This week was another journalistic type of week for me, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with the lovely Rona, a Blue Arrow team member who is currently working in Royal Mail.
Armed with my questions, my fav pencil with the novelty topper and my cup of tea I set out on a mission to find out what it is really like to work not just with Blue Arrow but also for what might just be one of the busiest brands in the run-up to Christmas – Royal Mail.
Rona, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. Let’s jump right in with: When did you start working for Royal Mail and how did it all come about?
It would have been around March this year that I started. I was actually working for the rail service through Blue Arrow at the time, I had been there for about six years, but I had always said that I would consider other positions if they came up. The branch contacted me one day and said that this position had suddenly come up that I would be perfect for it. I just had to fill in the info sheet, then they did a disclosure check and I was all set to start.
This would be the position as a Postwoman, right?
Well my title is Postie, but no I am not actually a postie.
Okay hold on, you are going to need to explain what a postie, who isn’t really a postie, actually is… other than confused of course.
[Laughing] It does sound so confusing, but it is because I took over someone else’s old job, and their title was Postie. But when it came to me actually starting the job I was assigned to the collection office because I have some computer and office experience.
Did it bother you that you ended up in a completely different position than you thought?
Not at all, I actually prefer to be in the collection office. The other Postie’s go out to do their rounds and anything that cannot be delivered comes back to me. People get one of those cards through their door, they bring the card in to me and I can give them their parcel, I really like it.
Do you get nervous before you start at a new place of work?
I think when you are an agency worker you get used to just going in and getting stuck in. I used to be a really shy person but I’m not anymore, now there is no stopping me.
Tell me about the people you work with, what are they like?
It is quite a male environment, there are more guys than girls but that doesn’t really faze me you know, I actually quite like it, I find them more easy going, especially around new people – they are pretty loud and can be really funny too!
Whenever I go to my local delivery office there is always a huge pile of parcels on the shelves, is there a method to what appears to be chaos?
Yes, there is a sort of system. The days are usually the same, I go into work and process the coffins. I scan the parcels and put them on the shelf. Then I hand over the parcels to the customers who come to collect, then re-organise the shelves and the new parcels that come in. It is an endless cycle, especially at Christmas.
Hold on, let me just double check, did you say, you process the coffins? Who sends a coffin through the post and why especially at Christmas?
No, [laughs] the coffins are just a weird name for the storage containers, I have no idea why they are called that, the cages are called Yorks too which makes no sense either. There seems to be a few weird names for things, but no, coffins don’t usually come through the post, not even at Christmas.
Phew! So, after you have dealt with your coffins and sorted the parcels does it bug you if someone comes in to collect a parcel after you just organised them?
Not anymore, it happens all of the time so it’s just like playing a huge never-ending game of Jenga.
Oh yes! Definitely Tetris.
Do you ever pick-up a parcel and wonder what might be inside or who it might be going to?
All of the time! Playing guess that parcel is fun, especially with those that are an odd shape. The thing is, you never actually get to know if you guessed right or not.
Do you get any perks from Royal Mail? Free postage? Endless envelopes perhaps?
Not from Royal Mail I don’t, because I am agency staff I don’t get the pension scheme or anything from them, but I do get access to things through Blue Arrow and I get paid more per hour than the employed staff so for me that is a much better perk – it’s the one that counts at the end of each week anyway.
Aside for the enhanced pay, what do you like most about working for Royal Mail?
Well the interaction with the other staff is great, we are always having a laugh which makes the day go faster. I like meeting the customers too, seeing who is picking up the parcel I was trying to guess the contents of.
Every job has its downside, right? What don’t you like about your job?
We are really under-staffed right now, I know that there are loads of temp positions available and we really need people to fill them especially now! It can put quite a strain on the staff if there are not enough hands to spread the work out. Now is the ideal time for people who want a good job that pays well.
So, what’s next for you? Are there any other jobs in Royal Mail that you have your sights set on?
Well, they just took me on as a permanent member of staff which is great, but there is this one job that is screening the parcels before they go on to aeroplanes, I would love to do that! I think it would be pretty scary being the one to decide if a parcel is safe to fly but I would love to give it a go!
So, that sounds like the scariest job ever, I would be that person who gets distracted and forgets to check the one parcel that really should have been checked!
Laughs] That would probably be something I would do too, but you would probably only forget the once before you learned your lesson!
You might be right there! Rona, I think that may just be the perfect place to end. Did you want to say any last words for the readers of my blog?
Well, if you are considering a job with Royal Mail, then go for it, it can be interesting, and it is pretty fun. If you are unsure what you want to do then join Blue Arrow, I have been placed in so many different roles that I probably wouldn’t have experienced without them.
Rona, thanks you so much for joining me today.
So, dear reader, there it is, a behind the scenes glance into working at Royal Mail through Blue Arrow, from guess the parcel, to coffins, and from Tetris to flying parcels it is clear that Rona really does love her job and that a place of work really is what you make it.
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