USPS and Entrepreneurship

Guest post by Older and Wiser.

Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.

Click below to see all of Older and Wiser’s Guest Posts.

This is how I see it!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m at a real disadvantage in this job. You see, I am that new breed of rural carrier. I worked many years in the non-governmental business world, was laid off, and the postal service became my second career. The differences between the two worlds frustrate me greatly at times. This blog will concentrate on one of those frustrations, that of the entrepreneurial spirit, or lack thereof.

I was waiting for the right time for this blog and the time is now. Presently, we rural carriers are fighting the battle of the parcels at Christmastime. As we throw the parcels into our LLVs in no logical order, I often think, “Why hasn’t anyone in a position to do something ever wondered if there is a way to make an LLV into a better package delivery vehicle? Are there better pieces of equipment to move large loads of parcels from case to LLV?  How do we create more room in post offices bursting at the seams with parcels?” The reason we have so many problems in the postal service is that it seems no one above carrier asks “Why.”

The word entrepreneur refers to an individual who starts a company, assuming the risks involved, using his creativeness and vision as a guide to the company’s future. In the private business world, an offshoot of that word has involved – entrepreneurship. The most commonly accepted description of entrepreneurship is a process of identifying, evaluating, seizing an opportunity and bringing together the resources necessary for success. Entrepreneurship is greater and more successful in companies that see change and transformation as a positive rather than a negative. Regrettably, this does not describe the USPS. A company that embraces entrepreneurship wants to be a better company tomorrow than it was yesterday. The only vision I see in the Postal Service is tunnel vision. It is like the headlights on a car. You can see clearly in the lights of the headlights, but anything ahead or to the sides of the headlights cannot be seen and is dismissed. This area of the unknown is where risks can lead to meaningful change.

An article in EzineArticles says individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit are experienced at harnessing the creative process to help them produce a unique product /service or advantage. For this reason those with an entrepreneurial spirit are often creative individuals who are ready, willing and able to actively adopt new techniques to get ahead … The problem is established businesses often fail to discover breakthroughs because they stick to a rigid investment formula that has worked for them in the past rather than finding new ways of moving forward. I ask, “Where is the USPS’s direction?”

Jason Chow on website EmpoweredEzine.com says”In my opinion, an entrepreneurial spirit is closer to a mindset than anything else. It is a mindset that goes against conventional thinking. Entrepreneurs posses unshakeable focus and vision. They see opportunity where others see dead ends. They don't get discouraged in the face of rejection... They are inspired and inspiring….we seem to be taught to think in terms of what is safe and popular, not to go against the grain.

The reasons for the lack of entrepreneurship in the Postal Service are evident. In private business the ability to show creativeness and vision help employees get promoted and higher pay raises. In the USPS staying alive until your next step pay raise comes up is not a great criterion to encourage an entrepreneurial culture. Individuals can find great personal satisfaction when their idea, their vision is embraced by their company. Somebody has to explain to upper management of the USPS that going out to a rural office and finding an “orphan” in a carrier’s case after they left is not creating change. Isn’t there one district out there that wants to break out of the ordinary and create the extraordinary?

If you follow my blogs, you will see that for every problem I discuss, I suggest a solution to remedy the situation. It comes naturally for me since this is the business environment I worked in. It was always encouraged and it really gave me a positive feeling of satisfaction to contribute to the future of the company I worked for.

What is my suggestion for the lack of entrepreneurship in the Postal Service? The districts should form teams of managers, carriers, clerks, etc. that want to take their vision, their creativeness, and their initiative and put it use in problem solving and for future planning. Their first challenge will be to change the culture of resting in the status quo. They need to make the USPS better tomorrow than to continue living in yesterday.

Guest post by Older and Wiser.

Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.

Click below to see all of Older and Wiser’s Guest Posts.
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It seems our organization has no one that gains from efficiency improvements. Yes from stem to stern the local post office "material handling" is an embarrassment. But the carriers sure aren't going to agitate for change that will cost themselves hours. Show me any other company that is using 30 year old vehicles, and 100 year old railroad baggage carts?

Yep!