Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Emerald Specter 5: Playing the Game


I think I’m safe talking about work in the open in this post, especially considering I’m going to be talking about how to improve one’s situation instead of commenting on coworkers or specific situations. I can’t be told that helping others improve isn’t good form, right?

When I got promoted to supervisor at work, I wanted to prove that everyone who hadn’t given me a shot should have realized I deserved a shot. Now that I’ve gotten my shot, I’m seeing my utter lack of qualifications that I had before stepping into a comprehensive training program. The answer I usually got before this training was “we do it because that’s what we do.” Now my answers actually answer questions rather than just doing things for the sake of doing them.

I got the chance to move from one district to another. The post office is divided up into several districts and I didn’t realize it at the time I was trying to move that I was going from the bottom four to the number one district. Not “top four,” number freaking one. Knowing what I know about where I came to, I get the unique opportunity to do things right and at the highest level, trained by the best, and interested in remaining number one. How many people get a shot like that?

There are a plethora of reports I run every morning when I open a station. I’d guess about 60, just to assign a number. Of those 60 reports, I bet I actually understood five of them when I got here. Yes, that’s a horribly low percentage. When I asked about what they were, I was given little to no information about them. Whether through lack of time to explain or lack of knowledge on their part, I didn’t get any smarter. I should also state that I’m a “closer,” and opening isn’t something I get to do often. The closing reports were just as bad, though I understood a few more of them. I was waiting to attend the “new supervisor’s training” class and now I’m on the fourth week of 16. Only the first four weeks are in a class room, the rest are “in the field.” I can state, unequivocally, I am three times the supervisor now than I was when I started.

I was like the others in class, too. The mentality is to “find a nice station and pick good stations to build my resume.” As I just learned two hours ago, that’s exactly how NOT to build a resume.

There are 19 stations in Portland’s “city” operation. That means the Portland Postmaster is responsible for the smooth running of 19 separate locations. That is not an easy task. She has two “sub-postmasters,” 19 station managers, and over 30 supervisors to run each of the stations. That’s a lot of coordinating to do. I am one of those 30.

Today, officially, I decided I was going to tackle the biggest challenges I could in order to make a name for myself. That turned out to be the perfect timing because after a conversation with one of the big wigs, I’ll probably get to take on the position I least wanted when I first got here but can now make the most impact doing. I’m going to go to exactly the place that’s the “worst in the city” and improve that station. I’m going to make people take notice.

The ones whose attention I want are the ones that are going to “give me the opportunity.” I flat out asked to be put there and I haven’t been granted my request but I’m hopeful for the opportunity. I’m going to make positive changes and prove that I should be doing something “farther up the food chain.”

A colleague today said that our “best carriers are the ones who will make our best [ future supervisors ].” That is true and that also applies to our best supervisors. The ones with “gusto” need to back that up with solid performance or they’re just blowing hot air.

I’ve started padding my background with things that will help me advance. As of today I’m qualified to interview potential candidates for employment (whether I’ll get to is another option) and I’ve already broadened my options there by taking the course that allows me to help select people for other management positions. I’d have to be formally asked for that, but at least the qualification is already there.

In fact, I’ve had some spare time in my classes and I’ve used that to broaden my education. There is an internal learning system geared towards postal specific topics and I’ve already taken far more than I’ve been expected to take. We will see how far that takes me, as someone looks at what I’ve learned and says “hey, maybe we should look at him.”

Time will tell.

The Emerald Specter 4: Deep Thoughts

Welcome back to the Emerald Specter column.

I’m going to address a few things today and they’re going to be all over the map. Bear with me. 

First and foremost, I’ve said this recently and I’ve decided to say it again here on my site: you will rise to the station in life as high as you wear your pants.  What that means is for those of you who are idiots that need your ass hanging out of your pants to, and I use this in quotes to present it as sarcasm, “look cool,” you will remain bottom feeders of society. Can’t understand why “fry cook at McDonald’s-like fast food chain” is the only job you can get? Pull up your pants. 
Next I feel compelled to comment on Wonder Woman’s new “costume” (i.e. her armor) in the comics. As I predict will happen anytime a costume is redesigned, the “Whiner Brigade” comes out in force. “Wonder Woman’s costume is iconic.” No, it’s a fucking swimsuit. Just because you meat headed men want to ogle half naked superheroes doesn’t mean you can claim something is iconic. If comics are to grow beyond a male dominated readership we need to start moving towards practicality in outfits. Don’t hinder progress because you don’t like change. Change is the only constant in this world and if you can’t adapt, you go extinct. This endeth the sermon. 

I’ve started a little writing experiment and since I’m 30 days into this experiment, I’ve decided to go ahead and explain what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I plan to develop this into something worth my time. On May 14, 2015 I started writing what I’m calling a “synopsis” (or blurb) each day about an ongoing idea I’ve always wanted to expand into something. Basically, I’m detailing a series one episode at a time. I write a synopsis everyday and everyday I make sure to give at least a few sentences about what happens “in the episode.” I’m 36 days into my series and I’ve already come up with a few gems worth writing about. The basic premise of this experiment was to weed out the clunkers of ideas. I do have some of those, too. 

The series I’m expanding upon isn’t important at the moment but the fact that I’m about to start a second series in this same manner means I’ll be ready to start writing something that doesn’t suck sooner rather than later. What is ultimately like to do is release this stuff for my website in installments for some content worth reading. I don’t know that I’ll be releasing my first “series experiment” for public consumption but I’m happy that I’ve developed something I’ve had churning around in my head for at least a decade. 

Here’s the basic plan for release: I’m going to write twelve installments of a story (or season, with a beginning, a middle, and an end… as if this were a TV series season) and release them weekly. I’ll either have a second story (for a new story) ready to start releasing after a one week break or a second story from the original series to be released in the same manner. Once I’m a year out from the text I’d like to produce audio versions of the stories and release them weekly as a podcast. If the “season” is up to my lofty standards, I’ll produce a novel and release the whole story in a combined (and paper) format. 

How does that sound?

There has also been a desire to have a nearly daily podcast, too. I’d need to have all kinds of topics in the chute for consumption but maybe that is a future option… I’ve podcasted in the past and if editing is involved I know how much time that will take to get things ready. Doing weekly would be a good start but I’d eventually like to ramp that up. Ideally, I’d like to be “on the radio,” which is really where this concept came up. If I can podcast five days a week, I’d have enough going on to where I’d be happy. 

Speaking of radio work, there was a broadcast company in North Dakota that had a slot open for broadcasting. I offered, I applied, and they never got back to me but I’d have been able to do an hour of that on top of working a full time job. Maybe I should start looking where I live now, too?

I’ve droned on long enough. Have yourself a wonderful day!

The Emerald Specter 3: Rise Up

The past couple of weeks have been a little rough for me and I’m ready to climb back on the horse and start getting stuff done. Yes, I used “and” twice in that sentence and I don’t care. What I do care about is laying out a path and getting ready to do some serious damage to lots of stuff.

I’ve been in training for two weeks, and will be for two more, which means my hours are all jacked up. Some days I had to be in at 7:30, most of the time at 8:00. This coming two weeks I have to be in at 6:00 (these are all “AM” times, people). I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be awake or on my way to bed… I’m so confused.

There has been a lot of weight that has come back on since I got my transfer to Portland. Not since I moved, necessarily, I was already gaining weight while I was still in the process of the move. Last year I managed to lose a total of 91 pounds to ALMOST reach my goal of an even 200 (I needed to lose more than 9 pounds, something like 30, but I was close). The weight loss stopped and I have been gaining ever since. I’m now back up over 300 again and I’m teetering dangerously close to heading into the 310 range. I don’t like that idea and I want to start losing weight again.

Last year was a big one for me because I lost a lot of weight and then I started weight training, meaning the weight number didn’t mean so much to me anymore. That was a mistake on my part, I now understand, as I stopped eating like I should and started eating like a bodybuilder who still needed to lose a lot of weight. I’m now back up in the heavy area and would like to get back under 300 again.

That is no longer just a number… it’s my nemesis.

Something I did wrong in my weight training was the stopping of cardio. I did almost no cardio, none that I feel qualifies as cardio, anyway. I didn’t run, didn’t bike, didn’t stair climb, didn’t do jack diddley. Walking was how I managed to lose most of the weight before but walking takes up a long period of time and I don’t think my heart rate gets high enough to qualify as cardio in my book. I need actual cardio, something where the heart rate gets up for at least 20 minutes and I need to do that cardio for at least 30 minutes. My ass needs to lose some weight.

Along with this new push towards cardio will be a break from the weight lifting. I haven’t done that steadily since I got to Portland and with me being as heavy as I am, I’m having a hard time wanting to do anything. I need to lose some weight, the number is too high and I’m not able to fit into a lot of my clothes anymore (because when I lost all the weight I downsized my closet). I’m tired to putting on a shirt and having a hard time covering my gut. This sucks ass.

All this week, and I mean ALL this week, I’m going to do some form of cardio. Jumping jacks, running in place, mountain climbers, or simply hopping back and forth… any damn thing to get the blood flowing and allowing my metabolism to fight the shit I’ve been shoveling in my face hole. That’s the other thing that is changing this week: my diet is going to be stricter. I am going to eat LESS food, BETTER food, and I’m going to get back to watching the calories. At least when I was calorie counting I had a rough estimate of how much I could still eat at the end of the day… that reminds me, I need to be drinking a ton more water, too. Not flavored, sparkling, whatever… water… plain ass water.

Well, not ass water, that’s for California. (ZING!)

It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to get healthy again. For the love of all that is holy, I’m in one of the healthiest places on Earth and I can’t eat healthier? Suck it up, fatty.

Think on it.