I'll be working for the Dallas Market Center in Dallas, Texas. The Market contacted the One-Week Job Program to participate and I've never visited Dallas so after a few calls, emails, and a short flight, here I am!
It's already Friday! At the beginning of the week, I walked into the doors of Sierra Trading Post with no idea about what the week would be like. This week has been filled with shadowing lots of people in different departments, eating good food at local hot spots, and learning a ton about Sierra Trading Post! There is something oddly exciting about not knowing what the future holds. I never imagined this week would be so incredible, but Sierra set a high bar for places to work. Their casual, family-oriented work environment is surely one of the factors for their growth as a company.
The last couple days, I've had several appointments with department managers to get an overview of their work.
On Tuesday, I got the unique opportunity to sit in on a vendor meeting. Various vendors from all over the world come to Sierra Trading Post to pitch their products and ultimately, to convince Sierra's buyers to buy them.
A representative from La Crosse Technology came all the way from Wisconsin to show Heather Jahnke, home goods buyer, the latest weather stations that La Crosse is offering. Since Sierra regularly carries their products, the meeting was fairly simple.
Heather looked at her spreadsheet to see how many of each weather station she bought in the past and then compared that number to how many actually sold. If there were lots of units left, Heather would pass on buying more. To prepare for the Christmas shopping frenzy though, Heather buys more of certain products to ensure they're in stock for the holiday season.
The meeting was very interesting and I soaked up a lot of information in a mere hour!
Do any of you readers receive Sierra Trading Post Catalogs in the mail? Besides a booming Internet retail site, STP has 12
different mail catalogs that are sent out on a regular basis. If you're like me, details are important when shopping for a product. In both the catalog and on the website, there is text listed below each product that includes specifications (size, weight, measurements) and a short description of the item. There is a whole team of 7 copywriters who work diligently to write a description for each item that Sierra sells. They write by looking at a sample of the item. Before an item makes it into the web store and catalog, it goes through these departments: quality control, photography, color correction, and then the copy department.
I had fun learning from Steph, the PR and Copy Manager for Sierra Trading Post. To cap off my time in the department, I sat with Ashley Arneson, one of the excellent copywriters. She even let me try my hand at writing a description of a sweater!
There is a talented photography department at Sierra Trading Post. They shoot photos of all the products for the catalog and website. Even though I didn't spend too much time in the studio, I got in on a fun shoot early in the week. They took photos of all the managers for the company BBQ. Check out my photo below:
Best Fringe Benefit: free coffee in the mornings at the espresso bar in the retail store. (They just let me put it "on the tab.")
Best Memory: walking into my cubicle to the sound of my phone ringing...after searching for it with no success, I figured out Bert put it in the ceiling since I had left my ringer on the highest level!
Favorite Department: the "Creatives" in the catalog department. They were super friendly and were hastling me to declare "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob"
Most memorable Employee: Darron,Receiving Supervisor for Sierra Trading Post's Fulfillment Center. (He was super passionate about his job and took time to give me a personal tour of the center.)
Most Challenging Job: Copywriter- This job is tedious and requires the writers to keep their wording fresh and accurate day after day. I definitely have respect for the writers for writing so many product descriptions!
Favorite Local Food: A huge breakfast burrito from R & B
Best Attraction in Cheyenne: The Old Fashioned Melodrama
If you haven't gathered by now, then let me say it blatantly: "
The One-Week Job Program is about so much more than just trying jobs for a week each."
I am growing so much as a person since I'm being forced out of my comfort zone. I'm getting to meet new people in new places and try tasks that I've never tried. Trying different jobs is truly a gift since I don't want to live my life wondering, "What if..."
I'm curious to hear what you blog readers might be putting off? Is there something that you're dying to try or a dream that you're compelled to pursue, but you're not working on it?
I want this blog to be a place where people interact so feel free to comment or if you don't want it public, email your response to me: email@example.com
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Where in the world is Kieley Best? I am in Cheyenne, Wyoming for my second week of the One-Week Job Project at Sierra Trading Post. (In case you missed it, I was on vacation last week and am a week behind Amanda and Michelle.
If you haven't checked out their blogs, take some time to read about their adventures. Both of these girls are super sweet and have lots of great insights to share!
This week is unique since I am not confined to one department within Sierra Trading Post. Unlike the roaster job, it's more difficult to jump right in on the jobs here since they require more experience and training. With 650 employees at the headquarters, there is lots going on! In case STP (Sierra Trading Post) sounds foreign to you: they're a company that sells excess products, closeout deals, and overstock items on their website. Even if you're not into the outdoor gear they specialize in, they've got home goods, clothes, shoes, and gadgets!
Here's a recap of what I've been up to the past 2 days:
Justin Johnson, Online Marketing Manager, gave me a short tutorial about the basics of using Wordpress for blogging. STP is constantly tracking how many people visit their website, view the blog posts, click on email ads, and more. Justin explained to me how the company uses Google Analytics (free!) to gauge how many times people view each blog post and where readers are located.
In the E-Commerce department, I have been mainly watching how Naomi interacts with STP customers on Facebook and Twitter. It's amazing how posting a simple status on facebook about a STP contest can generate a lot of excitement! To learn more about the E-Commerce jobs, I sat in on the marketing meeting. The main thing that stood out is that they are very goal-oriented. Each member of the team is expected to make a certain amount of money based on how much money they invest in their projects.
For example, Bert, Search Marketing Manager, spends money to ensure that when people search for certain brands & products on Google that Sierra's links will be close to the top of the list. If STP is not making money from Bert's work, then he's just wasting his time! With measurable goals, it helps everyone in the department to stay focused and ultimately, to make money for Sierra Trading Post!
As a regular STP customer, I frequently receive boxes and brown paper packages from them in the mail. Before taking a tour of the fulfillment center, I assumed that processing and shipping was a boring procedure. I could not have been more wrong!
Naomi and I got a fantastic tour by Darron, the receiving manager for the fulfillment center. Sierra buys products from hundreds of vendors that are received, stored, taken off shelves by order fillers, packed, and finally shipped to the customers! The receiving section is called "the warehouse" and is full of boxes of items that have just arrived from vendors. If the product is already individually packaged, it will be stored until an order comes in to be filled. If it's a box of bulk t-shirts, they are sent to a section to be packaged individually. After an order comes in, the order fillers collect the items from the shelves. After the items are packed into boxes and receive their shipping label, they travel down a chute to be sorted into different trucks. I was like a little kid at Disney World during the tour since the process is very fascinating. I loved seeing how the machines work and the fact that there's a personal touch since people fill orders, operate machines, and pack the boxes.
I was very impressed by the efficiency of the fulfillment center. Darron went into great detail about their energy-efficient skylights, the water pipe drainage system, and their high-tech machines that get the job done! The fulfillment center uses machines to expedite packing and shipping, but there are great people who work to send out the clothes, shoes, and other items people order. It was great to hear Darren speak so highly about their employees who are committed to both speed and accuracy.
That's all for now! I will blog more later this week to share more!
Email me with questions, comments, and feedback here: bestweekjob(at)gmail.com
Long time no blog!
After wrapping up a incredible week as a coffee roaster, I flew over to Wyoming for a unique adventure! I am currently in Cody, Wyoming on vacation with my family. The day after I found out I got to be part of the One-Week Job Program, I got a special email. The email was from an outdoor retailer called Sierra Trading Post. It explained that I had won their Wild West Getaway trip for the week of July 4th. I hated to take a break for a week, but who could turn down an all-expenses paid trip to a dude ranch! The sweet thing is that I got to take my parents and my brother too.
The schedule here is pretty packed with family meals, 2 trail rides daily, swimming, excursions, and hiking.
My family and I arrived in Cody on Saturday night and woke up early Sunday to get a spot downtown for the 4th of July parade. The parade was mighty festive and I enjoyed seeing peoples' pride about their town.
I will be back to the One-Week Job Program next week. What's next you ask?
I'm flying across Wyoming to Cheyenne, home of Sierra Trading Post's headquarters. I'm not going to say what my job is yet so check back next Monday to find out!
Hope everyone is having a splendid summer and enjoying life!
Have questions or job leads for me? Email Kieley here: bestweekjob(at)gmail.com
I have had a few companies back out last minute and am looking to work in the interior design field, culinary chef field, or something with photography. Please contact me via email with details if interested.
Hey from Ann Arbor, Michigan! This week's job has resulted in my first bit of traveling during the One-Week Job Program. i've now gone 2,162 miles by bus! Here's a visual for you:
For all You travelers out there, i strongly suggest using Everlater as a journal for your adventures. It enables to you to blog, upload photos, embed videos, and do it by every stop you mark on the travel map. There's also an iPhone app. Check it out!
This week, i'm working with a 9-person musical percussion variety group called Juice.
Brandon, one of the members of the group, contacted Sean twice: Once during his 52-week Project, and again before the Program started. When Sean released Brandon's information to us, i responded to the email with one statement after doing my research:
i've said before that i'm completely moved by music. i can't read a note of sheet music, but it drives me. It gets me up in the morning, it makes my existence more lively, and it keeps me up at night. A quote by one of my favorite bands, Fleet Foxes, sums up how i feel:
"I can listen to music and instantly be anywhere that song is trying to take me. Music activates a certain mental freedom in a way that nothing else can, and that is so empowering. You can call it escapism if you like, but I see it as connecting to a deeper human feeling than found in the day-to-day world...music is a weird and cosmic thing, its own strange religion for nonbelievers, and what a joy it is to make in any form."
This is a feeling that i know many of us understand.
So i jumped at the the chance to come to Michigan. i thought it fitting for me to be a part of a true musician's world, even better the world of a musical group. I wanted to see all the hard work that goes into writing and performing music - you know, all the stuff we listeners rarely think about. A musical group is a whole different beast in itself. The chance to see how a music act comes together, with the different personalities, stories, and skills, was intriguing to me.
i anticipated that it would be another heavy-shadowing opportunity, much like last week, so i prepared myself and have done my best to take note of every different situation i've been exposed to here. My bus arrived in Ann Arbor 4 hours behind schedule, after a tire blew out 15 minutes from my stop. This was on Sunday. i caught the group at the end of their weekly meeting, located in the building where Brandon and Erin, another member, work another job. In addition to being a musical act, Juice has its own musical productions company, Group Four Entertainment, Inc. Being crazy ambitious, they made the company as a way to legitimize and ease their tour-planning efforts. This is the "producer" part of the job title where I got to hear some talk about marketing, promotions, budgeting. etc. In a way, my job from last week was already helping me understand things!
i had missed most of their activities for the day, but the group took me to their basement practice grounds, another space that is an employer hook-up. i then went grocery shopping with Julie and Phil - their suggestion. Even though i was exhausted from the long bus ride, it was nice to have my own food in a new place right away. One worry that never had to exist. i felt grateful. We then ate some good steak and crab, and watched fireworks in celebration of the holiday.
Later in the night, Mel, a fifth group member, talked to me about the different parts of Michigan, describing Ann Arbor as the more liberal, environmentally-conscious area. It was helpful to get a sociological breakdown. In terms of my accommodation, i'm being spoiled. :) i have my own room for the week! Most of the groupmates live in the same complex, with the girls living in one apartment and the boys living in another. The girls were kind enough to set up an empty room for me, and it's so cute! Being the night owl i am, i stayed up late working on random projects while everyone went to bed the first night.
Monday was promotions day. i went out with Julie and Phil to run errands for different acts for a show that happens to be later today! We also ate some tasty doughnuts. Then, the team broke up into three groups to do what they call "flyering", aka placing promotional flyers for the band's show all around town. i got to go with Erin and Collin, a sixth member around Downtown Ann Arbor. During our time together, we walked through the original Borders bookstore, saw way too many coffee shops within a small distance, ended up on University of Michigan's main campus and the "Law Quad", and got to "spin the cube":
It was "Cool!" After flyering, there was an intense practice that consisted of lots of skill, weird instruments, and sweat. It lasted about 6 hours or so, and was incredible to watch. It made me a little envious that i hadn't received proper music training as a child. Oh! The "Rock Star" part of my job is that i have a few parts in the show! i got a chance to practice my parts as well. Two runs later, everyone went home. It was a tiring but productive Monday. Being a Rock Star isn't as easy as You might think. i slept hard this night.
Tuesday was laid-back for me. The general schedule for Juice is that everyone does Juice stuff Sunday through Tuesday, and then they can do other things for the rest of the week. However, this week is a bit different with shows on Wednesday and Friday, so flexibility is at a high. Yesterday, everyone clocked in at their other, "normal" jobs, including me. From nanny to bartender to salon manager to farmer to environmental non-profit worker, Juice comprises of some serious variety. The group members are so passionate about their music that they take on other jobs to pay the bills so they can keep doing what they love to do. This is in hopes that one day music will be all that they do. Inspiring. At 6pm, equipment touch-ups, dress rehearsals, and equipment take-down (the "Roadie" aspect) took place. The night ended around midnight, after which there was some pizza, talking, and heavy sleep once again.
Today is the big show. We'll be meeting early this afternoon, dressing in all black, to pack all the music equipment into a van, drive to the set, unpack and build, perform, take everything down, pack everything in the truck, drive back to the practice space...well, you get it.
So far, i'm really enjoying Ann Arbor. There are a lot of trees here, which fascinates the child in me. i'm fortunate enough to again be with good, passionate, (and TALENTED) persons who are caring and fun to be around. Most of the members in Juice recently graduated from college. The group has only been together a year, and that is important to note because they basically started a musical act AFTER college. Most people would be too fearful to do this, believing that it's too late, that life after college is meant strictly for a 9-to-5. Juice had/has a different mentality. They figure that they could use the time that would be spent studying for making Juice even better, so they're doing all that they can do make this happen. Last night, i was talking to a seventh member, Alli. She told me that she was impressed by me. She said that most people my age, especially me, having experienced very little thus far, would take the reliable road:
"MOST PEOPLE WOULD GIVE UP. THEY WOULDN'T TRY. THEY WOULD BE TOO AFRAID TO DO WHAT YOU'RE DOING, TRAVELING EACH WEEK FOR THIS PROJECT."
- ALLISON KRIEG
While i was flattered by her statement, i found it surprising. After all, i'm simply doing what she and the others are doing. Putting all my energy (willingly, of course) into living with meaning, even if i'm not quite sure what that means.
So What about You?
Do You think that as humans we lose our "spark" as we get older? Do You think it's a common belief? Why or Why not?
I'll just let You answer this alone. Let me know.
Please, wish me luck today!
Kieley here! I am having an amazing week here in Athens, GA and the past four days have been filled with fun, learning, and lots of free coffee! I apologize for not posting yesterday as I had planned. To make up for it, I will recap the first few days and post a video tomorrow with various clips from the week and a summary of my week as a coffee roaster.
In case you are new to the blog:
My name is Kieley and I'm a young lady traveling around this summer in search of my passion. In 8 weeks, I will try working 8 different jobs and blog about the whole adventure here at Oneweekjob.com. The first week has already been so helpful in confirming that coffee is something that fires me up!
Charlie Mustard has been such a great teacher this week and allowed me to see many facets of his job. It's wild to hear how he went from getting an undergraduate degree in Biology to veterinarian school to pursuing a master's in nutrition. How in the world did he become a roaster? That's a fair question and I wondered this myself. To make a long story short, Charlie spent time at the local Jittery Joes coffee shop while he worked on his Master's thesis. After hearing the company express interest in roasting their own coffee, Charlie had a eureka moment and realized that his science background would be a great fit. After extensive reading and research, Charlie bought the equipment and began to roast. The great coffee he roasts today has been developed over time-it required logging his results, lots of experimentation, and even making some so-so batches in his early days as a roaster.
What's the lesson to be learned here?
"Just because you have a degree in something or don't have a degree in something does not mean you have to or can't do a certain job."
I loved hearing Charlie's interesting path because it shows that
(1) a person is not bound to stick to a job that matches their degree & (2) it shows that a person should be open and ready to take risks because it often produces a great result! In Charlie's case, he now has a super fulfilling job that's fun, flexible, and allows him to hang out with his wonderful family.
I will share more about his daily life in the coffee business on Friday, but for now, let me bring you up to speed on the roasting process.
To get your coffee beans for your cup o' joe, there are many steps:
1. The roaster orders green beans (raw coffee beans) from various farmers all over the world
2. Batching the coffee (scooping & weighing a certain amount of coffee to be roasted) *Charlie usually puts in 26 lbs. of raw beans for one batch. When the roasting is finished, the batch weighs less due to the beans losing their outer membrane.
3. Roasting the coffee (The coffee is poured into the roaster and transforms as Charlie adjusts the heat, air flow, and controls the time. Charlie has certain markers to watch for:
-when the green beans turn "straw" color - goldenish color
-when the beans change to "cinnamon color" - medium brown color
-1st Crack- when beans crack for the first time (obvious since you can hear the beans cracking!)
-2nd Crack- A few minutes later, the beans crack again and about this time, it's time to release them from the heat into the cooling section. After cooling,it's on to packaging!
So that is basically coffee roasting 101. After spending all of Monday helping Charlie and learning the basics, I spend the next day packaging with another Jittery Joe's employee, Christian. He is the man behind the packaging and shipping for all of their coffee. After Charlie Mustard roasts the coffee and separates it into 5 pound bags, Christian pours the coffee beans into metal cans, seals them with a fancy gizmo, attaches a label by hand, and packs the cans into boxes. Jittery Joes not only roasts coffee for their own shops; they also ship their coffee all over the U.S.!
Working with Christian was fun and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with his speedy pace. It was interested to hear the route he took to end up in the coffee industry as well.
I have so much more to share so tomorrow I will blog yet again!
One added incentive to make the most of this project is hearing feedback from friends and people I meet. Hearing about this crazy program makes people think about what jobs they desire to try. I would love for this blog to be interactive so here's the question of the day:
"What job(s) would you like to try for one week?"
If you're really ambitious, work on this follow-up question:
"What can you do today to make your desire to try this job a reality?
So often it's easy to get caught up in "What-ifs" and think of money, time, and other barriers, but if Charlie had been bound by these things, he would be missing out on his sweet job: roasting coffee!
Think about it friends and comment away!
Want to email me with a job proposal for a week or just say hi? I love emails!