Thursday, May 07, 2009

Normal Working Hours?

I almost forgot what it was like to work Monday through Friday, morning to evening, but through a chain of events, I will rediscover the feeling. Due to the U.S. Postal Service eliminating the time shift that allowed us mail extractors to receive mail on 2nd shift, we were informed in a meeting a few weeks ago that our 2nd shift would also be getting terminated. We were handed sheets with new potential schedules and told to put our names on the sheet and rank our most and least desired new shifts. There were only two choices for full-time workers, which is what I am, and they were 7A-3:30P and 9A-5:30P. I chose the 9A-5:30P slot because I couldn't imagine waking up at 5A to get to work by 7A every day. But either way, I was excited to be leaving 2nd shift and going back to 1st, freeing up my evenings again. I had become accustomed to my life as an evening worker, but it was stifling the slightest bit of social interaction I may have had a chance to experience, and it was also not making my fiancee happy that she couldn't have a decent conversation with me after work because she and I were tired at that time of night.

I worried about not getting the 9A shift and having to work at 7A, but I would adjust if need be. Hell, I knew I'd be okay with the earlier shift the first night I would be able to be home at 6P for the start of the night's baseball games, which I'm never home to see except on my off days, Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, a couple of things happened a week ago that altered my plans. First, we were informed in another meeting that J.P. Morgan Chase had worked out some kind of agreement with the USPS to have a skeleton crew work that shift, making it possible for us to retain several people for our 2nd shift. Chase still wanted some people to move to mornings, but it was no longer necessary for everyone to have to find a new shift. They handed out new sheets for us to ponder what schedule we preferred, and now I had to make the decision: Did I really want to go back to mornings, or was I comfortable enough working evenings to stay? I chose to ask for the 9A shift again. It was just too tempting to not have to worry about getting home at night because certain bus lines had stopped running, and finding places to go on my 7P lunch break since some restaurants around my job closed by 5 or 6P, and like I said, it would make my fiancee very happy to have me available in the evenings. At the same time, I had been placed in a program where I was processing all of the courier packs of mail that were dropped on the floor, which is a lot of work because sometimes those FedEx and DHL and UPS envelopes are just stuffed with checks. But hey, processing checks is processing checks, and I have to be at work 8 hours every day regardless. I was never given a straight answer why I was chosen for this project, but I've been doing it for almost a month now, and I'm getting used to it. Little did I know how important doing this project would turn out to be.

Last Friday, I was informed by my current supervisor that I received the shift that I asked for, which is 9A-5:30P. I was excited. More chances to hang out with friends, more baseball and football games that I could actually watch, more conversation with my fiancee. Now, I assumed that I would keep the same weird days that I work, Thursdays through Mondays with Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, because I've been constantly told in the three years that I've worked there that we get most of our mail on weekends and Mondays, and that's when they need the most people. And it's true; I've worked a couple of Tuesdays in the past month in order to free up a weekend day to have off instead of burning a vacation day, and the work has been so light, I've seen people arriving for work on 3rd shift at 10P be turned around and immediately sent home. However, when my supervisor told me that I would be placed in the same courier-pack program when I move to mornings, I wondered how it would work out. We get almost no courier packs on the weekends. Would I be sent back to my regular workgroup on Saturdays and Sundays, as I am now? Wouldn't it make sense for morning courier-pack people to work Monday through Friday, since we don't hardly have any courier packs on weekends? I wondered this to my fiancee, but I never spoke to anyone at work about it. Then, this past Monday, my supervisor gave me my new schedule in writing, and there it was: Courier Pack Group, 9A-5:30P, Monday through Friday! OMG!! She explained that on 1st shift, everyone in the courier-pack group works weekdays only. For the first time in 3 stinking years, my weekends are free again!

I have to wait until June 1 to start this new stage of my Chase career, but I cannot wait. All I've been thinking about the last several days is, Saturdays and Sundays off to do as I please...talking on the phone with my fiancee...stepping out and going to weekend activities with her when she's in town...watching baseball...watching FOOTBALL, which I haven't done much of the last 3 years...attending family functions and events without using up vacation days...perhaps once again joining a bowling league with my uncle, who only bowls on Sundays...spending a weekend at friends' houses, or maybe even hosting a poker weekend at my crib...getting home every day when the sun's still out...I'm not going to know what to do with myself. I suffered through 3 years of that shitty schedule, and now it's paid off, because I have to believe that I wouldn't have been chosen for the courier-pack group unless I had the experience at this job to not panic at the large volume of work and the daily deadlines that come with courier packs. Of course, seemingly everyone else at my job is unhappy with their new shifts, but we've been told that preferences for certain shifts were assigned based on productivity and quality of work, and since I don't make errors and do a decent amount of work every month, well, I guess that made me the pick of the litter. I'm a little sad for some friends who didn't get the shifts that they wanted, but I'm certainly thrilled about how things worked out for me. Sometimes, patience does pay off.

No comments: