Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Story of Phat Phil

In all good conscience, I can only take partial credit for this story. My co-hort asked that I not publish his (or her) identity. So I will respect his (or her) wishes. His (or her) loss:)

So without further ado, I present to you:

Phat Phil(lipia) the Happy Paper Delivery Person


Phat Phil(lipia), henceforth referred to as Phil, works for the local branch of a global newspaper conglomerate (aka GNPC). Phil has delivered newspapers for GNCP for the past 5 years.

Originally, 5 years ago, when Phil first accepted the position, he had 40 houses on his route. He had a great route; he loved talking to his customers as he delivered their papers and collected their money. He really, really enjoyed and loved his job. Life was good.

Life was good because Phil knew how to manage his time and make the most of it. Each weekday morning around 5:30, 40 newspapers got dropped off at the end of Phil's driveway. He would wake up to his ambient alarm around 6:00, take a shower, get dressed, and then walk to the end of his driveway to get the papers. He brought the newspapers inside, grabbed breakfast, and then spent the next 30 minutes folding the 40 papers. After the papers were folded, Phil filled his phatsak with them. By 7:00 am he would leave his house and start to walk his route placing a paper at the front door of each house. Phil finished up and was back home by 8:00am. The rest of the day was his to do with what he wanted. And Phil wanted to spend time with his friends and his new puppy. Phil made $60 a week (1 ½ hours per day X 5 days = $8 / hour).

After Phat Phil had been delivering papers for a few short months, GNPC was bought by a company called The News You Need (NYN). Nothing changed too much at first except that Phil was required (per NYN policy) to get caught up on all the training needed for his job. He needed to take 6 3-hour courses within the next two weeks in order to retain his qualifications. The training included:

o NP101: How to fold papers for max distance with min property damage.
o NP102: The art of making a newspaper.
o NP201: Fine tuning your bike for maximum speed.
o NP202: Preventing animal attacks - dogs, cats, ferrets, chimpanzees...
o NP401: Collecting money owed - on time and in full.
o NP501: What holiday gifts cross the fine line into bribery?

About six months after the buyout, Phil's manager asked if he wouldn’t mind delivering the paper to 80 houses for awhile. Phil agreed knowing that he would have to make a few changes in his schedule to accommodate the extra workload.

So the next morning Phil got up when his alarm woke him ambiently at 6:00am, took his shower, got dressed, walked down to the end of his drive to pick up his 80 papers, grabbed breakfast, spent an hour folding the papers, and finally left his house around 7:30. Phil walked his route and delivered the paper to all 80 houses, placing one newspaper at the front door of each house. He was back home by 10:00am.

A few days into the extended route, Phil received a phone call from NYN. The gentleman (John)on the other end of the line informed him that he would be reporting to him in the future since his previous manager had moved on up within the company. John wanted to know why he was getting so many calls from Phil's longtime customers complaining that they were receiving their paper late (between 9:30 and 10:00). John did not wait for Phil to explain...everyone wants their paper by 8:00 AM and it is Phil's job to deliver by 8:00 AM.

So Phil once again used his time management skills to find a way to get the papers to the people by 8:00 AM sharp. Phil's plan was to start folding the papers earlier so he would finish folding sooner and could start delivering sooner. And, if he ran instead of walked his route, there was a good chance that he could get all his papers delivered before 8:00am.

Phil bought a new louder alarm clock that day. He got up the next morning at 4:45am, got ready and was waiting at the end of the driveway at 5:30 AM for the delivery truck to drop off the papers. As soon as they arrived Phil took them in the house, folded them as fast as he could, and then ran out of the house and his entire route, placing 1 newspaper at the front door of each house. When Phil reached the last house it was just turning 8:00am; he had done it, but he was so exhausted from running to each house that he just wanted to go home and sleep. He ended up sleeping until 4:45am the next morning, only to start all over again. That month Phil made $60 a week (3 ¼ hours per day X 5 days = $3.69 / hour). Of course, he was able to cancel his Bally's membership, but then he had to pay a neighbor to walk his puppy...

After a few months at that pace, Phil found himself looking forward to the weekends so he could get a few things done that he wasn’t able to get to during the week, and to play with his growing puppy.

Then one morning, Phil was standing at the end of his drive at 5:30 as usual, but the papers did not arrive. At 5:45, Phil called the office to see why his papers had not been delivered. His newest manager (he was on # 4 now) informed him that there were some cut backs and the plant. As a cost reduction initiative, all the truck drivers were let go. Why? "Because upper management did not see them doing anything that the delivery guys couldn't do so why keep two people when we can just pay one? By the way, Phil, you will need to start picking up you papers at the plant from now on...I know you live 30 mins away, but let's start being a team player, ok?...and we will help you out; in fact we are going to start holding conference calls every morning at 7:30am (just for an hour), to discuss ways to be more efficient at your job. And you know the best way to learn is by teaching others, so each of you delivery boys can give a presentation each day showing how much you improved the day before and what you are doing to get better."

When Phil's manager was done talking, Phil mentioned that he needed to take a few days off. He had not had a vacation in awhile and was feeling the need for some puppy time. That was fine with manger #4 just as long as Phil was caught up with his work and found someone to cover for him when he was gone.

Phil did not want to let his fellow delivery engineers down - and he prided himself on being a good worker - so he figured he just needed to start waking up a few hour earlier (maybe 3:00 AM), ride his bike to the plant, pick up the papers, and be back to his house by 4:00 AM. On that schedule, he could still deliver all the papers by 7:00am, and be back home to call into the 7:30 meeting. He would drink an energy drink in the evening so he could stay up a little later to work on his presentation for the meeting. So for the next 3 months Phil woke up at 3:00am, flew out of the house, rode his bike to the plant, picked up the papers, rode his bike home as fast as he could, quickly folded all 80 papers, ran his entire route, placing 1 newspaper at the front door of each house, ran home, brought up the presentation that he had put together the night before, and called into the meeting to help figure out how the company could be more efficient. Each month Phil made $60 a week (6 ½ hours per day X 5 days = $1.84 per hour).

After about a month of the new pace, Phil's manager informed him that they had to let go of one of the delivery persons in his area as he was having trouble delivering his 80 papers by 8:00am and the manager needed Phil to pick up the other route for a few weeks. Phil’s' manager also mentioned that Phil needed to start using up some of his vacation time as he was going to lose quite a few days this year if he did not use them up by the end of the year. "And another thing, Phil, you seem behind on collecting money...maybe you should consider setting time aside on Saturday morning for that. I bet your customers would like seeing you on Saturdays. Think about it, Phil."

Phil came up with a great idea to handle the extra work load ... He would ride his bike to deliver the papers and just throw the papers up on the driveway instead of placing them at the front door, That way he just might be able to get all 160 papers delivered by 7:15 am, so he could call into the 7:30 meeting. Also, to allow time to fold the extra 80 papers, he would set his alarm to wake him up an hour earlier.

So for the next 3 months Phil woke up at 1:30am, pedaled his bike for 30 minutes as fast as he could, got his 160 papers, raced home, folded all 160 papers, loaded up his bike and began throwing the folded newspapers as hard as he could up the driveway of all 160 customers, and was home in time to call in to the 7:30 meeting. Way to go Phil. Unfortunately, Phil's dog, now fully grown and not sure who his master was, was not impressed. He took a bite out of Phil's ....yeah....Phat Phil was now making $60 a week (8 ½ hours x 5 days = $1.41 per hour).

A few weeks later, Phil arrived at the factory only to find that the plant was closed, no one there - inside or out. He rode back home and called his manger for an explanation. "Well, Phil, NYN upper management does not see the need for the plant to open before 7:00 AM. This is only one of the cost saving measures we have put in place. Salaries for delivery personnel will not increase this year, either."

Phil had had enough. There was just no way he could pick up the 160 papers at 7:00am, ride home, fold them all and deliver them in time to call into the 7:30 meeting. And he let his manager know that in no uncertain terms...

"Well, Phil, I really thought you were a team player. I have been sticking up for you for a long time, but I guess upper management was right after all. I am gonna have to let you go, Phil. I cannot handle any more of your complaining and not being able to take on a little more responsibility. I wish you would have come through for us - worked a few weekends like I have been suggesting. You really could have helped this company out a lot."

Phil went home, made up with his dog, started taking long walks in the park, got his BP down to an almost normal number, updated his resume, and within a few weeks was offered a job as route supervisor for the neighboring local newspaper, Greener Sides News (GSN).

2 comments:

Keith said...

Very well written. I was expecting Phil's job to be outsourced. Well that's the legacy we've been left with since Reagan (including Clinton): get down on your knees and be thankful you're allowed to work at all. There are millions of Chinese and Indians ready to take your job and salivating US corporate executives ready to give your job to them. Wall Street applauds while middle America withers and dies. God bless our free market capitalism!

I wonder if under the current economic climate,the story would have such a happy ending?

Sorry for being down. It's hard to think you've reached the end of your usefulness at 46.

Phillipia said...

Ah...the outsourcing...how could we miss that?