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Examine the expectations and inferences underlying selected job positions. Consider timely topics in career preparation and the struggle for fulfilling employment. Analyze what could be improved in either situation. If this blog reminds you too much of work, then peruse my namesake blog for lighter fare.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Lowe's" Lot Attendant w/ HAZMAT Duties|utmccn=%28organic%29|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=job%3bopportunity&__utmv=-&__utmk=60660525

Job Title: Customer Service - Loader (Seasonal)
Job ID: 304182BR
Job Category: Store Operations Support
Department: 0712 - Loaders (Lawn & Garden)
Employment Type I: Temporary
Employment Type II: Full-Time
Location #: 2309
Location Name: Wauwatosa, WI

Job Description:
Assist customers in carrying and loading their purchases. Maintain outside appearance of store by returning carts to proper location and cleaning/organizing as necessary. Greet and acknowledge all customers in a friendly, professional manner and provide quick, responsive customer service.

Job Requirements:

Must be available to work a few weekdays and both weekend days. Ability to apply basic mathematical concepts such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and knowledge of weights and measures. Understand and respond appropriately to basic customer and employee inquiries. Read, write and communicate using English language sufficient to perform job functions. Ability to operate store equipment in assigned area (including but not limited to LRT, telephone, paging system, copiers, fax machines, computers, CCTV surveillance system, key cutting, panel saw, paint mixing computer, blind cutting, forklifts, pallet jacks, electric lifts, etc).
Satisfactorily complete all Lowe’s training requirements (including annual Hazardous Material, Forklift certification/departmental training, etc). Ability to interpret price tag and UPC information. Able to wear all necessary personal protective equipment to perform job functions. Ability to work in both inside and outside environmental conditions. Physical ability to move large, bulky and/or heavy merchandise. Physical ability to perform tasks that may require prolonged standing, sitting, and other activities necessary to perform job duties.

This is actually a well-written job description except for the acronyms. While I know that “CCTV” stands for “closed-circuit television,” what does “LRT” mean in this context? I did myriad Internet searches but uncovered nothing relevant. How does someone know whether he/she can use an “LRT” if he/she does not know what it is? Within the context of the other devices listed, I presume the “LRT” is some type of office / telecommunications equipment. I also infer that “ability to interpret price tag and UPC information” means “ability to learn and remember merchandise codes after we teach you, preferably after the first run-through.”

Within the gargantuan paragraph which could use separation into several smaller ones, it is revealed that the seasonal loader will undergo training on handling hazardous materials and operation of a forklift. I finally found an entry-level forklift operation position! I grant that the forklift duties are maybe a fifth of total activities for this position, but it is an inroad to a warehousing career. That is more than what may be said for the typical retail sales associate who is never granted the privilege of heavy loading duties.

This would be enough to turn the title of this post to “awesome job vacancy,” except for the omission of compensation, which is neither “depending on experience” nor “negotiable” but rather is understood to be minimum wage – quite a low compensation for someone who handles hazardous materials and spends any given day on a forklift which might tip over and crush the operator. I do give Lowe’s credit for permitting the position to be full-time and hence eligible for benefits.

I hope no one sues Lowe’s for explicitly requiring their customer service employees to speak fluent English. It’s a perfectly reasonable job requirement, but most job descriptions omit this requirement and rely on the applicants to infer that a strong grasp of the English language is necessary to adequately respond to the majority of customer inquiries. At least Lowe’s doesn’t require applicants to self-certify themselves as having “top personalities” or as thinking, “Every day is the best ever!”