As a paralegal, I learned efficiency. I had to. When you have to account for your entire day -- everyday -- you learn to cut waste and not screw around too much. And beyond that you learn ways to take less time doing a particular task. At my old firm, I had to bill my time in six minute increments -- so, if a task took less than six minutes, I would bill 0.1 hours of time to the client for that task. If the task took an hour and sixteen minutes, I would bill that at 1.3 hours of time. You get the idea.
Certainly my efficiency has taken a bit of a break since leaving my day job. When there is no one to review your numbers each month to make sure that you billed at least 90% of your time in the office, it makes it much easier to slack. But even so, when I have to do certain things, I just want to get them done and move on. Not being able to do so wears my already thin patience.
Enter the US Postal Service. I've had four sales in four days (hooray for this newbie!) and am up to 13 sales overall, so I've made a few trips to the post office. I've not yet forced myself to learn how to print postage and schedule pick-ups, so I'm doing it the old fashioned way for now. Anyway, no matter what time of day I go to the post office, the line is always long and there are never more than two people working the windows. Being a fairly efficient person, I know before I go in what I need and want. So, inevitably, I wait 15 minutes in line to finally reach the person at the window. Then, when I get there, I say something along the lines of "hello, I have this package to ship to [fill in the blank]. I want it to go parcel post (or priority or whatever) and I need insurance but nothing else extra. It is not fragile, perishable, does not contain liquids, and is not hazardous." I am very nice and cheerful, always. Without fail, the person will take the package, look at it for a few seconds, bring up the computer screen, punch in the zip, and then proceed to tell me all the different ways I can send it, ask me if I need insurance, delivery confirmation, or any other extras, and ask whether it is fragile, hazardous, perishable or contains liquids! As much as the monster inside my head screaming wants to be unleashed, I just politely answer the questions and remain cheerful.
I can appreciate that these folks are there to work their 30 years and collect their pensions. I understand that they are never in a hurry. But, if I'm in a hurry, can't they at least not ask all the questions that I've already answered?
So, here's my incentive to learn to print postage and avoid the post office. And my lesson in patience.