warehouse, you have already forged a relationship with your customer since in sales you sell yourself more than a product.
One thing that is key when you are working in a warehouse is you have to take care of your body because this is strenuous work and getting hurt will limit your chances of advancement. Don't assume because you are young and feel invincible that you don't have to take care of your body and use proper safety measures. You need to stay healthy and strong so that, when you reach your 30's and 40's, you will still be able to be competetive and get your dream job.
What safety measures should you take now? Buy a good back brace and also knee braces. Buy a good pair of comfortable work shoes. Dress for winter in winter and summer in summer. You may think I am joking here, but the elements take a toll on your body even if you think a tee-shirt is adequate for short outdoor winter loading of a customer's van. Guard against the weather.
Finally, if your company has an education program, use it. In today's technological world, you can take classes from virtually anywhere. I realize that it is hard to do traditional college, especially when your children are young. However, for your future, you need to give education some serious thought. I guarantee, if you do not have the time, someone else will and they may very likely be your next boss.
Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive for a company that specializes in industrial water treatment. He is happily married and lives with his wife in Western Pennsylvania. He is a contributing writer to LogisticsJobSite, LogisticsJobSiteBlog and Nexxt.