Warrior of the Workplace: Discover Your Calling

Sometimes, our careers can take an unexpected turn even after experience on a summer job. Here’s the story of Rubi Ramirez and how her summer job at the warehouse set the course of her career originally published by Rachel Wallach on The Hub in May 2021.

“That’s when it really hit me that I felt emboldened to say something because my livelihood was not at stake. This job, for me, was just extra money. I was like, ‘I’m the only person here who can say something because everybody else is scared of what will happen if they do.'”

Rubi Ramirez reached up and gently tapped a box in a 40-foot stack. In the recycling warehouse where she’d been working for a few months, workers often patted the stacks of boxes, which contained cardboard and plastic, to make sure they were light enough to knock over so they could continue with the task of breaking them down.

But this time, at the same moment she realized how heavy this box was, it came crashing to the floor. She managed to dodge it, and watched as an entire stove landed where she had been standing.

She brought the situation to her supervisor’s attention. “But then nothing changed,” Ramirez says.

Rubi Ramirez by Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

It wasn’t the first incident Ramirez, a Johns Hopkins senior, had experienced at the warehouse, and it wouldn’t be the last.

When Ramirez took medical leave from Hopkins in the spring of 2015 after her first semester, she went home to Pomona, California, and found a job in the San Bernardino County warehouse where her mom worked. Safety was a top priority there; management even played a song every morning to make sure workers had their personal protective equipment and their stations were clean.

But soon enough, the company moved to Mexico in search of cheaper labor, and Ramirez found a new job. The difference was stark from the beginning; she was handed a vest and a razor knife and sent to the warehouse floor, where she resorted to asking a group of teenagers what she was supposed to do.

Read the full version on The Hub.

By contributor