It’s Day Four of #MyMarchMadness. No #GratitudeGame would be complete without acknowledgment of the corporation that changed my view of Big Business: United Parcel Service. UPS. Brown. What was once “The tightest ship in the shipping business.”
I was just 20 years old when UPS promoted me to supervisor of the Canada and Puerto Rico export unit on its third shift at the Louisville International Airport in Kentucky. Did you get all of that? I was 20 years old, only halfway through college and admittedly still drinking irresponsibly and illegally, and I worked the 10 or 11 PM to 3 to 6 AM shift. That was a pretty big risk that only became a stupid risk once or twice (such as on my 21st birthday). It was mostly a smart risk because the decision-makers saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself: the potential for leadership and effective management. I was given a lot of excellent training, both in the classroom and on the job, and I was indeed paid “a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.” I would probably not have the same organization, management or troubleshooting skills today if not for that opportunity. So, today, I acknowledge @UPS.
#HappyWorthDay! Today, I am celebrating the value you have brought to my life.
Thank you for:
1. Inspiring me to build my own great business. I might not be the next James E. Casey or build an international brand with thousands of employees. Yet I model many of my processes after those that worked so well during my six years at UPS. You taught me how to manage and value people in ways that are still with me today.
2. Inspiring my nephew to work at UPS and eventually become a supervisor. When he was maybe four years old, you allowed us to bring our families to tour the facility, the ramp and a few airplanes. He was fascinated and followed in my footsteps, becoming a supervisor a year after his hire date and eventually transferring to the ramp. I was disappointed to learn that he didn’t get The People’s Workshop training that I did, but I did see his skills improve in time management and problem solving. He has moved on, as did I, yet we both continue to benefit from the skills we gained at UPS and our shared experience.
3. Keeping opportunities in my hometown. Although most of the jobs you offer are part-time, I respect your business model. It is efficient and effective, allowing you to remain relatively competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. That is no small feat, and several of my friends and former employees are still working at UPS more than 20 years after I left. Like all employees, they complain at times. Yet their longevity and success is a testament to the comparatively good work environment I assume you are still providing.
In short, you make a difference, even when you doubt you do. I hope you will put your focus on making an even bigger difference.