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A Wonderful Time of the Year!
By Joe Bodary
Retired Postmaster and NAPS Michigan State Branch 95 Corresponding Secretary
The holiday rush is here, excitement is in the air! Co-workers are bringing in treats. Christmas carols are playing. Holiday help has arrived, penalty overtime goes away, package volume increases and the workforce is happy and content. At least this is what we expect.
Then, reality sets in. The ideal scenario just mentioned may not happen. How you react to the missing pieces will be crucial to your own holiday enjoyment.
I remember many Christmas seasons that were hectic with volume overload, package overload, not enough people, getting dark too early. I didn’t enjoy the season. You work hard all year and should enjoy the season like everyone else does. So, take a deep breath and let’s go!
Keep calm. If you appear frantic, it shows loss of control to craft employees. They look to you as the leader; deep breaths will help you remain calm. Plus, you think better when you are calm.
The goal is to get everything delivered every day. With that in mind, you have to prepare for obstacles along the way; have a plan. We always went over the schedule and plan the night before. For example, if you are short-staffed, know who your overtime people are and use them. Keep one or more as a backup in case an obstacle pops up during the day.
Remember, as package volume increases, standard mail decreases. Although First-Class Mail may increase with holiday greeting cards, it’s not significant. Know your volumes! A lot of carriers and clerks think they are swamped because it’s the holidays, but you should be able to show it’s not as much as they think. Calm them down and you got it.
Take time for yourself. Make sure you go out for lunch every day. If you brought your lunch from home, eat it in your car. Getting out of the office helps calm you down and refreshes your energy. Maybe you can check on a few carriers on your way back.
You always should check on your new carriers or holiday CCAs. They are not experienced enough to judge how far they are. If you don’t check on how they are doing earlier in the day, you could get a surprise at the end of the day.
Thank your employees. Acknowledge the hard work they do and thank them for doing it, either on their return from the field or the next morning. Keep in mind when they leave the building, they are dealing with traffic, dogs and other animals, snow, ice, cold temperatures, bad sidewalks, porches, steps and darkness. Thanking them will help make them feel better about the job and appreciated.
Take time with you family. The reason you are working is to provide for yourself and your family. You may be exhausted when you get home and may need to rest a bit, but save some time to enjoy your family. Play games, decorate the house, go shopping, go out to eat, visit holiday displays, read stories—there’s so much you can do with them.
With these simple items, you will be able to say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Happy holidays!