Week 1 at Great Lakes Packing Co.

My first week at Great Lakes Packing Company–a cherry processor in the Traverse City area–has already had its twists and turns.

The very first day, after we signed our employment documents and watched the training videos, my supervisor informed me that the position for which I was hired was no longer as urgent to fill. So instead of starting my training in Quality Control and Production Tracking, I agreed to a last-minute switch: they requested that I start out on the day shift as Front Office staff and transition to the night shift office once harvest time starts.

In some ways I’m already thankful for the change; I’m at the center of the operation where I can familiarize myself with company employees, business associates, internal communications and important documents. I had hoped for a more hands-on experience as a Production Tracker in the processing plant, but I can already see how the office position will expose me to a bigger picture of the tart cherry industry.

I was also surprised to hear how many employees prefer the night shift. They describe it as a slightly less hectic time where it’s easier to have fun, to get to know each other, and to learn the most. I heard the same from a classmate who was in my position last year; she said that in the office, the night shift is when all the behind-the-scenes projects take place. And so, although I’ve never worked a night shift before, I’m looking forward to that inside-view of the industry.



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