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Renew, Refresh and Enjoy!
By Joe Bodary
Michigan State Branch 925 Corresponding Secretary and Retired Postmaster of Lincoln Park
Spring is time to refresh and renew. Flowers bloom, trees grow leaves, the days get warmer, gardens are planted—ah yes, spring!
It’s been a rough winter, a rough year actually. But winter always takes its toll, even if we don’t have a pandemic with which to deal. The days are shorter and we don’t seem to get enough done at work and home. Now that the days are longer, with more sunlight, you can start planning on renewing, refreshing and cleaning! Let’s start with home:
Make a commitment to come home from work on time. This in and of itself will refresh you. It’s hard to do for a lot of postmasters as you are responsible for everything that happens at your office. With careful coaching and developing skills, you should have people trained to do the work that needs to be completed before you get to work and after you leave. So, let them do their jobs!
Plan a project at home. It could be cleaning, painting or remodeling. Also, fishing, walking, running, or maybe a relaxing walk in a park. Then there’s drawing, painting, crafts and outdoor activities with your family, spouse, partners, children, grandchildren or pets. With the weather getting better, you should be spending more time outside. The fresh air will help refresh you. It also gives you incentive to get home on time.
As for work, spring cleaning is good for your office and/or workspace. Clean up your desk and file those papers. Just looking at a clean workspace can give you a feeling of renewal. You might be surprised at how many of those papers on your desk can be thrown away.
Let your employees know you will be leaving work on time and you expect them to do their jobs to make decisions, complete assignments and perform closing duties. This may be a little rough at first, but, remember, you coach and develop them. The biggest issue I hear about is POOMs expect too much and postmasters are responsible; POOMs expect postmasters to be there all day and more.
All that leads to stress, which leads to a chain reaction of unfortunate events that negatively impact you and the Postal Service. You, of course, will be held accountable for that, too, even though it originated with your POOM.
Remember, your POOM is supposed to train and develop you. So if they are not happy with you leaving work on time and having a life outside the post office, then they should be able to coach and develop you to achieve this. My employees all had my phone number and were instructed that if they needed to call me, it had to be a very serious issue!
We all have daily impacts on our operations that require decisions to be made—often, very quickly. You should have some guidelines your POOM expects, such as don’t delay the mail, don’t hold a truck, etc. If you know there will be an issue after you leave, let your POOM know. And let them know what you have set up to resolve the issue and who the contact person is after you leave.
Keep in mind, we are working to make a living, raise a family, enjoy life and make it financially a little better. So, if you never are home, you are defeating the purpose of working at all! Let’s refresh, renew and enjoy the fruits of our labors.