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Did You Get in the Game?
By Beverly Torain
Retired Postmaster, Apex, NC, and President of Raleigh Branch 177
I never really considered myself a writer, but more of a storyteller.
Being a member of the NAPS Postmaster Committee has afforded me the opportunity to try my hand at writing. This past February, I asked the question, “Are you in the game or simply on the bench?”
Fast forward 365 days. Besides, “Did you get in the game?” I’ve added, “If so, were you the ‘star’ player, a teammate or just a cheerleader on the sidelines?”
Last year came and went with its own set of challenges for just about every EAS employee. You all met the challenges of getting the job done and, in a lot of instances, by any means necessary. It started and continues with staffing shortages. How many of you are so short-staffed that you felt you had no option or were directed to do the work yourself? Hmm, wrong answer.
The USPS acknowledges this should not be done; there are resources and recourses to report such actions. Did you report any instances to Human Resources and Labor? Did you report it in RADAR? Did you put the workhours in the correct LDC to prevent an impact on your budget for next year or did you simply do it and move on to the next thing?
The star player did everything to empower the team. They reported their action, recorded their action and covered their action, protecting the team in all areas.
Next came the issue of insufficient equipment—not enough physical equipment, tubs, trays, post cons (APCs), cages, vehicles and more. You were able to sort and process the mail, but were unable to properly move the mail. Dispatches to the plants were criticized due to “lack of” proper equipment, not enough vehicles—the list goes on and on.
On the retail side, supplies were limited, as well. ReadyPost products sold out with no timely replenishment. Christmas stamps were nonexistent; customers were totally frustrated. But you weathered the storm as you always do and made it work.
Finally, the stress of the holiday season: long hours—supervisors, managers and even postmasters coming in at all hours of the day and night, late carriers returning, taking mail to the plant, arriving with the first clerk, poor eating habits, lack of sleep and no exercise. All this takes a toll—physically, as well as mentally. How well were you able to adapt to the demands of the season? Was it really the most wonderful time of the year?
The star player was somehow able to put and keep it all in perspective. The teammate assisted with most plays and the cheerleader watched and encouraged everyone from the sideline. Each person plays an integral part in the success of the entire team, despite their position. They are valuable, necessary and, most of all, they are appreciated.
Life is stressful enough, so choose to control and do the things over which you have control and let the rest take care of itself. As Debbie Allen told Whitley Gilbert on an episode of “A Different World:” Relax, relate and release.
Only you can determine which player you want to be. But whichever you choose, always do your absolute best. Know that we always are here for you; we all are in this together.
Let’s go, team!