Why You Should Consider Taking a Seasonal Job This Winter Break

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UPS, but all opinions are our own. 

This winter vacation will be unlike any other end-of-semester break as the traditional academic calendar has been upended by COVID-19. Many colleges will send students home at Thanksgiving and not expect them back until mid-January, or even later. Our teens will catch up on sleep and participate in family holiday celebrations, embraced by parents and siblings who love having them home. But they’ll also have a lot of extra time, too.   

Working as a seasonal hire – to both earn money and gain work experience – is something that students and others can do this year. A great place for them to begin is to take a look at the UPS seasonal jobs where they will find some incredible opportunities.  

UPS will hire more than 100,000 seasonal workers this winter for work between now and the end of January. (photo: UPS)

Jobs that students and young adults can apply for include package handlers, driver-helpers, drivers, and personal vehicle drivers (PVD) – which means they can drive their own car delivering packages in their community.  Since UPS operates 24/7, positions are available during the day, night and early morning. Applicants must be at least 18 to work as a helper or package handler and 21 to be a PVD.

A notable work perk at UPS are the tuition assistance programs for permanent employees, including part-timers, through , the  “Earn and Learn” program. That said, seasonal employees who work while going to school through the entire holiday period are eligible to earn a bonus of up to $1,300 to put towards college expenses.   

Seasonal work can be the first rung on a UPS career in engineering, sales, marketing, finance, supply chain management and more.

UPS has had a long-standing tradition of offering seasonal jobs during the holidays to teens and college students. This year, the 113-year old “multinational package delivery and supply chain management company” anticipates hiring 100,000 seasonal employees. The positions will become available in November and last through January as people order Christmas gifts AND then return some or shop the after-holiday sales.  

As e-commerce has become an even larger part of our lives during the pandemic, the overlay of holiday shopping means there will be unprecedented opportunities for jobseekers. One of the compelling reasons for taking a UPS seasonal position is that the company has a tradition of hiring from within, including from the pool of seasonal workers, to fill permanent jobs. In fact, over the last three years, more than a third of people who worked in seasonal package handler jobs at UPS were later hired in a permanent position after the holidays. College students may gain a valuable edge on careers in engineering, sales, marketing, finance, supply chain management and more, by working for UPS during the break. 

UPS is a growth company in a growth segment of the economy. As other jobs and industries have shrunk this last year, having a chance to work for UPS, which offers health insurance and pensions to even permanent part-time employees, could be a smart career move. 

Personal vehicle drivers use their own cars to make deliveries. (photo: UPS)

I recently spoke with Dan McMackin, PR Manager in the UPS global headquarters in Atlanta, whose 42-year career began when he was a high schooler in Wisconsin as a seasonal hire. Working in the warehouse and making deliveries gave him insight into the nuts and bolts of how UPS operates, something that has been indispensable to his long and successful career up through the management ranks. 

He spoke with great enthusiasm about the benefits to a young person in working at UPS, likening it to having “an internship all day.” Seasonal workers have a chance to learn about the inner workings and machinations of an intense business, as well as earning money over the holiday. He told me:  

It’s a huge organization with a ton of opportunities…the sky is the limit. If you want to come in here, even seasonally, or just part time, outside of the Christmas season, and you are willing to work hard, you’ve got a good work ethic, and a good attitude…the odds are good that you can stay here….that you can make a career out of it. Have an open mind…for all of the possibilities that might exist here. 

Dan McMackin, PR Manager, UPS

Learn more and view seasonal job opportunities at UPS 

Training, Safety and COVID-19 Preparation at UPS

UPS takes training and safety very seriously and seasonal workers are given the same training that permanent hires receive. UPS also follows all CDC guidelines  for COVID-safety that they began implementing last spring after the federal government designated them as an essential service provider. 

All employees receive hospital-grade masks and are expected to wear them; they socially distance and deliver packages contactless. Sanitizer and wipes are available for use in high touch surfaces which are disinfected frequently. UPS is at the forefront of fighting COVID-19 by working on the crucial refrigeration storage and shipping technology that will be urgently needed once a vaccination is approved. 

One final note, when I asked Dan if a UPS employee needed to be tall and strong enough to lift heavy packages, he replied that anyone in good health could be eligible for employment. UPS has developed ergometric-designed warehouse and delivery procedures resulting in safe package handling, even for diminutive workers. 

You don’t need to be big and strong to do the job. You just need to have a good attitude. 


Does your teen or college student have an interest in the seasonal work opportunities at UPS? Click here to learn more and to apply.

FAQ – All Seasonal Employees

What are the specific seasonal jobs that are available? 

There are full-and part-time seasonal positions, primarily package handlers, drivers, driver-helpers and personal vehicle drivers.

Are any of the positions virtual? 

Not at this time.

What policies are followed to keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We care about the health and safety of our people and take extensive measures to keep them safe. We follow WHO, state and local guidelines, including physical distancing, providing all employees with PPE, regular cleaning and disinfecting of work areas. In addition, we have implemented touchless deliveries to help keep our drivers and customers safe.

See here for more on UPS and COVID safety. 

What training, including safety training, do seasonal employees receive?

Training is provided based on the role and level of responsibilities required for the position. Hiring is strategically done in waves in order to ensure enough time for drivers and employees to receive the type of training they need in order to feel prepared and safely begin their seasonal position.  

What equipment, including ID and/or uniform, is provided to seasonal employees: If they work in a warehouse? Drive or ride in a truck? Drive their own cars?

All seasonal employees receive an ID and depending on the role, some are required to wear a specific uniform style. Similarly, drivers are required to operate the UPS fleet truck while PVD’s operate their own vehicle. 

Generally speaking, UPS employees must follow Personal Appearance Guidelines. For drivers and PVDs, this includes wearing the full UPS Uniform. Seasonal driver helpers are provided a UPS vest. Warehouse employees do not have a required dress code, but those employees must follow all safety standards and protocols as directed by local UPS managers. 

How do you handle packages that need to be signed for? This requires close contact and use of pens by multiple people – how is that managed?  

We have implemented touchless deliveries to help keep our drivers and customers safe.

FAQ – Personal Vehicle Drivers

Is there any signage for their car to identify them as UPS employees if they drop off or pick up packages?

PVDs do not receive signage for their vehicles, but they are always required to have their badge on hand to indicate that they are an employee of UPS and they are required to wear a UPS uniform.

What gas allowance, if any, are they entitled to if they are using their own cars? 

UPS will pay you $0.58 per mile (or whatever the current IRS standard mileage rate is) on top of your hourly salary to cover your expected gas expenses. 

What is the geographic area they would be driving in if they use their own cars?  

This can vary and schedules are built based on how long it takes to travel the route in addition to the length of the shift in order to not overload, underestimate and create an even distribution of work amongst the local drivers. 

What are the hours of operation for driving their own cars?

Positions can be full-time or part-time. The exact hours of operation can vary based on the PVD’s schedule, but there is an opportunity to work a full 8 hours, Monday through Friday.

What about inclement weather? Who decides if it is safe to drive?

Local UPS mangers oversee work adjustments based on weather conditions and make decisions to suspend deliveries due to inclement weather. 

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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