Don’t You Miss It?

     I had someone ask me the other day if I missed UPS. I retired last Fall and I walked away and haven’t looked back. Do I miss it? I didn’t have to think too long before I said emphatically, “NO! I don’t miss it.”
     But the question made me think. What would I miss about it? Would I miss the long hours? I don’t think so. I’ve been working a couple of days a week for a local florist. It’s about 3 hours as day and it pays $6 a stop delivering bouquets. I can take home about $100 a week and that pays for my health insurance that I get through my pension. I’ve gotten used to the hours, going in at 10 and getting home by 2. I don’t miss the hours at UPS.
     Maybe I should be missing the heat of driving a brown solar oven all day long. And that light-weight, cool summer uniform. My floral delivery truck is air conditioned.  I don’t know how I lived through so many summers at UPS. A summer in a UPS truck is cruel and unusual punishment. People get arrested when they leave their dog in their car in the summer, we should have the same concern for the UPS man.
     Or what about that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from working for a boss that respects and appreciates you? Oh wait…that’s not how it is at UPS. It’s more like crazed fear. It’s an angry feeling that never seems to go away. No, I don’t miss that either.
     So what do I miss about UPS?
      I miss a feeling that we used to have when the job of driving was a thinking man’s game. We left the building entrusted with $10.000 worth of boxes that had to be delivered the fastest way possible within a defined area.  We juggled time commitments with the customer’s needs and the company’s demands and we made it happen. We set it up and we ran it off. Everyday. We would look through the truck, set ‘em up, and we could remember what stops we had as we drove down the street. We knew our next 5 stops. We were constantly fine tuning our daily plan to find the quickest and best way to get things done.
     And the company knew we were the best drivers on the street and they respected us. Our own company respected us. Imagine that. And our customers loved us. The company was profitable, the stock was private and the value was stable. It was a good time to be a UPS driver. I had pride in my job, in my company and in myself. It was a great feeling. That’s what I miss.
     But I’ve missed that for a long time, not just since my retirement. That feeling has been gone from UPS almost since the strike in ’97. That’s when the camaraderie between management and the workers went south. Then the stock went public in ’99 and the corporate focus turned away from the workers and the stockholders became the most important people outside Atlanta. Then PAS came along and the company told us to stop thinking. Telematics makes us into robots.
     There is nothing about the job today to miss. The money is good while you are working but you pay a price for it. A big price. It’s called “a life.” I haven ‘t looked back since my retirement because I’m too busy with life. It’s a good feeling, I highly recommend it.