Monday, October 27, 2014

Surviving Workplace Abuse: Moving past the trauma

Last week began with high hopes to put the resurgent traumas behind me and move forward - even if only a little bit.  One tiny step at a time.  To learn to live with "what is" rather than with "what I want it to be".  To form new coping techniques to fit the situation I am in at present.

By this, I'm referring to what to some might call the "grain of sand in my shoes" - the on-going situation with the mail delivery - or rather lack thereof.

It has hit me - and the other residents on my street - hard because there was no way any of us could have foreseen this.  We were well and truly blindsided when a new postie, who apparently wanted this route, took over and discovered there were some difficulties she hadn't foreseen  i.e. the detour which has caused more traffic on our road.  She was unprepared to work in this situation, even though she had wanted this route, and very quickly, probably within days, of taking over the route played the "safety" card.

With a powerful union such as CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) behind her, using the safety card guaranteed her of several things.  One:  that she would be granted her wishes of not working the parts of the route she didn't like.  Two:  that there would not be any repercussions for her.  No discipline.  No write-ups.  Nothing negative on her record.  Three:  that she cannot lose her job or her route.

Because she's played the safety card, no one can take over the route.

She is untouchable.

She has all the power and the control.

Even when she jeers at residents and taunts them when they ask when they're going to get their mail delivery back, she is untouchable.

Even though she apparently has trouble delivering the right mail into the right boxes on the parts of the route she is delivering to.

She can severely impact our lives, our routines, even our health because of her "rights".  Not only the rights she has due to government safety legislation, but also more extensive rights under her binding union agreement.

She has the right not to walk on the grass.  Which to me makes no sense as the grassy area adjacent to the road is city-owned and is safe.

She has the right to make a "safety" complaint without fear of reprisal.

She has the right basically, from my perspective, to do what she pleases.

She has the voice.

She has the power.

Any complaints we make such as allegations based on my research that she is a toxic employee or that she is incompetent because of the misdelivery of mail fall in deaf ears.  We are not Canada Post employees; therefore, we have no rights.  Period.

We are left with nothing.

No power.  No control.  No voice.  No representation.  No communication as to what we can expect.

Not even the community mailbox which we were promised would be delivered and installed within the first week.

We are left up in the air to wonder what is going on.  Will we ever get our mail back once the construction on the street below us is completed - which should be soon?  Or will this continue?  Is the stoppage permanent?

I was told two weeks ago that the community boxes were being shipped.  Unfortunately, the postal supervisor did not inform me exactly where those boxes were being shipped to.  Wherever, they're going, it apparently isn't to our area.  We still don't have them.

We are entering our fourth week of the situation and coping as best we can.  One resident is stopping by the distribution centre once a week and picking up the mail for 15-16 residents and delivering it to their doors.


I began last week with high hopes of putting this behind me.  Of working through the trauma.  Of finding creative ways to cope with our altered situation.  Of resuming my life, post workplace abuse, as I know it.  Of writing my blog daily again.

But ....

... life intervened as it has a habit of doing.

I got sick.  The shooting in Ottawa, my nation's capital happened.  A relative in hubby's extended family passed away.  The funeral for this relative.  A birthday celebration for an aged relative, also in the same part of the extended family.  And I can't remember what else.

The mind stopped working.  The body was definitely having its issues and taking its time getting back to normal - whatever normal is.  

The creative juices stopped flowing.  Lethargy became my constant companion.

But today, we start a new week.  A fresh slate.


I will only have this day once in my entire life.  As I start it, I ask myself:  "What will I make of today."

That is a question only time can answer.

Until tomorrow ....

1 comment:

  1. What a frustrating situation! Isn't it amazing how something like the mail get affect us so much?! I hope things get sorted soon for you.

    Loved this line: 'I will only have this day once in my entire life.'

    I've never heard it said quite like that - it's brilliant!