Career options after 1 year in memphis express/Rant

Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by rynorooster, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. rynorooster

    rynorooster New Member

    Its 5:15 am so I'll make this brief. I'm 27, about to put my full year in as a handler come January and want to know what route you all took if you started out as a handler. I'd like to be a courier but I don't know if it is possible to go from handler straight to courier. Advice would be helpful. If I could rate my experience with fedex on a scale of 1-5 it would be a -3. I'm in memphis by the way. This place treats people like they are slaves. The pilots and mechanics get special treatment but for the people who are starting out and want to move up, we get treated like absolute crap. Really? You're going to penalize me for being sick? They hire middle aged, obese, men and women. What the hell are they thinking? Literally every single time my manager mentions to us that something has changed, it has been bad for us. Nothing is ever positive. We are constantly getting told that if you do so and so you could be disciplined or fired. Anywho, if you could give me some advice that would be awesome. I don't pretend to understand the dynamics of being unionized and not being unionized but good Lord, anything is better than what we have to deal with right now.

  2. Lucho Kaiser

    Lucho Kaiser New Member

    The BS, micro managing, and threat of losing your job increases 10x once your a courier. You can drop two cans and keep your handling job, one late to the wrong customer or an accident will end your fedex employment asap, I feel of all the express positions its the one your most likely to have an accident occur or a letter to be given. I went 7 years agfs without a single letter or negative olcc, 1st year as a courier I had a letter and 4 olcc's. Still to this day cant figure out how I deserved a single one but extrapolated out I make $1.50 less hrly now because of it, Im convinced its all part of memh's savings plan. Your better looking for a full time teamlead, IA, DG, CSA job, or ramp agent. All of which you can bid on from handler. If given a choice again thats what I would have done. I thought fedex was tolerable, then I became a courier...
  3. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    It is possible to move straight from a handler position, to a Courier position. It is possible (in most locations away from ramps - standard practice) for Couriers to be hired off the street.

    I started off in AFGS with the line of thinking of making Express a second career (start in the wage force, then move into a salaried position after a couple or so years). I had my undergraduate degree completed way before starting off with Express (completed as a requirement for my "first career") and possessed the capability to move up rapidly within Express once I was an internal applicant for open positions. I rapidly learned what Express was - not quite as bad as you put it, but I know that MEMH is a hell hole. I had friends that were already in salaried positions within Federal Express and they encouraged me to come into Express - based off their experience up to the time and what they had experienced as wage employees back when Federal Express was the company name, and not "FedEx Express".

    When I learned what Express was really like, I made the decision to get out of AGFS, apply to graduate school to obtain my Masters, transfer to a DGO station relatively near the campus so I could work part-time - and got out as soon as I no longer needed Express. I used Express to further my purposes and even still could recommend to anyone looking for part-time employment while they further their education to do the same. Many of the friends that encouraged me to come into Express those years ago have left themselves, with a few remaining - which I protect by vigorously maintaining anonymity on this site. They are the core of the group with which I engage in my "payback" activities.

    Since you are in Memphis, you are in a bad position to attempt to move into a Courier position. There are literally thousands at MEMH that are trying to get out of there and into a better compensated and less physically stressful position. However, there is plenty of BS going on in the stations too, just not as bad as the hubs and ramps, since Express knows that if they push too much, the union cards will be flying.

    The simple mathematics of having so many handlers, material handlers, DG Agents, Information Agents, Truck Control Agents, Team Leaders and Ramp Agents trying to get out of the hub and into Domestic Ground Operations (DGO - Courier positions), makes trying to get selected for a Courier position in JCATS with only one year of seniority next to impossible - in the Memphis area.

    Ask around MEMH, find out what is the typical number of years required for ANYONE at the hub to be able to transfer to a station in the Memphis area. I'd like to know the answer as much as you need to know the answer. I believe that if you want out of the hub, you'll have to transfer to a station quite a distance from MEMH to not be competing with so many of the employees at MEMH for open positions - especially since you have so little seniority.

    As a handler, forget about all the talk going on here about unionization - it is focused on the ability of Couriers to be able to organize - and to what means Express will go to in order to prevent Couriers from unionizing. If you are a handler, you've got other problems.

    The advice to get into a non-handler position is sound - but don't think you'll move up the "preferential treatment totem pole" any - the only thing you'll be gaining is less of a beating to your body, and something that involves a bit more use of your head. I held just about every job position a wage employee in AFGS can do, and the best from my stand point (wages excluded from consideration), is that of DG agent. Team Leaders get paid the same as DG agents (don't know if they have changed the pay grade for DG agents again from when brought them into the same pay grade as Team Leaders back in late 2005 if I remember correctly). You DON'T want to work as a Team Leader - the pay is only about a buck an hour more than a handler, and the headaches are worse than the body aches you've experienced as a handler.

    In order to move into a Ramp Agent position, you'll need to gain some experience with aircraft operations (Material handler usually) - or the better way is to work as a DG agent on the aircraft side of operations rather than sort side. As a DG agent, you'll learn the operation, be focused on a small segment of activity (DG processing), will be given all the various odds and ends tasks that need doing (doc sorting in ramp locations, non-DG paperwork) and have the best opportunity to learn the operation, rather than moving packages or containers around. If you are going to stay in AFGS, you might as well commit yourself to becoming a Ramp Agent sooner rather than later. The pay scale is the same as Ramp Transport Drivers and Swing Couriers - it is about a buck an hour higher than regular DOT-Couriers.

    If you really get some seniority, you can bid on some of the more esoteric positions, that involve auditing International Shipments and shuffling all the paperwork that goes along with meeting all the FAA requirements and regulations. You usually need at least 10 years in before you can even hope to get a position like this.

    Ramp Agents, Team Leaders and (at least as of a few years ago) DG Agents are interview positions - they are NOT selected on the basis of seniority. Someone can spend 10 years handling packages or loading cans into an aircraft - that doesn't mean they have the mental capability to handle the more "cerebral" tasks. If you have the brains, get into a DG position (I did so VERY rapidly), then if a Ramp Agent position opens up and you have gained enough knowledge about the operation to possibly fill a Ramp Agent position, your manager (if they are worth their salt and looking out for THEIR own best interest), will let you know if they think you can handle the position.
  4. rynorooster

    rynorooster New Member

    Yeah, I graduate in may so I guess I'm just going to use fedex's tution reimbursement to go for grad school. I just need to get out of the hub, it's awful. IMO the whole seniority thing is a crock. You shouldn't be held back just because you haven't worked there long enough. It should be based on your intellectual ability but I guess it's like that in most companies. We had a new vice president around march of last year and my manager was pretty much crapping on himself every night because the guy had fired so many other managers. The last thing I would want to be in the hub is a manager. People always say fedex is a great company and you can move up and everything but after reading alot of the posts on this board it seems that they are referring to federal express not fedex. Although, I wouldn't mind having a fedex corporate job . :)


    I like You figured out this crapper in a year. Being a courier is not a bad gig, but like Lucho Kaiser said, you will get nitpicked WWWAAAAYYY more than you can even imagine. If you really want out of the hub, which being MEMH, I don't blame you one bit! You might try transferring as a handler to a station, get to know the couriers and decide later if you really want to move there and that way you can still take advantage of the tuition reimbursement.

    Good luck man!
  6. rynorooster

    rynorooster New Member

    What do you mean when you say station? How is that different? Are those jobs on jcats?


    Stations are where the couriers are, it's a completely different world from a hub. I remember thinking "this is weird" when I first got to the station, kind of like the hub and ramp I'd been at previously, but smaller.

    And yes, the jobs are on JCATS2.
  8. LTFedExer

    LTFedExer New Member

    Wrong. I misdelivered 2 P1's to one lab when they were supposed to go to another (packages are almost identical). Not the first time and most likely not the last (though it has been a LONG while since it happened last).

    You do not need to be smart to be a courier. So, seniority is the only other option.
  9. grgrcr88

    grgrcr88 No It's not green grocer!

    I thought you all were PILOTS!!!
  10. Mr. 7

    Mr. 7 The monkey on the left.

    Oh boy!
    grgrcr88 gets himself another post point.
  11. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    The best career move at FedEx is to leave the company entirely.
  12. rynorooster

    rynorooster New Member

    I'm really starting to think that. There is a reason why the turnover rate is so high. I thought Couriers made like 16$ an hour, I looked on jcats and there was a position in Nashville that was like 14.46 an hour. What gives? Starting from scratch out here just isn't worth it. I'm part time, did 18.5 hours last pay period and my check is $ 176.00 . They expect people to stay around for that chump change? The only reason why I got that much is because I stayed an extra hour at post sort. They lure people in with the benefits but having a 401K account really doesn't mean much when you make so little and that goes for the medical benefits too. If I were full time that would be one thing but structured it out here so bad that it takes years for someone to be full time. Do they really expect people to stay out here living paycheck to paycheck? UNION UNION UNION
  13. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    Handlers last on average 6 months working as a hander - before they either quit or get into another position at Express. Your having lasted almost a year as a handler is beyond the average.

    That wage you listed for Nashville does seem to be below market level A, so I'm thinking Nashville may be market level B. When you look at JCATS, look at the market level. Market level A is the "baseline", B is actually BELOW market level A due to the way Express tried to engage in wage savings years ago. All other market levels are progressively higher in wage compensation with alphabetic progression (H is "higher" than F for instance).

    As a part-time handler, you are a disposable commodity to Express - that is just the way it is, has always been and always will be. Since MEMH has so many people working there, trying to move up takes time - at ramp locations, it doesn't take handlers long to either move outside to the aircraft or to move to a specialized job function (Info Agent, DG Agent, Team Leader).

    How long you hang around Express is entirely up to you - Express had difficulty in keeping up with the rate of people quitting in the past (pre-Great Recession), but now, there is a pool of people waiting for the job you have - simple truth.

    There are Couriers in market level A that have been with Express for 5 years and have just barely hit $16 an hour (and that is 5 years as a Courier). Market level A starting wage for Couriers is now something like $15,50 or so. There are Couriers with 3 or less years, that make the bottom Courier wage, since pay progression was SLOWER than the bump to the bottom end wage at Express for 2009, 10 and 11. For these Couriers, a new hire off the street is making just as much as they do - while having 3 years under their belt. This has contributed GREATLY to the turnover at Express - once the wide eyed new hires realize that they aren't going ANYWHERE with Express, they start looking for a better deal.

    Because Express is so picky about its employees (relatively), other employers know that if someone has worked for Express, that they have a clean record, are reliable and capable of working with minimal supervision - so they are sought after.

    There will never be a union within AGFS. Turnover among handers is too high, there are too few in the specialized functions and Ramp Agents will get their pay bumped up if Express really believes they are organizing. If you want more than $16/hr within AGFS, you MUST become a Ramp Agent ASAP. The other jobs on the sorts only pay about $1 more than that of a handler - and they are part-time too. Pay progression within Express now is only keeping pace with the rate of inflation. With the increase in the premiums charged for health care, Express employees are losing ground each year.

    The other "kick in the butt" that is coming your way, is that since you are most likely working less that 1000 hours for the fiscal year which ends in May, you won't receive a penny in the "pension plan" for the year - you have to work a minimum of 1000 hours for the fiscal year in order for FedEx to kick in 5% of your gross into its "pension plan". All of the benefits of Express with the exception of the health insurance and tuition reimbursement are of no value to part-time AGFS employees, since they either work too few hours or don't make enough to make a bit of difference (contributing 6% of your gross into a 401k to get matched with 3.5% doesn't do much good when you are only making about $11-12,000 a year). The 401k match would be about $400 a year on that gross, and you probably need every penny you are making now, rather than being able to invest anything.

    If you are part-time in AFGS, go to school to further your education and take advantage of the $3000 in reimbursement available. If you aren't going to school, look for another job. The handlers that stay more than 6 months in AGFS do so SOLELY for insurance, they work other jobs. Most I knew that were long term handlers worked in jobs that didn't offer a benefits package (most of them were in sales related jobs). They waived minimums, worked maybe 14 hours a week, then had another job which they made their "real money". They used Express to provide health insurance and tuition assistance and got their "workout" provided free of charge (no gym membership needed). When they were able to find a job that was stable and provided health insurance, they left Express usually without offering 2 weeks notice.
  14. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    I started in the Memphis hub. One thing to keep in mind is there are people all over the country who started in the hub who would like to transfer back home or as close as possible. Thus any courier openings in Memphis, far western Tennessee, far eastern Arkansas, or far northern Mississippi tend to be very competitively bid on. No problem getting a full-time courier position out of the hub, just bid on FT openings in very expensive areas or big cities. But that often means running like a maniac in a route no one wants. Been there, done that, never again. Or pick remote towns in upper mid-west. Brutal winters but really good people. If I had to do it again I would have gone to the Southwest and stayed there. And of course a faster way to get to an area you want is to be a swing driver. In case you aren't familiar that's vacation coverage, sick day coverage, etc. It pays better, but you'll have to learn alot of routes, get thrown on rts you don't know, often having your day change at a moment's notice. In other words there's no easy path starting out from the Hub, you'll have to put up with alot of crap and crap pay. And if FedEx doesn't make huge changes you'll still be looking at crap pay 20 years from now, but maybe you'll have worked into a route that's easier on you. Good luck! And by the way you'll start at higher pay than that $14.46 you saw at stations where the payscale is higher, but the local cost of living may be so high you may actually be worse off, and probably will be. Better to be a B payscale courier in Podunk, Alabama than an H payscale employee in Santa Barbara, CA in my book. Beautiful town, fantastic weather, but you'll be very poor starting out in such a place. Been there, done that!!
  15. FedEx2000

    FedEx2000 New Member

    We're still waiting for you to do so............
  16. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Thanks, pal. If you were smart, you'd join me, but you aren't, so you won't. Keep trying to build that FedEx"career", OK. Given the life expectancy of the average manager, it's probably time for you to get canned anyway. So keep on believing that Purple Promise crap, and see where it gets you. If you're good under the desk, maybe you'll get promoted instead.
  17. Mr. 7

    Mr. 7 The monkey on the left.

    I just heard, today, that the PT'er that I told the real deal about what was going to happen to him and his lack of hrs at our sta. is leaving to go back to ground.


    Wow, that is bad.
  19. Mr. 7

    Mr. 7 The monkey on the left.

    I also told another PT'er (who was hired at the same time) that his hrs. are gonna tank the day after Xmas and he better start looking too. Then, I mentioned that this whole place is gonna turn into a part time gig.
  20. FedEx2000

    FedEx2000 New Member

    I appreciate the concern, but I'm doing just fine. I know way too much about what mgrs at other stations have gotten away with to be canned, unless I do something so stupid that I actually deserve to be, which isn't likely at this point in time. I can always downbid to a courier.....or fall back on my degree that FedEx paid for and use my experience here to get another job, which would probably pay more and require less hours.