First 3 Days
Your first 3 days as a Postal Employee will be interesting. Hang in there.
You are so excited and you should be! Look how far you have come! This is where the grind begins.
Day 1 and Casing
Walking through those back doors should feel like an honor. Wear that feeling with pride. You have made it and are now ready to begin real hands on training!
You should be training 3 days with your regular. This means that you are working with them. You are not going to run this route blind! (It's not an insult! Blind means you have never run and have not been trained for the route.)
My very first day my regular made it clear that this was HER route! I totally respected that. You should also. It's like giving the boss a day off. Respect that.
Your going to jump in with both feet today. Be willing to help but try to not be in the way. Your job today is to get familiar and observe or assist with what the regular is doing. Every regular will train and case their business a certain way down to hand movements! It really is art in motion! It's your job to learn how they do it and carry it that way at first. Don't worry! Your time will come when you can create your own magic technique.
Let’s be clear. You don’t know the case and you won’t know it for a long time. Don't get discouraged. Hang in there! Your not expected to be an expert today or next month. So take your time, relax and learn. Each time you case you will get better and better. I promise!!
Your regular may let you case a little bit of mail on the first day! Yay!
Casing the Mail:
Looking back, its really painful to watch someone learning a new case. It is truly like a baby learning to walk. You will stumble and fall and feel pretty stupid but don't worry as we have all been there and eventually you will case with flying colors!
Casing the mail is when you put the flats (magazines, newspapers, other large flat items) into a ordered fashion by row and address. The addresses will be marked (Hopefully). Sometimes a regular is so familiar with the case that the integrity of labels are questionable. (Hard to read)
After flats come letters.
Then parcels markers.
Then you can add spurs (small mailing packages) if there is enough room.
Your main goal today is watch your regular and do what they ask.
Good questions to ask is "What is a good half way point" Make a note of it. It will help you gauge your time later. Are there repeating address numbers? Are there any weekend restrictions like No mail delivered on Saturday.
A good thing to watch for is where the hot case is, where the DPS trays are, where your parcels buggy is and where your scanner is.
Also note how to do the accountable. They are just what they sound like. Accountables are things trusted in your care and you are responsible for them. This will include key, certifies, registered mail, express etc.
Pull down the case
Pulling down the case means you take all of that hard work you did and either bundle it or put it in a tray or tub. Depending on your style. It’s a slow process at first and often feels like it takes forever! This is a crucial part of your job. This is a good time to check the address for errors and fix them now! Don't worry, you will find your stride.
Note how to pull down the case. Your regular will tell you where to start and any special instruction that goes along with it.
Typically you start at the very last box on the last row of the case and make a stack putting the next box on top of the last box. You can either pull down into a hard tray (very heavy) or use bundle straps (less heavy but prone to complication until your familiar with it). Do what works for you!
After pulling down your case you load up the buggy and boogie!
Don’t forget to sign out! This is important because if you were to be in an accident the post office needs to know if you were on duty at that time and it verifies your route time. It's most importantly the way you are paid so sign it!
You can use a variety of apps that track your route for the first time. That way you can refer back to it when your on your own or you can just take notes. Your main concern is to look for landmarks, left or right turns, hardships, authorized turn around points, etc. *Check with your local office policy on cellphones.
Now get outta there and go enjoy the route.
Notes to take while ridding along with your trainer:
The main things you want to note before, during and after the route are;
How do I get to my first box? Which way do I turn after this particular road? Are there any hardships I should be aware of? What path do I take to return to base?
You wont need it forever just for now. It's nice and handy to look back on these instructional notes when you are by yourself even for the most astute of boy/girl scouts. You may also want to share your notes with someone else later if they have never run the route.
Day 2 and carrying first half
Hopefully you had a blast yesterday! Now if your lucky you can help case more today and maybe carry the first part of the route!
On the Road
Take it slow and easy. It will take you a long time today and that's Ok! That's why you get half of the route. It might take you all day but take your time. Be safe! Don't forget your safety training. Make and learn your mistakes today. Remember to follow the mail. Trust your parcel markers. Try to enjoy this moment. You will likely remember it for a long time. (The two bold statements above will be the best advice you ever receive.)
This is an adjustment! Your driving right hand side. Your loaded up with trays and parcels. Little nervous and excited and overwhelmed! This is a good day. This is the day you really needed to experience months ago. Questions will be answered today. Is your vehicle set up to suit you best? Are things going to shift around? Could I change anything to make it better? Where am I going to put my scanner, note book, route forms and whatever else! This is why you get a short day today.
Don't worry about your pay. For the first 10 weeks your expected to be slower than gravy! That's why your pay is different. It's not smart to TRY and be slow. After all this is a business. Use this time to figure your shit out and become efficient.
Accuracy then speed! It sounds ridiculous but it is totally true! Take your time when your on the road. Before you leave your parking spot refer back to your notes and double check your line of travel to the first box. Check your flats and DPS and see if either match the first box. It might start at the next box or two. Watch out for that. Always check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings at ALL times!
You asked yesterday what the halfway point was. Try to pace yourself to reach that mark today. You most likely wont make it but its fun to try and as you run the route more and more you will see those times get much better! But today your going to suck and make some mistakes. If you feel yourself closing up and making a lot of mistakes, slow down, take a breath. Notice I didn't say just stop and pull over. Hell no. Not unless it's an emergency. Just slow down because time is money.
Make your mistakes today. Made a wrong turn? Make a note, or correct a note. You had better remember that mistake and don't make the same mistake again! Today your learning. Is 3864 Cabbage St. the house across the street or the one behind it that looks like a garage or on the other side of the street? Today your learning!
Follow the mail and trust your markers.
Wow! It's such an easy statement and really the only statement you need to know to be successful.
Follow the mail. Take the time to notice the 3s at every stop.
Is this the right house number. Am I still on this road. Do the names match the box or other mail.
If the road name suddenly changes on your flats or DPS check the next one behind it. It could have been an out of sequenced bit or cased incorrectly. These boogers will mess you UP all day until your familiar enough to recognize them with ease.
I can't tell you how many times I have had a parcel marker but can't find the parcel. Guess what! Found It! Trust yourself enough to know, if you have a marker you WILL have a parcel. Were human and room for error but it should rarely happen when it comes to markers.
How exciting! You made your second day a success! Your a champ! Make sure you make your regular a list of questions for the next day if you have any. Go home and pat yourself on the back.
The 3rd Day as an RCA
It's like a good ol' rinse and repeat. Follow day one and two. Except there is a little more pressure because you must be back by dispatch. You can do it! If you think there is no way your going to make it through the day, call for help early. Our managers are very busy and need to know early so they can send help. Don't let it get you down! You will get it next time!
Follow the mail. Trust your markers. Be safe. Be efficient.