I found the entrance to the rabbit hole of opportunity that may pique my interest, all because I decided to make a trip to the HR office at my night job.

Working in a union at UPS is a unique experience. Obtaining full-time work is difficult and usually means driving trucks, going into management, or bidding on a job in the hub when a full-time employee retires, leaves, or is fired. The latter full-time positions are extremely rare. When these coveted jobs come up they are always seniority-based. A part-timer with the most years at the hub is given a chance to claim the job, if he or she declines or fails a test (if the job is skill-based), HR goes down the list of candidates. I always sign-up for these jobs if they catch my interest because the worse thing that can happen is the job goes to someone else. This time around, co-workers came up to me insisting that I actually had a good shot at the job because of my proficiency with computers and that others ahead of me failed the requirements, or weren’t interested. I feared that I would be passed over for the job while on vacation, so I visited HR to let them know I was interested in the position.

I was reassured that if the running came down to me, they would wait for me to come back from vacation. (Union rules dictate the seniority list must be adhered to, unless the candidate is out on a leave of absence.) The discussion with my HR manager then went down a different hole. The minimum requirement for the job is the ability to type at least 40 words per minute, she asked if I could do so, and I mentioned my degree in communications. At this point, she raised her eyebrows and seemed confused as to why I was still just an hourly employee. I told her I did other things outside of work related to my field (such as my work with Epic Careering). She then noted that if I was willing to leave the union, I could find other part-time work within the company that would put my degree to use. I was surprised that communications jobs were so close to home (I’d always seen supervisor jobs within my hub, but they involved work on the floor and didn’t interest me– I never once thought of transferring to another local hub as a non-union employee). Additionally, I also made a connection to someone in HR. It is a connection that has been there the entire time, if I just had been willing to look beyond my daily routine and ask questions.

I realized it’s not too late to walk out of the narrow tunnel and look for other opportunities at my night job that interest me in ways I never thought possible, or even to expand connections beyond my local hub.


Have you ever been so focused on the daily grind at work, that you realized you may be overlooking bigger opportunities?

Another Office Shift by Peta Hopkins of Flickr

Another Office Shift by Peta Hopkins of Flickr