We are never really ready for the shock of receiving discipline. I liken the stages that a seasoned manager goes through when they are issued proposed discipline, to grief. For most Postal managers our position has become who we are. Our life is focused around our work. When they are issued proposed discipline the manager suffers a loss of their self-esteem, integrity, and who they are as a person and manager.
A seasoned manager upon receiving the news that you may be getting discipline usually enter period of shock, or numbness, disbelief. Discipline only happens to people that deserve it. Some managers are unable to unable to function or perform even simple tasks or make decisions. They may have a sense of unreality, or feel like you are "sleepwalking". For some managers this stage can be very long. When talking to a manager I let them know that what they feel is NORMAL. They are not alone in their feelings. Sometimes while discussing it with them I list what they are going through. Their reaction is, how did you know? The typical feelings they have are:
Can't stop thinking about it.
Find it difficult to go to work and make decisions.
Asking themselves how did this happen?
As the shock wears off, the pain begins. This is a time of emotional upheaval which also can take on physical symptoms. Physical symptoms may include loss of appetite and weight, chest pain, insomnia and extreme fatigue. Emotional symptoms of sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, restlessness, and agitation may occur. This is the stage at which you need the most emotional support from friends, family and professional help such as EAP. This is also the period where a spouse or significant other doesn't understand the Postal Service system and tells or offers solutions that just can’t be done. Such as suing another employee or suing the Postal Service. The "roller coaster ride” of emotion can begin. During this period of time it is good for the manager to look over their proposed discipline and write down a detailed answer of the allegations so they may be used by their representative as a response. This accomplishes 2 things. It makes the manager feel empowered and it starts the preparation for the response.
Many but not all who go through this process start to see some improvement in their emotions as time passes. Successful or not after the discipline is over it is time to learn from the experience and let go. Don’t let one incident define you and your career.
I ask all members please do not go through this alone. If you don’t know who your state Chapter Member Representatives (CMR) are contact your state President for their contact information. You need representation from the very beginning of your discipline case. Your representation should start with the PDI, Pre Disciplinary Interview. Please do not let your pride or embarrassment stop you from contacting your local CMR to handle your discipline case from the beginning. It can become very difficult to defend you when we get a discipline case in the late stages. You should also feel free to contact your CMR to discuss any incidents that may have happened in your office that you may feel will lead to discipline. The CMR can give you guidance on how to proceed. The best discipline is the discipline avoided. As a UPMA member you have the best team available to Postal Managers.
Adverse Action Legal Services
Legal Defense Attorney
Hartley D. Alley
23107 Fairway Brg
San Antonio TX 78258-7129
Provides to legal representation in cases of removal, suspensions and demotions.
Statement to be read to OIG and/or Postal Inspectors:
I request to talk to my UPMA Adverse Action Counselor before answering any additional questions. If I am a suspect in a criminal matter, please so advise me. If so, I wish to contact an attorney.
(His/Her) name is: __________________________
Telephone number: (____) - ______ - ___________
If I am under arrest, I request you to so advise me and inform me of the reason or reasons.
I will not resist arrest.
I do not consent to a search of my person or property. However, I will not physically resist or obstruct such a search. If you have a search warrant, I request to see it at this time.
I will cooperate with you fully, but I do not waive any of my rights, including the right to remain silent. I will not sign a waiver -of -rights form, nor admit or deny any allegations, nor make any written or oral statement unless my attorney and/or UPMA Adverse Action Counselor are personally present and so advise me.