Monday, October 27, 2008

Postal Career Success Story

Yesterday I was talking about only 25% birds survived to be adult birds and only about 50% of new hires at the postal service kept their jobs for any length of time. Statistics show that after they realize the deadline pressure and the never ending mandatory overtime they just quit or get fired.

Carolyn of Ginger Quill made a comment saying that she knew that I retired from the Postal Service so I belonged to the 50% that made it…. Or something like that.

NOT!!! I was fired the second week. Really!

I was hired as a carrier. I had to take a postal vehicle driving training and I was assigned at a station on Peachtree Road, near Chamblee. I worked the rest of the first week there with a carrier, he showed me how to sort mail in his case and on the route he showed me some celebrities’ houses, or near celebrity that was on his route, such as Bo Calloway’s brother.

Bo Calloway was an heir of Calloway Mills in LaGrange, Georgia, and just a year or two before he was the first Republican to run for governor since reconstruction. He lost to Lester Maddox. I voted for Bo. Lester was a joke.

The second week I reported to a Postal Vehicle maintenance building near the Atlanta Stadium for driver training.

A guy named Hoot was my instructor. He was to drive a regular Postal jeep around southeast Atlanta and I was to follow him in a little Postal Mailster – just slightly bigger than a motor scooter. Hoot forgot he could go faster than me and go off and leave me while I had to stop for a red-light or something. Sometimes he would pull over and wait for me. One time he didn’t. I was going slowly looking down each street looking for him when I passed a street going downhill I saw his mail jeep waiting on me.

Without thinking and without out turning on my blinker I quickly turned. When I did a car coming from the other direction and I scraped sides.

Hoot called the office and they sent an inspector out. Hoot completely changed the story. He made it look like I couldn’t keep my mind on keeping up with him…. Not that he sped away from me each time he got a chance.

The next day I reported to the station I had been working at – I think it was called North Atlanta Station, or 30319. Sometime in the morning Andrew Jackson called to have me report to his office.

I drove downtown to the Main Post Office on Forsyth Street and reported to Andrew Jackson’s office. Andrew Jackson was a courtly polite elderly black man. He was a good speaker but poor on getting the facts right and putting my version on paper.

After he finished with me he told me to report to the Federal Annex to Mr. Jack Wheeler’s office. Jack Wheeler was the head of the Atlanta Carriers.

I was shown into his office and the old fart looked up at me and said the postal service could not afford me, my job was finished. Leave and a check would be mailed to me for the days I was there. He was rude and I was dumbfounded.

I turned around and was walking out when he called me back and said if I wanted to still work for the Post Office go to see Mr. Waldrop next door – he might hire me as a clerk. Which I did, and Willy Waldrop did hire me as a clerk.

The rest is history.

And here are some fragments of that history:

About 12 or 13 years after I was fired and rehired I was a data technician at the Postal Data Center in Atlanta. The Postal Service had a manager trainee’s program could come in the Postal Service and go through their manager trainee’s program and, well, be a high ranking “yes man” (or woman). I think you had to have a degree to qualify and I think the program tended to ignore the people with degrees already on the workforce of the front lines.

Part of the training was that they had spend several weeks or months in each work area so they would know how the mailed flowed and how things were figured – that is where the Date Collection Site comes in. In our office for a while we usually had a manager trainee with us taking notes – or not taking notes if he knew he had it made anyway.

One of the people not taking notes was Hoot Jr. The son of the man that I feel caused me to get fired that time. I also learned he did not have a degree. It was just old fashion nepotism – which the Postal Service was good at. For a while Hoot Jr. and I got along fine, then I couldn’t keep my feelings to myself and I told him I took a dim view of people who knew or was related to somebody and got special privileges. We didn’t get alone after that and he avoided me, which was fine with me.

Another trainee at the same time was a young man from Marietta I will call Dave C. We went out drinking together and he became a good friend. Remember his name, he will show up later.

Years later I would up at my last work place, Sprayberry Branch Post Office in Marietta. One of my co-workers at Sprayberry was Brenda D. Brenda was a very warm lady with a big heart… and extremely witty. I enjoyed her company as we worked. One day she told me her maiden name was Wheeler. Wheeler? That name rang a bell. I told her that a Jack Wheeler, head of the carriers in the Atlanta Post Office fired me. She said that was her uncle. Her father’s brother was Jack Wheeler and he was over the carriers in Atlanta… but he was just too nice of a guy to fire anybody.

“Yes he did!” I said.

“No, he couldn’t have!” she retorted, “He was too sweet!”

Sweet, my ass.

I forgot what happened to Brenda. I forgot if she transferred or resigned. She was always threatening to do either one.

I transferred to Sprayberry Post Office about 1984 on the day they opened and spent the next 16 years there. One of the station managers who came back more than once was my old drinking buddy Dave C., but now he was white headed.

If I remember correctly Dave C. told me Hoot Jr. lost his job years ago. Poetic justice? Nah!

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Blogger kenju said...

I think mr. kenju knows of similar stories from every company he ever worked for. It happens all too often.

12:25 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Yep - imagine how more efficient things could be if people got their jobs according to their ability and not who they know or related to.

4:49 PM  

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