Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Get Comfortable - Can a "Good" Supervisor Survive in a Hostile Postal Universe?

By Mel Carriere

This is not a plea to declare this "Hug your Supervisor" day, or anything silly like that.  I would never go that far; some of them don't seem to brush their teeth so I it would be wrong of me to advocate getting any closer than you have to.  But I think we have all had the admittedly uncommon experience of having a supervisor that is organized, actually responds to your requests for the things you need to serve your customers and deliver your route efficiently, and isn't cracking your skull with his or her clipboard every day to get you to go faster.  These people are rare, I know, but they are out there.  The problem is that they just don't stick around very long, but quickly become casualties of the cruel and oppressive system they willingly participate in.  Like a male lion taking over a new pride, Postal Management tends to devour all of the young that don't carry the same defective DNA.

At my station, we currently have a supervisor who seems to possess those admirable qualities that are like the kiss of death for anyone aspiring to move up the ladder in the Postal Service.  He prints out our change of address labels on a daily basis (before him we got them once a month or so), he posts the DOIS report by the time clock like he is supposed to, and he negotiates with, rather than horsewhips carriers when he is running the floor.  Unfortunately, since he is the junior guy, the unpromoted 204b, he usually only runs the floor on Saturdays.  I predict he won't be running anything at our station pretty soon.  We have a tight inner circle of inept (dare I say ditzy) supervisors who are absolutely terrified by the threat of competence and scurry to chase it out the door just as soon as it makes its presence known.  If they performed their jobs with the skill and industriousness with which they eliminate rivals our post office would be a model of efficiency.

A friend and coworker of mine always greets the newbie supervisors with the words "Don't get comfortable," because he knows they won't stick around long, especially if the carriers like them.  Supervisors like this usually get left "holding the bag," or becoming scapegoats for bad mistakes or serious, willful breaches of postal regulations that they had nothing to do with.  For instance, they might be left running the floor alone with piles of curtailed political mail that have aged like rancid beer, not fine wine, to first class status.  Even though this poor sucker may been ordered to continue curtailing this way overdue political mail on a day when the other supervisors all conveniently take the day off, he or she is the one caught with his or her proverbial postal pants down when a representative from the Operations Department shows up in the station to make sure all of that mail has been delivered.  Weird things like this tend to happen in our Post Office to those who aren't thick like thieves with the rest of the scheming, calculating, and figuratively gnarled and warty coven members cooking up evil curses around the Postal cauldron.

Throwing your coworkers under the bus seems to be a sure fire way to achieve promotion in the Postal Service.  Spending most of your time on the phone, thumping your chest with some higher up instead of doing your job is another effective way of moving up the ladder.  Violating the contract, hiding mail, and harassing underlings look pretty good on a postal resume too.  Going about your business quietly and efficiently, on the other hand; doing everybody else's work in addition to your own, gets you thrown out quicker than last week's moldy bread.

So on second thought, if you are one of the few postal employees who actually likes your supervisor, don't hug them after all, but pretend that you hate them.  Spread the word that they are tyrannical bullies that don't know what the hell they are doing.  This will help them blend in with the rest of the useless, drooling, sad sack drones that are only good at feathering their own nest, and maybe help them stick around for a while.

Dancing with the Devil - More by Mel on Postal Supervision on Hub Pages

 The Postal Tsunami gains its coastal destroying power with copious amounts of Starbuck's coffee,  which is not cheap.  Unless they completely annoy or offend you, please take a look at what my blog sponsors on this page have to say.  I have removed Amazon.

Image of my LLV among the palm trees by me


  1. Know exactly what you're talking about!! It took less than 30 days on three tours for packs of snarling, slavering hyenas (aka MDOs and SDOs) to run off a plant manager who had the strength to walk the workroom floor and actually speak to the employees in a pleasant tone... the horror! Decent guy, but he wouldn't have lasted very long! We were eventually able to pick off a few of the worst of the bunch with forced early retirements. Had to prove they were changing color codes, hiding mail and falsifying clock rings but we were unable to save the plant manager.

    1. Happens everywhere and everyday. Thanks for reading!

  2. hey Mel, tell us how you really feel :) there are two kinds of managers. those that say "we have a problem" and those who say "you have a problem".. no matter how toxic the environment is.
    the alpha supervisor MDO what ever they are a nightmare if they subscribe to the method you describe.
    i actually work for competent people. t hurts worse to go somewhere else and hear of such degradation.

    1. I don't know what kind of postal paradise you are working in but I envy you. As for the rest of us...Thanks for reading!