I applied to a Trader Joe’s one year after graduating college because I knew they had a good reputation for treating their employees right, and I knew I was correct in that assumption my first week on the job.
That was back in 2014, and while I have recently changed my career, it was one of the best jobs I have ever had. Aside from all the good things what you will hear from many employees – both past and present – such as great health benefits, good retirement, and paid vacation time, here are three ways Trader Joe’s has set me up for success for any job I take on in the future.
My bosses were role models.
While working at Trader Joe’s I learned that leaders navigate from their team from front. And don’t direct from the back. While my managers directed me by assigning me to a task in a certain section of the store, they had to make sure every section was running nice and smooth. Somehow, in one way or the other, they got the job done every single day. Most of my managers, who are called “mates,” worked so rigorously that I tried to emulate their enthusiasm and efficiency. This set a precedent for displaying what a successful leader should look like, and will be a characteristic that I will look for in myself when I take on leadership positions.
Learning to adapt to working hours that vary as early as 4 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m., and the occasional overnight 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift was beneficial to my adaptability. It was not necessarily adjusting to the odd hours that were the most difficult, but the work that came with it. When I got to work in the early morning hours while the rest of America was sleeping, I had to be prepared to do some heavy lifting and proper rotation of various food products. Crew members needed to make sure that the store was ready for the customers, so we had to do this on a deadline before the store opened. If I could wake up to do this, then I know now that I can wake up for just about anything.
With more responsibility comes more empowerment
There was little to zero micromanaging from my mates, which told me that they trusted me enough to get the job done. Additionally, everyone else around me was working hard in their respective sections. No one else was going to do the work for me, so I needed to roll up my sleeves and get to work alongside my crew members. Working independently in a quick yet efficient manner has helped me stay on task and finish with prompt aptitude for other projects. It has made me self reliant, motivated, and accountable.
These were just three skills that I acquired while working at Trader Joe’s, but I learned a handful more and will carry them with me for the rest of my life.
Personally, I think everyone should work at a place like Trader Joe’s at least once in their lifetime. At the very least you can learn customer service and other social skills, see how bosses manage effectively, and can develop a strong admiration for labor and trade skills.
I know I have.
Photo Credits: Holly Mindrup