* I am an employee of Kraft Heinz*
As I mentioned in my last post, I was so busy excitedly dancing when I found out I got the job as a Peanutter that I didn’t actually take in most of the job details that my future boss provided at the time. I thought I might have heard her mention two 90-hour training weeks, but I thought, “nah, no way. How is that even possible?” Well, it is possible, and it’s called Peanut Prep.
The best way to sum up Peanut Prep — or Hot Dog High for our Wienermobile friends — is with a quote by the fiercely inspiring Teri Goudie: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” There’s nothing comfortable about saying goodbye to your friends and family, packing a year’s worth of belongings into one giant suitcase you can barely maneuver and suddenly being thrown into a life of constant change alongside 20 total strangers who will pretty much be your only friends for the next year.
On top of all of that, they really were not kidding about the 90+ hour work weeks. Right off the bat, we were given a detailed itinerary that kept us busy from sunup to sundown with presentations, trainings and reading a huge manual cover-to-cover, popcorn-style. We were also kept busy with meeting tons of awesome people from Kraft, our advertising agency, Olsen, and the already mentioned, but extremely influential,Teri Goudie. We also learned tons of valuable skills including, but not limited to: media training, staying trendy on social media, what to do if children try to clobber Mr. Peanut and, of course, how to drive the NUTmobile.
While it might sound like Peanut Prep was all work and no play, it was actually tons of fun. After an excruciatingly hot two days of driving the NUTmobile vehicles through various cone obstacles, we spent a whole day at a ropes course where we took on 30-foot-high wire and rope challenges and ended the day with campfire songs and hot dogs (Oscar Mayer of course). Another nice thing about training was getting to try tons of new restaurants around Madison and Chicago for free, which was bad for our health but good for morale.
Ultimately though, what made training so awesome was the people. On our very first day we got to overlap with the outgoing class of Peanutters and Hotdoggers, and I remember seeing how close they all were and feeling like there was no way us 21 newbies would ever get to that level. However, I quickly found that, despite having different majors, universities and hometowns, we were all incredibly like-minded and driven to not only succeed at our new jobs, but to have fun and make friends along the way. As the days went on and as we repeatedly switched hotels (four times in two weeks, ugh), I found that I still started feeling more and more at home because I had the same people struggling through it with me.
All in all, Peanut Prep was long and intense. I neglected my friends and family too much, worked out too little and hardly relaxed at all. But over those two weeks I gained valuable knowledge, priceless memories and lifelong friends, which made the discomfort I felt beyond worth it. Looks like Teri Goudie was right again.
As a Peanut Prep Alumni I am now off to the west coast! Check out my updated schedule to see where I am heading, and reach out if I am ever in your area — my partners and I are always down for some new company.