And yet, this is the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been deserving of my promotion.
What was already looking like a day requiring heroic efforts from our entire team became orders of magnitude worse when one driver decided not to show up due to Coronavirus concerns. I have no issue with that... If he would have given us notice.
Four drivers left to do what realistically would be the work of eight. Two of those drivers, fresh off less than a weeks training. The other two—managers—had other duties requiring attention throughout the day. It wasn’t enough. It couldn’t possibly be enough.
But it’s what we had.
Our new guys killed it. With a stop count that would make for a sizeable day even for a veteran on a familiar route, these guys stayed as late as it took. They even offered to do more. I’m incredibly proud of the work they put in.
6:00am. Arrived at terminal. Took out a full truck on a route I’ve never done, after sorting through every package, getting them as organized as possible. An hour in the terminal saves two on the road.
Cup of coffee, 400mg of ibuprofen. Headphones in. Sprinting. Apartments, homes, businesses. You learn the route quick. You have to. Really, positivity is the secret. You need to stay upbeat, smile unbreakable in the face of any hardship. The moment you get down on yourself, productivity crashes. Quality of work drops of a cliff. The worse the outlook, the more necessary it is to stay positive. Lesson of the day.
Calls taken throughout the day to help with little issues. Apartment codes. Signiture requirements. Gas station locations. Nothing major.
After the first full truckload, I returned to the terminal and picked up a second, even fuller route. no time to sort through the 200+ packages, just had to trust that the loaders had done a workable job. Again, completely new area. Banana. More ibuprofen. Knees and ankles seemed less willing to have their pain placated this time, but slowly... It became manageable.
Halfway through the second load, I realized I’d made several mistakes. The largest of which was being ill-prepared for a long night. IPad was almost dead, map and routing software along with it. Scanner, also nearing zero charge. In the second unfamiliar truck of the day, I’d failed to check for chargers that I’ve taken for granted in my usual rig.
6:00pm. My trainee finished his route. We met up, I grabbed his scanner charger and sent him off with a single package I’d missed miles back. He offered to do more, but I couldn’t ask that of him after the herculean effort he’d already put forth. For better or worse, I sent him off.
Darkness arriving, I realized two things. One, the area I found myself in was unlit, with long driveways. Finding addresses became difficult.
Two, the interior lights in the truck shorted out. Finding packages became difficult as well.
At this point I arranged the remaining thirty stops in order as best as I could, finding homes one-by-one with Google maps on my phone, very much aware of the dwindling battery level.
Ten stops left. Split evenly, five around the backside of a lake, and the remaining five another ten miles further.
And then... I got the call. Terminal’s closing, stay out longer and you risk being locked out.
I finished the five by the lake in pitch black conditions.
Noticed I’d missed one twenty miles back. Fuck.
So with six remaining packages undelivered, I drove back to base, marking them 34'd. “needs further delivery”.
Throughout all of this, the other manager—and my boss—was an absolute superhero. Everything I did and then some, with managing the overall masterplan on top. We may not have met our goal, but we earned our paychecks today. Fifteen hours, and I know he’ll be looking over tomorrow’s route when he arrives home. Absolute monster. Somewhere along the line, I realized he’s been added to my very short list of people I’ve looked up to. It really helps having a boss like that.
Tomorrow I’ll show up, aches and pains, lack of sleep... masked by a smile on my face. I’ll have coffee for the team, jokes for the loaders working the belt, and an internal list of positive comments for my management team. Just another day.
This is a job I’ve come to care about, and I realize I’m going to need to adjust my workload. Especially now as the coronavirus skyrockets delivery demand while simultaneously cutting down on skilled workers, I’ll be doing everything I can to lead by example. There’s absolutely no reason this little company can’t be one of the best in our terminal, and I count a lot of reasons why it will be.
Hope you have a good night oppo. I took seconds off for two things today. A beautiful Porsche...
And two kids who asked me to race them.