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.