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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A depressingly accurate account of life in the USPS,
This review is from: Beyond Going Postal: Shifting from Workplace Tragedies and Toxic Work Environments to a Safe and Healthy Organization (Paperback)Beyond Going Postal (BGP) is a well-researched inside account of USPS' terrible workplace environment, and the stubbornly poisonous culture that drives that environment. My one negative criticism of the author-published BGP is that the apparent lack of an editor leaves it a little disorganized and repetitive at times, and replete with typographical errors. BGP is otherwise well-written, and is a significant expose from a long-term and relatively high-level retired USPS insider, author Dr. Stephen Musacco.
Dr. Musacco's account of the environment and culture of USPS is dead on from my perspective as a recently-former USPS manager. My own eclectic postal career started as a letter carrier, then a first line supervisor of letter carriers, labor relations specialist in a district, government relations representative at USPS headquarters, manager, labor relations for a district, a long-term detail as an employment litigation attorney for a field office of USPS headquarters, and, most recently, manager, customer service for a medium-size retail and delivery station. I "escaped" the USPS in August of 2008, transferring to another federal agency.
I was a labor relations specialist in another district in 1996 when my colleague Jim Brown was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed by Charles Jennings in the parking lot of the Las Vegas facility. I knew Jim personally; he was among the most honorable and caring people I met at the USPS. He was not the intended target, and his heroism in struggling to get the gun from Jennings surely saved the lives of others.
I was manager, labor relations at the time and in the district where Grant Gallaher killed his supervisor during his unsuccessful attempt to murder the postmaster. In my own experience, the postmaster was and continued to be a disrespectful and disagreeable person to work with. Only through sheer luck did he escape death on that April day in 2006. I was in the inner circle of management officials performing public relations damage control and CYA in the several-week aftermath of the Gallaher shooting. At no time did anyone at any level of authority consider that the shooting might have been the result of more than just a crazed mind. Though everyone knew that the action was triggered by PERCEIVED unfairness and disrespect by the postmaster, no one in authority ever bothered to examine the actions of the postmaster to determine if perhaps the incident could have been avoided through different management tactics. In fact, that postmaster has risen like a shooting star in the district. He has been promoted at least once, and is currently serving a higher level detail as officer in charge of a large post office in the district.
The bottom line, just as detailed in BGP, is that USPS managers are evaluated and promoted based almost purely on their efficiency ratio of work hours to mail volume. Treating subordinates with dignity and respect is not an activity that is rewarded, and is thus not an activity that is widely practiced. Conversely, treating employees in a demeaning and abusive manner at worst, or as mere unfeeling cogs in a machine at best, is openly condoned by management at the highest levels, and is thus an activity that is widely practiced. Dr. Musacco's recommendations to fix USPS' culture and work environment are thoughtful and well-intended. However, I doubt that Congress will prioritize USPS work environment legislation. My former fellow employees are, unfortunately, stuck with what they have.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A researcher's perspective,
This review is from: Beyond Going Postal: Shifting from Workplace Tragedies and Toxic Work Environments to a Safe and Healthy Organization (Paperback)As a researcher and consultant in the area of workplace aggression and bullying, I am always on the lookout for detailed discussions of issues in organizations written by knowledgeable insiders. Steve Mussaco's book is a fine example of this.
Written by a postal insider and an experienced internal consultant focused on workplace violence and aggression, Musacco has a unique perspective on the working environment within the USPS. Drawing together relevant research (both academic and organizational) with examples from his own experience s, Musacco critically examines the various sets of data gathered by the USPS and by outside agencies and argues convincingly that the postal service continues to struggle with an authoritarian work culture that perpetuates a difficult, stressful and hostile work climate. While his critique of the USPS culture and climate is scathing, Musacco argues for the possibilities of building a respectful and health y USPS workplace and provides a detailed discussion of processes by which to facilitate this development.
- Loraleigh Keashly, Ph.D., Dept of Communication, Wayne State University, Detroit.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on Target! This is Real Talk from the Deckplate.,
This review is from: Beyond Going Postal: Shifting from Workplace Tragedies and Toxic Work Environments to a Safe and Healthy Organization (Paperback)I finally got around to reading this superb book, and I thought it was simply an outstanding account of the cultural reality inside the United States Postal Service TODAY. It depicts the reality of a bully leadership tone that has a significant negative impact on productivity in this work environment. It doesn't matter if you are a Letter Carrier, Clerk, Mail Handler, Mechanic, Custodian, Driver, Supervisor, Manager, Labor leader or work street Collections. You will relate to this deckplate perspective from this author who talks the walk, and walks the talk. He's been there, done that, and got the 20/20 hindsight to prove it.
The author talks about many of the cases where people have "Gone Postal" which are eye opening and make a past or present day worker say, "Only in this environment can someone get that mad." If you ever seen the movie "Die Hard" with Bruce Willis you might recall the scene where the terrorists are looking for him in the Nakatomi Tower and can't find him so they go back downstairs and get off the elevator kicking and slamming furniture and his wife is watching and she says words to the effect "he is still alive," and her friend says how do you know? And the wife says "only John can make someone that mad." That's the same impact of understanding I know, and others postal workers will get after reading the researched accounts of "Going Postal" by the author.
I commend the author for highlighting the top down authoritarian (autocratic) style of leadership present throughout this workplace. The work environment is driven by numbers first, and people second. This is the style you might expect to find on a battlefield, after an earthquake, disaster or other emergency where decisions have to be made quickly as a matter of life, death, or safety. Maybe folks leading are confused by the title "Postmaster GENERAL" on the mail battlefield. A place where I have never seen the General or any designated representative spending time with the troops and finding out how well the battlefield leaders are doing, and checking out the "mail battlefield" working conditions.
We all want to run our business more efficiently so it's time to bring in a team of experts to help!
This author on that team should be made a PRIORITY! He knows exactly what's going on, and breaks-it-down for the big wigs from the perspective of the "little people." It's time to train all leaders on this business team to tactfully engage all of our smart employees to work together with DIGNITY and RESPECT and lead the United States Postal Service into the 21st century.
Thank you Sir for a great read! This is a must read for all postal employees and should be in every leaders professional development library.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real story of the Postal Service.,
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine read,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Going Postal.,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beyond,
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't read yet,
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative and well-written examination of the abuse of authority within USPS.,
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good reading material,
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Beyond Going Postal: Shifting from Workplace Tragedies and Toxic Work Environments to a Safe and Healthy Organization by Stephen Musacco Ph.D. (Paperback - January 27, 2009)