Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Rant--a glimpse behind the scenes at the post office

I've worked at the same post office for over 31 years and I have seen major changes--from no route, to route, changes in office hours and number of employees. Classes of mail have been added and new procedures occur regularly.

Although the mail volume is more than when I first started, it certainly is a lot less than a few years ago. The man hours they give us to get the work done has dwindled to as low as possible. What doesn't get taken into consideration is that though the mail volume is lower, the paperwork increases and increases. We all know this is so our big brother can keep an eye on us.

Let me just give you an itsy bitsy example of what we have to deal with. We have to empty the collection box daily. I've done it for 31 years perfectly. Simple enough task? Well, no. Let me compare new days to old days.

When you take the key with you, you are to take a scanner and a big card. The card gets put in there to show the next person who opens it that you did indeed open it.
(The next person is most times--me!). You take out the card that's in there. Then you scan a barcode inside the collection box to prove to big brother that you emptied it.

The fun doesn't stop there. After you sift through the collection box taking out certain things that have to be sent separately (another rant which I better not go into), you grab a placard, mark it with the office name and date and tape that placard to the tub and put the tub with the other outgoing mail. Put the collection box key in the safe.

Done? No way. Then you take the scanner and download it so big brother can know. Done? Heck no. You wait until the scanner says it has downloaded the info.
Done? Surely you jest? Then you go to your computer and get on the appropriate program and wait for the scanner info to be transferred to the computer. When you see that it has transferred to the computer, done? Of course not. Then you print up the confirmation that it took. You sign that piece of paper. Done? What are you kidding? No! Then you go to this check list of 20+ items that we have to verify every day that we do, and you write down the time that is printed on the copy that you printed up. Now you can file that away. Done.

In the old days, you took the key to the collection box, emptied it and put the tub with the outgoing mail and key in safe. What was so wrong with that? And one senator lately expressed his opinion that the post office does not have enough government regulation--are you kidding me? Just what I need more paperwork!

I would like to point out that there is no cheating on this procedure. Should you not verify that the info transferred to the computer and for some reason it doesn't transmit, you will get a call at home that you have to go back and re-scan it. Same thing if you scan one minute early. You have to go back and scan it and if there is any mail in there, drive it to the plant. If your computer is down and you can't verify, then you complete another form and fax it in.

I remind you this is a tiny part of what is expected of us every day. If only the job were just sorting mail and waiting on customers... I wouldn't even mind the paperwork, if it were reasonable. Actually I can handle paperwork. The problem with most of our paperwork is that we have to do it while waiting on customers so you are constantly losing concentration. It takes twice as long, at least. The other paperwork at the end of the day, is done in the 30 minute period when you are finishing the mail for dispatch, preparing the bank deposit, changing dates on stampers, locking drawers, doors and safes and of course, simply emptying the collection box...yeah right.

Well, I hope big brother or even his little brother is not monitoring my blog, but I've only said 100% truth. That's my rant for today. I hoped I would feel better having said all this, not really.

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