The Amazon learning cliff

I used to think I was fairly intelligent.  I prided myself on it, really.  I felt myself a shining example of the truth in the theory that you don’t need a college degree to be educated and I’ve always thought I could succeed at just about anything, if only I put my mind to it.

Then I started working for Amazon.  After a grueling three weeks on the job, everything I’ve ever believed about my own intelligence and capabilities has come into question and I’ve learnt that I aint quite as smart as I thunk I wuz.

It’s not that the job is bad.  The job itself is great and I would love to be hired on permanently (I’m currently only scheduled to work until the busy season is over.) No, the job isn’t bad.  I am just very bad at the job.  To be extra specific, I’m really bad at the remembering part of the job which, unfortunately for me, is kind of vitally important.  With almost every call, I’m thrown into a brand new realm of confusion, bewilderment and utter turmoil.  I’m contacting my leads constantly, essentially making myself useless (why pay TWO people to do the job that ONE person is hired to do?!)  They say that everyone goes through this in the first few weeks, but I can’t help but feel like I have an extra helping of this gift of utter cluelessness.  I mean, really, I’ve been joking about it for years.  I call 911 to alert the cops about a possible drunk driver and then forget what the car looks like.  I show up to my first major photo session on the wrong day.  I take the kids to music lessons and leave their instruments at home.  I forget what conversations are about, just seconds after having them.  It’s all cute and harmless, right?  Sure it is – until I start a job where memorization is a vitally important skill.

All these wonderfully charming attributes I’ve been carefully crafting and honing for the past thirty-some years haven’t just gone away simply because they’re now detrimental on a whole new level.  Just the other day, I actually forgot what a customer was calling about while I was on the phone with her and offered her advice about something in direct opposition to what she’d actually called us for.  My manager happened to be listening in on that call and got an earful as the customer let me know in no uncertain terms that I was completely incompetent and unqualified for the job.  To which I raise my glass of vodka in agreement.

But I’m trying.  I’m really trying.  I’m asking questions, I’m doing research, I’m taking notes.  Copious amount of notes.  People at work have been sharing pictures of their cute work stations, featuring dainty cups of coffee, fresh flowers and kittens purring peacefully atop their computers.  Here’s my picture:

057 work

My husband says it looks like the shed scene from A Beautiful Mind, where Alica discovers that John is lapsing into schizophrenia.  It feels a little like that, too.

Should my customer ratings (40% negative), average call time (roughly 20 minutes, until that two hour phone call at the end of my last shift kicked it up to a number I was afraid to check) or number of times I say “um….” during any given conversation count in any way toward my rehire eligibility… well, I’ve resigned myself to the likely event of my imminent termination.  However, should determination, desire and sheer stick-to-itness be taken into account at all, then I’m a shoe-in!

Time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m getting some really intense lessons in the subject of humility.


Related Articles:

Living Waters in the Amazon

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