Driver helper for a day...

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by NoBrownForMe, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member

    If you're wondering why UPS stock is running flat...

    Mike Eskew
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    United Parcel Service
    55 Glenlake Parkway NE
    Atlanta, GA 30328

    Mr. Eskew,

    This is the story of my short but happy career with United Parcel Service.

    I applied to the UPS to be a seasonal driver helper by logging onto the UPS Website and filling out a few blocks of personal information. The automated HR system immediately scheduled an appointment for me to visit the local package center located at [location edited], on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005, at 11:15 a.m.

    My Tuesday visit took only 15 minutes, in which time I filled out a piece of paper with some personal information for furtherance of a background check and was asked for my size in jacket and pants. The e-mail had said I could expect my tour of the facility to last between 60 and 90 minutes, but I wasnt given any tour or orientation and the HR woman told me orientation would be Saturday.

    On Saturday, Dec. 10, I arrived at the package center on time for the 9:30 a.m. appointment along with about 34 other prospective driver helpers. We were given a glossy-covered folder containing multiple pages and paragraphs under each of which was a signature block. There were two additional papers, one of them identical to the one I had filled out on Tuesday. We were briefed on each of the paragraphs in the glossy-covered folder and told to sign each signature block. At the back of the glossy folder was a blank page for notes. I then filled out the same form I had filled out on Tuesday and signed it again.

    The assembled group was told that we would all be working on Monday. In a disorganized way, we were issued some clothing and I-9 processed in a small supply room. There were not enough trousers to go around or in the correct sizes, so the HR person told us to just wear khakis or do the best we could toward wearing brown pants. I was issued a knit cap and a pullover jacket with UPS logo, my ID and SS card were checked and I left the center. There was still a considerable line of people behind me waiting to take care of their I-9 check and clothing issue.

    The next day I went to the mall and shopped for and bought the nearest thing I could find to a dark brown T-shirt and pants so I could be prepared for my Monday morning call.

    I was awake and ready to go, dressed in brown, my lunch packed and ready to roll at seven the next morning. I was genuinely excited and nervous to be getting out on the road with a driver, helping deliver packages.

    After some waiting, I got a phone call at 8:54 a.m. The man asked me if I was available to work and I told him I was. He said someone would be calling me back soon.
    Nobody from UPS called me again that day.

    I called back the next day, Tuesday, Dec. 13, to ask the package center what had happened. I spoke to Jason on the phone, who told me that they had been busy, how the person making the calls hadnt called me back (No kidding, really?) and how they have something like 88 driver and 54 driver helpers to organize and how both he and the female HR representative had been out picking up other drivers helpers from [location edited], (a town 45 minutes to the north of here) because the helpers didnt have transportation.
    As far as Im concerned, the maximum effective range of an excuse it zero meters.

    This all left me thinking that the crew of managers at the [location edited] package center have reached the limits of their abilities to cope with the complexity of the operation there. If they cant get it right, who can? If they cant call me in to work, who can? What other balls are being dropped?

    After once hanging up without warning and then calling me back, Jason poked around for a minute and finally told me there were two routes where I live, but both already had helpers. He found a package car that needed a helper and said I could meet the car in town at 2:30 p.m. and that the run would probably last about five hours. That was too late in the day for me and my enthusiasm was now being colored by my recent experience. I demurred; Can you blame me? I had made myself available for the entire previous day and failed to receive even a phone call.
    It was a wasted day for everyone.

    The very first of the UPS core values is:
    We believe that integrity and excellence are the core of all we do.

    1) There is zero integrity in a UPS employee calling me to say that I will be called and then nobody calling me back.
    This event gives the impression of a dysfunctional organization.
    2) Nobody asked where I lived or if I could drive to meet drivers places other than my neighborhood at any point in the hiring process. Why would managers give rides to helpers living 45 minutes away when at least one other helper -- me -- was waiting, with transportation at the ready, just 15 minutes away from the package center and 10 minutes from [location edited]?
    3) In fact, giving helpers rides begs the question of whether equal opportunity hiring is being exercised at the [location edited] package center or if someone is being favored by the hiring process; plus provided transportation by UPS.
    3) Why fill out the same form twice during the hiring process?
    This is redundant effort and wastes everyones time.
    4) Why provide a sheet for notes in the back of the glossy-covered orientation packet when it will be collected and never seen again by the employee after the safety and security briefings?
    That seems absurd and is wasteful at the very least least.

    In fact, this entire process has been absurd and quite an exercise in wasted time and effort with zero return. And all I wanted to do was help out and earn a little Christmas money while getting a taste of what its like to work at UPS.

    Im no stranger to physical outdoor work, which Ive heard is available at UPS. But this dysfunctional process Ive been subjected to has put me right off of the company. I would love to work with a smart, progressive, nimble, service-oriented company, but I still havent found one.

    In your own words, Mr. Eskew, on leading with integrity:
    Integrity has always been central to the way UPS does business.
    As Jim Casey said in 1957, "We have become known to all who deal with us as people of integrity, and that priceless asset is more valuable than anything else we possess."

    Quality, intelligent people make or break any business; UPS included. I was looking forward to being one of those people upon whom UPS could depend. I was ready to work hard for the company, but now I have a very different view of UPS after my experience of (not) working as a driver helper.

    My day wasnt totally wasted, though. I sat on my couch dressed in my UPS brown searching the Internet for insights into the corporate culture at UPS. What I found was hardly positive and quite frankly shocking. UPS is hardly the company it was 20 years ago, despite being a corporate behemoth. I have learned that public face of your company is nothing like the one that UPS employees have to cope with every day of their working lives.

    Feel free to send me a check for the day I wasted, spent waiting to work for UPS.
    The HR department has my contact information.

  2. susiedriver

    susiedriver New Member

    Dear NoBrownForMe,

    I am exiled from this site, but felt that someone should respond to you.

    From your letter to Mr. Eskew I can see that you are an articulate, intelligent person. Unfortunately, this is not what UPS looks for, as I'm sure you have found out for yourself in your research.

    Consider yourself lucky to not have been called to work as a helper, and chalk it up as a learning experience. The helper job is either really bad (if you are in CA or AZ) or really sucks (if you are anywhere it's cold).

    You can do better, good luck in whatever you choose to do, and don't be discouraged by the negative reactions you're liable to receive here.

    "That's just the way it is; some things, they never change"


  3. over9five

    over9five Senior Member Staff Member

    ...meanwhile, they tell US, "Sorry you were out till 10PM. We can't find enough helpers".
  4. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    I agree with 9.5, some things make you scratch your head and wonder.

    Throughout the last few years we have also had a problem getting helpers on the car with the driver. HR tells them they will start the week after thanksgiving, but rarely do they start them until now, two weeks before Christmas. By then most have gone on to other employment, of have found something else to do.

    I hope that was just a typo when you repeated #3. And the "feel free to send me a check" ruined the whole thing. It would be better off without that statement.

    They used to start helpers early and let the drivers get them trained for peak. Not any more, the bean counters are in control. And Mikey baby is one of them.

  5. toonertoo

    toonertoo Most Awesome Dog Staff Member

    You definetely got the shaft, nobrownforme. I have talked to several people who trained to be helpers and here with 8 days to go has not worked yet. Go through all that training and drive 100 miles to the main Hub for what. POOOOR Planning. I agree with Suzie, the best and brightest get easily discouraged from ever trying to get on with Brown. Take it as a lesson learned, you will do better. Merry Christmas!
  6. wily_old_vet

    wily_old_vet New Member

    NoBrownfor me-Sorry you went through the grief. Have on question for you though, just how do you know what UPS was like TWENTY YEARS ago?

    Susie-A bit disingenuous aren't you? You weren't exiled from this site as evidenced by the fact that you replied to this thread. You were self-exiled. By the way weren't you working at UPS TWENTY YEARS ago?
  7. UPSmeoff

    UPSmeoff Say my name.

    I hope you can still use the pants and t shirt.
  8. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member

    New clothes

    The pants are actually kinda nice, not polyester, and I can wear them and the T-shirt elsewhere, though brown isn't really my color. Or wasn't.:biggrin:

    I haven't sent the letter yet and will tighten the words up a bit before I do. The extra 3 is a typo, thnx for catching that.
    I may cut the part about sending me the check.

    I did waste my time, though: My day was stolen by UPS.
    The way I see it, my time has some value, too.
    If I were a UPS employee and behaved the way UPS did to me yesterday, would UPS have fired me? Probably.
    Screw 'em, they're fired. I just fired my "job" for being riduculous.
    Thankfully it didn't go very far.

    Wily, I know UPS had a great reputation when I was 25 years younger as being a good job to have but good hard work. Maybe I was being mislead back then, too? I mean, did it suck 20 years ago like it seems to today? Was management as oppressive then as they seem to be now? Was the union as in bed with the company back then as it seems to be now? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but you must, right?
    What WAS it like 20 or 25 ago?
    Maybe we've all been fooled by the respectable public facade for all this time. Was there ever a time when it wasn't like it is now?

    It seems like the most defensive UPSers are the veterans who are bringing in the big senior union scale pay. Easier to be conservative when you've got something to conserve, if you catch my drift.

    Merry Christmas, all -- be safe out there.
  9. browndude

    browndude New Member

    the vetrans bringing in the big senior pay scale? sorry to break it to you but everyone makes the same amount after 2 years!
  10. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    before you send it, post it back here and we can help proof read it for you.

    You dont have to go back 20 years, 5-6 is far enough in some places.

    Depending on where in Virginia, we got rid of some of the most sorry managers to Va while we were in the atlantic district. Some of them really sucked at management, and the more they sucked, the more they wanted to be in control.

    Maybe you got one of them?

  11. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    "I did waste my time, though: My day was stolen by UPS.
    The way I see it, my time has some value, too."

    I'm not sure where we went wrong. Whether we raised your expectations to a level we could not reach or whether we failed to prepare you for reality. Yes your particular experience does sound screwed up and disorganized. But a stolen day by UPS? That sounds a little dramatic. Perhaps a little overdone.

    In case someone mislead you driver helpers are cannon fodder in our peak wars. If you don't catch a bullet the first two days or if the war does not end before you get into battle then it could be rewarding. If your tenacious in sticking it out and do a good job it could eventually lead to a permanent position with UPS though it would require a lot of committment on your part. We want you to sit around the house until we call you then drop everything to meet a driver somewhere on the route. When you do and you bust your but to the degree the driver likes you then you may earn a phone call the next day.

    Your observations are correct Peak is a time of total kaos for us. Some managment teams handle it a lot better than others. Helper coordinators are usually pulled from staff. If you're lucky you get one that has been around a while and knows how to keep the helpers gainfully employed.

    But if you actually discuss this experience in terms of lost stolen days and core values and whether you feel your ups experience makes eskew a liar then I am afraid you have the driver helper job confused with an exciting career job. I don't mean to offend just not sure anyone is providing you with the proper perspective here or at work.
  12. traveler

    traveler Where next? Venice


    Thanks for your post. You saved me from composing a reply myself.

    I noted two areas, first:

    Sounds like a "screw up" by the center supervisor in charge of helpers. No excuses, but certainly not an ethics problem.


    Well, I guess NoBrownForMe decided that since he "wasted a day" there was no need to help a company that was responsible for his wasted day. So be it. Therefore the main thrust of the letter revolves around one "screw up". I'm sure that is not or will not be the biggest "screw up" during peak. Bottom line, none of this points to an "ethics problem", just human error.
  13. WorkinStiff

    WorkinStiff Guest

    Sorry you had a bad experience with Brown. I was a helper in AZ last peak and it was probably the best job I have had so far. I went through the same process, received very little training, adn I didnt get a jacket, but once I got out there it was fine. Like you I also had to wait to get a call every morning, but in my experience, the dispatcher had her stuff together. I didnt experiece the b.s. that you described until I got a permanent part time spot after peak, but overall UPS is still a good company. One thing I didnt get was when I would be out with the driver, and we still had the entire car full of stops, and dispatch would message him on the diad telling him to let me go after two hours. Needless to say, he told her to get lost.
  14. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member


    I dunno. I can't blame the small FUBAR vortex that I got caught in on anyone in particular, but I do know that if the company had called me and hooked me up with a run first thing in the a.m. I wouldn't have spent the day researching the company and its internal workings.

    I was astounded at what I found. Honest, I was surprised.

    No offence intended, but I can only go on my experience.
    UPS stock will stay flat until this stuff is corrected, meanwhile, the company is trying to expand air service, al-la FedEx.
    I'm not a professional business analyst, but I can see that UPS has some Serious internal issues undermining its future. Being big is not enough to prevent rotting from the inside.
    But these are all simply my impressions.

    (Nobody thought central states would tank like it did, either.)
    Cheers and Merry Christmas.
  15. dannyboy

    dannyboy From the promised LAND

    First off, Central states tanking has nothing to do with UPS stock. Two different animals. Secondly, from your last post, you have/had an axe to grind with UPS for a while, and the excuse was the screw up. Now really, what information did you stumble on while you were waiting on your phone call that would make you think the way you do?

  16. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member


    Central States was big and went down. It was an example of how a BIG financial group can go flooey.

    I had no axe to grind with UPS until this cluster-jerk experience, two days ago.

    My day WAS wasted waiting for the call back. At UPS they call this stealing time. My day is worth something, but not to UPS.
    People, as well as companies, are judged by how they treat people.

    My expectations were probably unrealistic. I realize that now and won't expect professional standards from UPS or its employees in the future.

    I wasn't looking to get rich or be a hero, just help out and get a few bucks for the holiday. I don't care the about "why" behind the screw up.

    Maximum effective range of an excuse, in the real world, is zero meters.
    These threads have given me headaches because I'm primarily wasting my breath. I know there are people who are perfectly happy in this kind of environment. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

    Cheers and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!:w00t:
  17. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Big deal, your day was wasted....put on your big girl panties and deal with it !!! Get on with your life. Those waitress jobs are filling up fast!
  18. spidey

    spidey Member

    No Brown,

    It's Christmas at UPS. You have NO idea what was going on in that office all day. You seem to be one of those people who doesn't understand that things don't always revolve around you and your plans. If they didn't tell you in the interview what to expect, I'm sorry, but I'll bet they did. The person who was supposed to call you back was probably dealing with a thousand other things, many of which... hold on here.... were much more important than you.

    Just curious... if you sat around all day steaming, why didn't you take the initative to call the center and ask where they needed you?

    On the other hand, don't answer that. I'm not looking for a debate. You are the guy standing in Starbucks bitching because the 40 people in front of you won't move out of the way. You may be very successful at something in your life, but I'll bet it won't be as part of a team.

    Who let the trolls out, BTW?
  19. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member

    Bold boy

    You're bold behind the keyboard, moreluck.
    Probably typical of the weenies at UPS.
    Hey, are you a manager?

    Your post has :lol:management :lol:written all over it.
  20. NoBrownForMe

    NoBrownForMe Member


    I wouldn't be caught dead in a Starf*cks, spidey.

    When I was in the center today, it was awfully quiet.
    But it doesn't take much to distract warehouse workers...