I wrote this for a blog, but here it is:

You know those signs you see at some companies bragging about their "streak" of days without incidents?

Something to the effect of "365 days without injury".

Well, I'm here to tell you that in the case of Amazon, as well as a few others, I'm sure, those numbers don't quite add up.

Once upon a time, in the last 5 years or so, I was a bright eyed and bushy tailed Amazonian with what I dreamed would be a future that who knows, one day might have landed me in the corporate offices in Seattle.

At least, that was the dream.

Instead, I was given quite a nightmare.

I, unlike many others, had no real "manual labor" background going into Amazon. I had spent a good chunk of my life in predominantly female-populated roles prior to Amazon such as telemarketing, customer service driven call centers, and even a brief stint in retail.

Still, I figured what the hell... Let's try something new.

Upon arriving on day one, I realized quickly that despite my nearly 6 and a half foot, 250 plus pound frame, I was much more the brains then the braun.

The company saw it too, which, by all accounts, was great.

This realization landed me a role as a "problem solver", which quickly became kind of a fun, although, at times, daunting, task.

In this role, essentially, you run around like a chicken with it's head cut off, primarily handling two major things: finding lost merchandise, and making sure the merchandise we do have can be properly received and stored both physically and digitally.

If a barcode wouldn't scan, you made a new one that would. If you ever get a package from Amazon and it has a sticker that has a number starting with B00, chances are there was some issue scanning it originally.

While in this role I sweated off easily 20-30 pounds in my first month, not even exaggerating. Granted, I probably didn't eat as well as I should have, but still, it was definitely a lot more physically demanding then spending all day on a phone.

The problem came when I learned how to track down "lost" merchandise.

Long story short, being a new facility, we were trained by people that, simply put, were in no way, shape, or form the best people for the role.

The way I was trained to essentially handle this merchandise was to look everywhere it could possibly be, and if it was not found, simply "delete" the digital inventory.

The problem wasn't that I couldn't find most of these items, it was that most of these items never existed in the first place.

When a shipment comes in, it would get scanned approximately 3-4 times prior to physically being put on a shelf for safe keeping.

The second to last scan is what digitally "receives" the item, and the last scan is, essentially telling the system "the item has been received and is being put on this shelf".

The issue was that the receiver, in an attempt to reach ridiculous goals, would be going so fast that sometimes items would get scanned twice.

If an item gets scanned twice, it can only be "stowed" once.

That is when the item shows as being "lost".

Needless to say, this happened so frequently, it became a bad habit in assuming this was almost always the case, and this bad habit got passed down to every problem solver at that facility.

Mostly due to my understanding of the process quicker then most, I kind of took the reigns on being an unofficial leader of the problem solvers, and as such, at the first sign of trouble, I took the fall, and I took it hard.

One day, a large amount of "lost" merchandise that I had deleted had been found, in some random spot, on the other side of the 1.5 million square foot warehouse, nowhere near where it had belonged.

Needless to say, this looked bad since I was the one that did not find it.

After that, I was nearly immediately taken off of the problem solver role, which proved to be the beginning of the end.

I began to fulfill other roles, and was kind of a "jack of all trades" as, in order to be a problem solver, you had to fully understand all processes, essentially.

While I did the roles of unloader, and some of the other true "grunt work" I had always kind of hated it, simply because I just was not in THAT great of shape, at the time, I was a smoker, and as I had mentioned previously, between my poor diet and the companies insane goals, it wasn't exactly the best fit for me.

Eventually, I kind of talked my way into receiving and stowing, simply because if I was not going to be a problem solver, these roles at least provided SOME mental stimulation.

The only mental stimulation I ever had unloading was the times I would play Jenga with the boxes in the back of a truck, or the time 100 pounds of weights almost landed on me because it was stacked on top of a bunch of boxes of paper towels and/or toilet paper (by the way, whoever at UPS thought that was a cute idea can go take a long walk off a short pier).

So at some point, stowing kind of became my go-to role, which was all good because it was, for the most part, not too difficult, but also kind of fun, as it was the only role outside of problem solving that resulted in dealing directly with the Kiva robots, a group of robots that literally brought shelves to you, rather then you taking items to shelves.

Soon, I found myself doing what is called "tranship" stowing, which, essentially, is stowing items that we would otherwise not have at our facility, due to their smaller size (we dealt with anything from 18-78 inches on it's longest side) for the sake of shipping the items together to our customers.

Due to the items small sizes, the rates we had to meet were nearly double that of anything else, and for the most part, I was able to hold my own, until one day, the repetitive motion got the better of me.

Out of the blue, it felt like someone had their thumb pressed down on my shoulder blade, and all four fingers underneath it, as if trying to pull it out of it's place like a giant chicken wing.

Immediately, I went to their glorified nurses office, Amcare, where they essentially put some Biofreeze on it, had me sit there with an ice pack for 20 minutes, and sent me back to work.

Unfortunately, once the Biofreeze and ice wore off, the feeling returned, and persisted, for the next 3 and a half years, as I still deal with it today.

After a couple more trips to Amcare, I decided to see a doctor, however, due to my naivety, I had to see their doctor, as I did not have my own upon my working there (I was 29 years old and had previously gone without insurance for a while, and before that had simply not gone to the doctor much, if at all).

Their doctor basically told me I had a sprain, and gave me restrictions that essentially resulted in me having to walk around the entire facility with Lysol wipes in an attempt to limit the flu from spreading throughout the facility for ten... hours... a day...

It was literally the most boring way I could spend my day, and, since most everyone there had to wear gloves to avoid cardboard cuts, it was pretty pointless, but, at the end of the day, if they sent me home with pay to recover rather then do that, then their "perfect record" of days without incidents would be tarnished.

After being taken off the restrictions, going back on the restrictions, learning to drive a forklift to meet those restrictions and do something at least somewhat less boring and unproductive, multiple trips to their doctor, multiple trips to the emergency room (including one where my wife had to drive me as I was in too much pain to even function), eventually, I had had enough and demanded I get an MRI.

Keep in mind, at the time, I was a 29 year old man, with no REAL prior health issues, no nagging pains other then maybe a little bit of lower back issues primarily due to trying to out do my friends in weight training in high school (held the record for dead lift), but that MRI changed all of that.

The MRI not only showed that I had developed early onset arthritis, but also had degenerative disk disease, as well as some other issues, essentially resulting in no muscle, fat, or other connective tissue between my rib cage and shoulder.

Long story short, moving my shoulder means bone rubbing on bone. All this news one week before my 30th birthday.

Once those results came in, and my restrictions were laid out (mind you, the same restrictions I had previously had), suddenly there was "no work for me" and the injury was determined to be "a pre-existing condition" despite any documentation backing that up.

So there I was, forced to get on disability, in an attempt to preserve their numbers, preserve their worker's compensation rates, and, in the long run, their prices and productivity.

I've since gone to my doctor, who happens to have a brother that is a worker's comp lawyer, and essentially was told that I have a case against them, however, due to my limited time there, the dollar amount gained isn't really enough for any lawyer to really get excited about.

At the end of the day, I'd much rather have seen that ticker of days without injury reset then ever even have gotten a penny from them, but of course, it keeps on rolling along, ignoring any ghosts of employees past who suffer daily with the battle scars from trekking through the Amazon.

Next time you order from Amazon, just remember, the minimum of 10 people that touch that one box that you ordered and had delivered to your house the next day are less important numbers then the $100 you spend a year on your Prime account.