I decided to create a place where rural carriers can come and share ideas for our incoming subs to help them learn the job and gain the confidence needed to get through the toughest parts of being a substitute carrier. They teach the basics in training, but it's a lot of information in a very short amount of time, which makes it hard to catch everything. Plus, the best way to learn is by actually working the routes, but it's overwhelming at the beginning and a lot of people get frustrated by the lack of training.
There's so much to learn- how do you know which information is the most important to remember? Which stuff do you put at the top of the list? Management wants accuracy, but you also have to be able to get the route done.
How do you do both?
It takes quite awhile for most people to feel like they "get it". When I was new (new- meaning in the first 3 years, lol) I used to have dreams about casing the mail at home and trying to get it all sorted by the time I was ready to head to the office. Stressed much?
One of the most important things to remember is- Always ask questions. (This even applies to long-time carriers) Better to ask than to assume.
Also- don't strain yourself trying to remember all of the form numbers and acronyms. Definitely remember though, the 4240 is the time sheet, and that's where your paycheck comes from, so it IS important.
At first it's usually hard enough to get the mail delivered to the right address, so ask your regular/trainer and make sure the biggest delivery issues are well marked. If not, take notes and make yourself some markers. Use bright colored card stock or the red delivery issue cards and make notes so you'll remember to check the mail before you put it in the box. Case in your notes in front of the mail after you've marked your parcels. The biggest issues are usually dog problems, same number/wrong street mix-ups, and people still receiving mail for previous residents. Most customers will put the mail back in the box if it's not theirs, but some have had issues enough that there needs to be a notice. PAY ATTENTION to these, they're the one's that will get you in trouble if you make a mistake. Triple check it.
One good way to feel more at ease the first time you deliver a route is to take the Line of Travel sheet home with you and run the route on your own time. Have someone go with you, reading the lines for you so you can pay attention to where the mailboxes are. When you're training on your first route take the line of travel and follow along, making notes if there are any changes or directional errors. Ask your regular/trainer to look it over and make sure it's the most current version. Some people also like to get a 3 ring binder and keep them for the first few times you do the route. It's fairly common to do some routes only on rare occasions so it's easy to forget in between runs.
One last thing- get yourself some sort of bag or container to keep supplies in. We aren't supposed to leave things in our vehicles, and you don't want to get caught unprepared.
Something like this works well.
I bought mine from Wal-mart in the craft section, but I found these on Amazon. Lots of pockets keep you organized. I carry change of address cards, hold cards, vacant cards, stamp order envelopes, current resident cards, etc. those get bundled in separate rubber bands and kep in the big middle pocket. I also found a little cheap tool set at Wal-mart, even better is some sort of multi-tool like a Leatherman. Basics like a pair of pliers a multi-tipped screwdriver is good. I also carry a flashlight in my bag, delivering after dark happens once in awhile.
That's all for now.
Please feel free to leave a comment, or, ask some questions.