Well today should be my last day at the Lufkin station of a small package delivery company that used to be called RPS. I can't use the actual name as the corporate folks are picky as to when and where their name is used and I get that. Most of you know who I'm talking about because I affectionately call it "The Ex".
I got here 14 years and 10 months ago. There were 7 routes and there was one package handler that unloaded the trailer and one that looked up bad addresses. A part time service manager that did check-in and myself. I had been a special assignment manager in Shreveport for several months so I had an idea as to what I was getting in to.. but I really didn't. This was a small small station. I unloaded the trailer my first day here as the normal package handler quit while the building was without a manager.
That was just the first in a long line of many things that comprise my life as "terminal manager" or "station manager" as we now call it here in Lufkin.
I've delivered routes..some for months while I was looking for and recruiting drivers and running the building. There were days I unloaded, delivered, loaded the outbound packages in the evening and dispatched the linehaul driver. Let's just say "chief cook and bottle washer" was a very appropriate title.
I've worked with many people. Some drove me crazy and I had very stressful and unhealthy relationships with them (cleaning out my desk and finding the zantak and other digestive meds in my drawer reminds me of the times when this place was much more stressful).
I was pushed to my limits many times here, for the hours I worked and the energy and life it took from me. I poured my heart and soul in to this place for a long time. I treated it as if it were my own business.
Through all the challenges and stresses I new I needed something bigger in my life. There were times I would go by FUMC's prayer room early early in the morning before going to work to try and find something I didn't have. I knew I couldn't do it alone. We later plugged in to church there and then later we started Upward Basketball here in Lufkin. That changed my life and how I dealt with people and with things.
I gave people I had experienced major fall outs with a second chance. I forgave and laid down huge burdens. I became a minister to the staff I had here at work. I encouraged them spiritually but mostly I listened and tried to help the best I could. I love these people. I'm going to miss working with them every day. I've sponsored a couple of them on the Walk to Emmaus and some I've just been here for when they needed an ear or some advice.
I've learned a great deal here. Treat people how you want them to perform. If you want them to be winners, treat them like winners. Recognize in public and criticize in private. Anger is a tool.. it should not be an emotion in the workplace. If you let anger rule you then you have lost your effectiveness. Diversity is an amazing blessing. It's not easy I assure you but you have the most creative answers through a diverse work group. Love your people. Be a servant leader. I'm not perfect nor will I ever be and I have stood up in front of my entire team and apologized before when I was wrong in the way I've done something or how I treated someone. (I think I was actually wrong once.. just kidding ;-) )
We had 7 vans all inside our building when I got here. We now have 24 trucks that hit the street every day. We have added 3 modular docks on to the back of the building to handle the additional trucks. We had 1 package handler and 1 PT svc manager when I got here. We have 14 package handlers, 1 service manager, 1 pick up and delivery coordinator and 4 administrative personnel. We have had 2 name changes since I got here and I've had 6 or 7 bosses in that time.
I'm taking on new responsibilities. It's not a promotion. I am simply doing something else. In fact it is actually 1 grade lower than my current pay grade but my pay will be the same. I've made some decisions in my life. They are impacting me now and I'm ok with that. When I got to Lufkin, I planned to be here 18 months and move on up to bigger and better things. We then found community and we put down roots. I wanted a stable life for my children. I wanted them to grow up and graduate here. My wife and I have strong ties of faith and friends here and we really didn't want to go either but I have a Gypsy bone in me that I'm sure I got from my dad. I have been restless. I stayed for the kids but once they got out of school I tried to get some promotions but the jobs I was applying for went to younger folks.. or people with "big building" experience. I passed on those things earlier in my career for my kids. I have no issues or animosity regarding the path I chose. I love where I am and I love where I'm going.
My new job will require me to work in Houston mostly but I will have stations from Lake Charles down to Brownsville. We are not moving as my wife loves her church ladies and does not want to leave the support and fellowship she gets from those wonderful "chicks". I'll work out something in Houston and come home on the weekends. I still have my work at FCC Lufkin to do. I am also continuing as worship leader at Perritte Memorial UMC's Mosaic service. I want to keep working on those responsibilities as that is my calling right now. But I'll have to figure out a living situation. My boy is looking to find a job in Houston so maybe we can share an apt as we live in to this thing.. I may be staying with family while I'm down there. Maybe I can find a bedroom to rent from someone. It will work itself out.
I feel I will end up back in Lufkin with a full time job some day. I believe that is my future, but you never know what might happen. I hope that my future is at FCC Lufkin but I've got to get kids employed/out of college and bills paid off before that can happen. And you never know what God has in store for you as you walk down the path of life. I never thought I'd be here this long... but I'm thankful that I have been. I really don't know what lies ahead but I'm thankful for the opportunity that God and the Ex has given me. It will be hard not doing the same thing I've done for the last 15 years.. I will miss these people I've been working with for so long. I've hired or supervised the hiring of every person in this building. This place is a big part of me and I have been blessed by all those here. I hope that I am a big part of this building as well. I hope that what I have brought here and left here will give these people wings to fly on and the power and direction to achieve whatever it is they want to do in life. I love them and I want nothing but the best for them. I will see them again down the road...but our daily routine is forever changed as of today.
I've packed my office and put it in the car. All that is left is finishing out the day today. I have Friday off and I hope to have a nice weekend with my wife away from it all. Monday I will report to work in Houston. I'm anxious about that and I'm sure I will miss my 3 mile drive to and from work. I'm also excited and have great anticipation about what is down the road. I hope in all of this that my faith grows stronger and my relationship with God and with my family is made better.
Let's turn the page...