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.