Tuesday, August 24, 2010

OK - to continue the saga of the last 3 months.

My job hunting has been more 'successful' here than in Calgary. I applied for a part time job working at A&W - was hired to work Saturday and Sunday and some evenings. Unfortunately the woman who hired me then quit - and the new management were not happy that she hired me at $13.50 an hour - according to them my wage should have been around $11.00 an hour - because I would only be working on weekends and the occasional evening. I did all the training - it is done online - took what seemed forever. Every time I would complete a module I would be told to do more. I ended up doing all 18 of them - when I only really needed to do six of them. Oh well - interesting.

I then applied - on a whim - for a letter carrier position with Canada Post. Actually my niece Annie told me about the position - she had applied for it - so I thought what the heck - and I got called. Had to go in for a GAT (General Aptitude Test) - now I remember them from when I was being tested by Manpower (way before it was called UI now EI) to decide what 'career' best suited my 'skills' - and I was a bit freaked because I remember the math being a doozy - and I was not all that great at math when in school - and as you know from my previous post - it has been just a 'day or two' since I was in school - so I worked myself up into a sweat about the math portion. Day finally came to go for the testing and why was I surprised - they were so disorganized. The tests had not been run off yet - and instead of giving us the test first - they give us a wad of paperwork that had to be done - security clearance, privacy issues, TD1's, banking information - all kinds of stuff - which to my way of thinking was a waste of time until we had at least passed the GAT - but who am I to question the way things are done - after all this is Canada Post. We were to be there by noon - and of course people showed up late - so held everyone up - because we had to fill out all the paperwork before we could get to the testing - ARGH. Well the math - after all my stressing - was a non-event - very basic - adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing - no sweat - interesting to hear the 'young 'uns' go on about how tough the math was - SAY WHAT - but of course they do not know how to do it without a calculator - I just breezed through it. Did run into problems with the short term memory test - my ability to memorize things has never been very good - and after noon it drops dramatically - being a morning person and all - so I likely did not do all that well on that portion of the test - so I am figuring I am done for. But lo and behold I get a phone call - I passed the GAT and am not onto - what I think and have been told - is the last hurdle - the one on one interview - a bunch more scenario questions - as well as a map question - get through that and I think I did quite well. Then I get an email saying they have added a physical fitness test to the equation - more stress - ARGH - oh well - I have been walking a couple of hours most days - so I think I am all right. In the email I am given the phone number and instructions that I have 48 hours to make the appointment or I lose the opportunity. So I immediately start calling the number they have given - to find out it is the fax number - hmmm - Marian suggests looking the company up in the phone book and getting the number from that - so I do - call them and am told that they cannot make an appointment right now - they will call me later in the day - so I wait - at 3:30 - no call so I phone them - and am told that they are not yet set up for the testing - could I please call back in a week to 10 days - SAY WHAT????? I tell them I have 48 hours to make the appointment or I lose the chance of work - no change. So I contact the woman I had interviewed with - she was not there - but I got the number for HR in Edmonton - gave them a call - told them that the number in the email is actually the fax number - oh - so sorry - but that email comes from head office - ok - then I tell the woman that I did make contact with the company that was to do the physical testing - and was told that they were not yet set up - she was some surprised - because the company told Canada Post they were ready in mid-June - and this was the end of June - hmmmm - so she makes some calls - gets back to me - tells me that they are ready - and the company calls while I am at A&W and Marian makes the appointment - I am now stressing about this. Go for the test and it was a 'piece of cake' - only problem I had was being hooked up to a heart monitor for the walking section - you were carrying the postal bag - with increasing amounts of weight - up to 35 lb. - and you had to walk 300 ft. including up a step - hmmm - not bad - except I was rushing - and my heart rate exceeded their 'normal range' - so I had to stop - a phone call was put into Canada Post - and a decision was made to give me another chance - this time I took it nice and slow and remember to breathe - second time around my heart behaved itself - minor detail that my resting heart rate is higher than their normal - but God forbid anyone 'think' - so I leave there and wait again for a call or something. The call comes in when I am at A&W - Marian calls me and I am thrilled. Finally I am going to be working - had applied for many, many jobs in my 'field of expertise' and heard nothing from anyone. So, at the age of 53 I am going to be a mail carrier - GULP.

Went in on July 12 to start my training - remember how in the previous post I mentioned that on July 10 I had injured my IT band - now it is causing major problems. My first week of training is on a walking route - about 14 km long - and I am in PAIN. Having to walk is not the problem - but the stairs are a killer - Monday I just followed Kriscinda - my trainer - and Tuesday I delivered a bit of mail - Wednesday she divided the walk in 1/2 and I did one 1/2 and she did the other - then on Thursday we switched - Wednesday took me forever because the bags of mail had been put in the wrong transfer boxes - so I did not have the mail at the right place - meant I was doing a lot of backtracking - oh well - got it done - then on Friday I did the whole route on my own - she helped me do the sort - which is the most important part of the job - you sort it right and then you just follow the mail - was going along really well - until I got to a transfer box - and the wrong bag was in it - NOT AGAIN - yes again - so I just picked up the bag and carried it to the right box and took the bag that was supposed to be in the other box back to it - and carried on my not so merry way. The weather was HOT and HUMID - so I was sweating and dehydrated - but I followed the mail and managed to finish it just before 3:00 - Kriscinda is usually done by noon at the latest - oh well - got back to the depot and had time to sort through the mail that was waiting to be done - called flats - magazines, and advertising (not flyers) and got out by 3:30. Called Kriscinda when I got home - she was surprised that I finished when I did - thanks I think. I just kept following the mail - must admit by the latter part of the day I was really wishing the mail would just disappear. Got home and soaked my feet in cold water - AHHHHH.

The second week of training was done on a 'motorized' run - which means you drive around in a Canada Post vehicle - the route I was trained on is in a newer area of Fort McMurray - and most of the mail is delivered to the super mail boxes - she has six of them on her route - and as well you deliver all the parcels to the houses for that area - and there is a small walking section as well. Much easier on my knee - but this woman kept telling my to pick up the pace - I was slowing her down - well I was going as fast as I could - will take time to get as fast as these guys who have been doing it for years. I tend to have to look at the mail a lot more than they do - they do the same route day in day out - week after week - so they know the route really well. Anyhow I managed to finish the second week of training - still in a lot of pain - but I finished it.

Now I have been hired as a temporary mail carrier - so I now sit at home and wait for the phone to ring to be called in. On the Friday of the 2nd week of training I am told that I will have Monday off - so I sleep in - am in the shower at 7 - when Marian comes banging on the door - I have to go to work - thank goodness she was not working - so I could take the car - they needed help with sorting the mail - usually you get one maybe two boxes of mail - well most of the routes were dealing with four to five boxes - and one of the regular carriers was off - so the person doing her route needed help sorting the mail - so that was fine by me. Then Kriscinda - the girl who trained me on the walk route was not feeling well - so I ended up doing half of her route - they called it an 'overtime' route and it is done a lot differently - so I was not very fast at getting it done - took me until 3:00 to do half of the route - but I was going round and round in circles - I was SO confused - I knew how to do the whole thing - but the way they divided it had me thoroughly flumoxed - oh well I got it done. No calls came in for the remainder of the week.

The following Tuesday I missed a phone call from them - did not hear the phone and did not see that they had called until later in the day - ARGH. Decided to head in on Wednesday to see what was going on - I had to pay the $5.00 initiation fee for the union - so used that as my excuse to go in - went in for 7:00 a.m. and told the supervisors I would show up every day at 7:00 because I do not have a car - so to wait at home would waste a lot of time - I would not get paid for the time - but I did not care - would rather be there when they need me then at home and not be able to get there until 8 - which means you are running late with no chance of getting caught up. Was told to report to the other depot (there are two in Fort McMurray) at 1:00 p.m. that day to be trained on RTS (Return To Sender) mail - ok - means I will be working from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. five days a week - I am not THRILLED - but it does beat sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. The job is B O R I N G - you sit or stand at a table - pick up an envelope - type in the postal code of the sender - put the envelope in the machine and a label is put on it with the sender's postal code and reason for the mail being returned - and then you do it over and over again - oh yes it is just such a thrill. I am able to do 3 boxes of mail in a 'normal' shift - do not seem to be getting anywhere - because for every 3 boxes I do - another 3 come in the next day - yesterday I finished the RTS mail for July - which was an accomplishment. And actually got the mail done for Aug. 4 as well. Will be at this for the foreseeable future. Talked with the supervisors - had been thinking maybe I was being punished or I had washed out as a letter carrier - but was told if I would rather they could bring someone else in and I could sit at home - told them no thanks I am happy to be working four hours a day - just want to know that there is a chance I will get to go outside and play - and they said yes. The VOP training (have to be trained to drive their vehicles) will next be held at the beginning of October - so will be doing that - missed the last one because of the danged long drawn out hiring procedure - oh well - such is life.

And I think that is the end of the post for today.


Lynn said...

Phew! That is a LOT of hurdles to go through!!! Good for you for sticking it out. Can't wait to read more. Missed you and your updates.

P.S. Thanks again for the tip on the bottles! Your cousin rocks! ; D

on the edge said...

Just wait ... they will call you in to the the "snow days " , lol . Pray there aren't a lot of blizzards this winter . What a tale !! They really put you through the ringer huh ? Keep on trucking girl !