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January 15, 2024
Make a Name for Yourself
By Brian J. Wagner
Past NAPS President
I started my Postal Service career on Dec. 26, 1978, as a letter carrier. At the time, seasoned letter carriers loved to give newbies such as me a nickname. Here’s the
Being only 5 feet 3-1/8 inches tall, it didn’t take long for a 6-foot-5-inches-tall seasoned carrier named John Boy to christen me with a postal office nickname on my first day of work. While standing together at the “case,” me learning the concept of casing mail, John Boy literally looked down at me and commented, “You aren’t too tall, are you?” Well, throughout the rest of my postal career, I was known as “Too Tall” at the West Glen Station of the Peoria, IL, Post Office.
I must admit I take after my mom. She was 4 feet 10 inches tall, 5 feet 2 inches with her hair fixed. In the NAPS organization, some members have unofficially nicknamed me the “Ice Cream Man.” I consider both my postal and NAPS nicknames as terms of endearment, which I accept openly as a badge of honor.
However, throughout my youth, school years and times during my adult life, I learned and even experienced that some individuals will call, label and even judge a person with negative overtones. It appears such people must always knock others down with negative comments, mocking, abusive language, disparaging treatment and off-putting labels in order to build themselves up. It’s sad, but true.
What also is true is that it takes a bigger person—not in physical size or strength, but a person with self-confidence, mental strength and capacity—not to let others emotionally highjack them with undesirable comments, labels or bullying techniques. Unfortunately, though, you can’t control the negative actions of others.
However, what you can control is how you react to such negative labels, remarks and disparaging treatment. You control your attitude, work ethic, speech, treatment and actions toward others.
How you think, what you believe, who you love and how you define yourself is what really matters. You know you. You know what you stand for and what you stand against. The only label that truly matters is the one you give yourself.
Never let anyone stand in the way of your success to be your true self. Robert Frost once said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.”
I never considered the nicknames “Too Tall” or “Ice Cream Man” as negative. However, it’s not about being “Too Tall.” It’s all about standing tall and being proud of who you are, what you believe and the principles you hold.
You are you, so be you! Be your own brand. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Today’s takeaway: It’s not a resolution, just a suggestion; the timing couldn’t be better as we start the New Year. If you want to make a name for yourself, just be your best self. Best wishes to my NAPS family and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024.
Now it’s time to make a name for my ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: toffee chocolate chip. Stay safe and eat more ice cream.
Categories: The Postal Supervisor
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