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The Glass Is Half-Full
By Aric Skjelstad
NAPS Branch 66 President, Portland, OR
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
Many in the Postal Service see a lot of negativity. We look at our fellow employees and make judgments. We get our new work schedule and make a judgment. We listen to our bosses and make a judgment. New work polices or practices, scanning reports, OT reports and more all are discussed as negatives.
In order to keep ourselves sane, we need to look and think positively. It’s very easy to see negativity, but positives happen. They are around us every day. We just need to keep our eyes open and look for them. Don’t get dragged down into the mud, always looking for negativity.
In this time of COVID-19, we hear a lot of negativity. That said, what positives come to mind? My wife is a registered nurse and has fewer patients to care for than during pre-COVID. This actually reduces her stress. Being required to stay home and reducing trips have prevented many people from becoming ill or having injuries that require medical attention.
Auto insurance companies have rebated money or reduced premiums to policyholders, as there have been far fewer vehicle accidents. For those of you who drive gasoline-powered vehicles, your transportation costs have been reduced. (I hope you put some of that money to good use). You may have tackled some projects you’ve been postponing for years. There are many positives around us, even in this time of COVID.
How does this look for the USPS and NAPS? I see positives, even though COVID has affected all of us. Parcel volumes are up. A positive? Yes, it is. We need that revenue to keep our organization viable. Sick leave usage—non-COVID-related—has been reduced by wearing masks, increased hand-washing and changing work practices.
Employees are more understanding of the role of EAS employees when others are gone on 14-day quarantines. The public’s recognition of the role postal employees play in their lives has improved. We are essential! Many craft employees have stepped up to help.
As for NAPS, I am grateful COVID has pushed us to explore and use technology for more online meetings—not telecons at work. The restrictions at restaurants and meeting locations have forced many branches to have Zoom-type meetings. Although I miss the face-to-face time with many of my members, I understand the need to still have meetings. Our branch has missed only one meeting in the past 15 months.
There are a couple positives that can come from these Zoom meetings. Members who live or work away from the meeting location can easily join in a meeting from home or a location of their choice. This enables more members to attend, helping build our organization by having more involvement.
The online meetings have allowed NAPS Executive Board members to attend many of our local branch meetings. Just as our local members who now can attend, our NAPS president, executive vice president and secretary/treasurer all have attended a meeting or two of our branch. Having these NAPS executives available to interact with local members and provide insight is so valuable. This benefit would have been highly unlikely if COVID had not forced us to change our ways.
Even though meeting locations are opening up, our branch will continue to have hybrid meetings for the future. This increases member participation for those who can’t make a sit-down meeting. There are many negatives around us for sure; I don’t want to minimize the pain through which many have gone.
I encourage you to look for the positives in these situations. And I hope your local branch can “ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive,” just as our branch has.
Look for the positives! They are all around you.