Age is just a number: How a woman who started her career at 45 now leads a team of 70
After 22 years as a homemaker and a mother of two sons, Anna decided to focus on her own career and entered the workforce for the first time at 45. She struggled at first until she found the perfect job for her at Coupang, and now she leads a team of 70 employees. Meet Anna, 52, a successful and well-respected manager at Daegu Center 5.
Hi Anna, I first heard about you and your unique background from the high praise among your colleagues at Coupang Daegu Center 5. This is now your seventh year at Coupang—could you share how you came to join the company?
I still have so much to learn, but I’m flattered. Hello, I’m Anna, and I am a manager at the Coupang Fresh Center (Daegu Center 5) in Chilgok-gun, Daegu.
I majored in food and nutrition in college, but then I married right away and had children. I worked hard as a homemaker for 22 years, taking care of my husband and two sons. But after sending my second son to college, I began wanting to have my own job and focus on myself.
That was when I was 45. I joined a research center related to my major for a master’s degree, but studying became harder with age. Then, I tried to find a job, but that was even harder. “Homemaker” was my only work experience. I eventually found a job as a salesperson for a cosmetics company, but it was really stressful because of the competitiveness and sales performance burdens. It just didn’t fit.
In 2015, Coupang opened its first logistics center in Daegu. I joined the company as a contract employee with a friend, and found that the job was perfect for me.
You started as a Level 1 employee and steadily moved up the ranks to a Level 4 manager. Can you tell us about your journey?
I just continued working at Coupang because I loved it, and one day I found myself as a manager. I joined Coupang when it first opened the Daegu 1, 2, and 5 centers and learned everything from the beginning. I was really lucky.
There is so much work to do with the launch of a new logistics center. From cleaning, and organizing the logistics line from IB (inbound: sorting incoming goods), OB (outbound: retrieving goods for shipping), HUB (loading onto vehicles), and so on to setting up computers and even managing staff, I was able to plan and execute a variety of tasks from the start.
Things like tidiness, meticulousness, efficiency, and responsibility are very important to me in my daily life. These turned out to be necessary virtues while working at a Coupang logistics center.
What are some memorable moments from your job?
Seven years ago, while working at Daegu Center 1, I was in charge of items that were frequently ordered by customers, like powdered milk, diapers, and toilet paper. I remember trying to figure out how to most efficiently move such large volumes at once, and after proposing my idea to my manager, we split the work among my colleagues and we executed it. This was when my team members began recommending me as a leader, and I think that was what pushed me to continue working at Coupang with confidence.
What is your daily routine like at Daegu Center 5?
I work flexibly between day and night shifts depending on the center’s circumstances. These days, I’ve been working the night shift from 5 PM to 2 AM. While that means working at night, I like having the morning and day for my personal time. I want to get better at using Excel, so I’m even taking classes separately.
When I arrive at work, I check what products need to be shipped that day and review the pending work issues of the employees on site. I go back and forth between the office and the worksites to manage the work. The fresh produce that we ship is sent to customers’ homes through Coupang camps everywhere from Gwangju and Jeonju to Ulsan, Gimhae, and Busan.
What are some advantages of working at Coupang?
Coupang made business cards for me, pushes me to learn continuously, and take on interesting challenges with new people. I think of Coupang as my food, books, and travel opportunities.
If you asked me what the best thing about Coupang is, I would say the people. At Daegu Center 5, there are so many wonderful colleagues who practice the values of collaboration, encouragement, and mutual growth. I’m a late bloomer to corporate life, but I’m very satisfied and happy.
What would you say when recommending working at Coupang to your friends?
There is a sense of stability and trust that comes from working at a solid company that is continuously developing. Coupang is a place of unlimited possibility, where you can unleash your passion for work. I’m proof of that. I started having only experience as a homemaker, joined Coupang at a late age, and now I’m working as a manager. I would tell them that as long as you are passionate about work, you can achieve and become anything at Coupang.