Sweet Surrender

        I remember when UPS focused the spotlight on safet, but still pushed for production numbers, I got called into the office more and more frequently to represent drivers who had clandestinely been observed out on the route not using the methods. I think management has a quota of observations they have to do every month and some of what they see is alarming. Most drivers know what the methods are and they can demonstrate them pretty well on an OJS ride. But when they think no one is looking, they have a different way of doing things. They have what they feel is a better way, at least a better way for them, because it encompasses their own personal needs as well as the company’s needs. It’s often a less rigid version of the company methods, maybe not stopping behind the crosswalk, or not stopping at stop signs on certain streets or not using turn signals when pulling away from the curb. Some drivers don’t honk their horns when they back up unless they think management is listening.
        SurrenderMy methods were pretty good but not perfect, but I think they were better than most for a couple of reasons. One reason is that a steward is a target for some managers and so I tried to not give them reasons to write me up. Another was that I got reminded weekly of the importance of doing the job by the book when I was in the office with somebody else who was getting chewed out for not using all the methods. It was always a wake-up call for me. I’d go out that day and I try to rededicate myself to doing the job right. It would not be fair for me to tell my fellow driver that he has to use the methods if I’m not using them myself.
        Sometimes I ask myself why some drivers find it so hard to use the methods. Why do they fall back into the sloppy, easy ways that they find so comfortable even after being observed and criticized? One reason we all seem to have our own version of the 340 methods is because we are all just a little bull headed. We believe we have a better way, at least a better way for us. And if the company isn’t watching, then we use the better way. I used to be this way and sometimes I still am, but I believe there is a way that is even easier than my way. Some drivers won’t agree with me on this, but the road to true freedom and happiness is to surrender to the company’s wishes.
        Now surrrender is not a word most drivers like to use. Defiance is a better word to use when describing how drivers feel. And the company likes it’s drivers to have defiance. We don’t wait around for a signature, we go and get it. We don’t let a bad load overwhelm us, we conquer it. But when it comes to using our own version of the methods in defiance of what the company wants, we need to surrender.
        My dad used to say that the Russians actually had more freedoms than us because they had no choices and having no choice at all is true freedom. We need to adopt that attitude and apply it to the methods. Don’t think that you have a better way because the only good way is their way. Don’t feel that your way is easier because, when you get caught, then you have to start over and learn to do it the right way and form new habits that you should have been forming a long time ago. Learn to use all the methods for safe driving and all the methods for delivery and know true freedom. Freedom from discipline, freedom from injuries and accidents, and freedom from constantly looking over your shoulder wondering when you’re going to get caught.