Australia PostMortem

By Bhushan Salunke
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On reaching home, I parked my car under the carport and went up to my letter box to retrieve my mail, as is my daily ritual. I found a letter from Australia Post, which read, “Due to the sudden resignation of our CEO, we are on the look-out for a suitable replacement (if at all we can find one who can match his calibre). Your qualification and experience appear to be suitable for the job and we invite you to attend an interview with us on 6 March in our office”.

Damn! The interview was the next day. As usual, Australia Post had delivered the mail late but the curious part was that the letter was not addressed to me but to someone in Canberra! Now, how did a letter bound for Canberra find its way into my Sydney letter box? Oops, I forget. The letter was delivered by Australia Post! Delayed and to the wrong address!!

Anyway, I decided to attend the interview because I was on a lucky streak for the last 10 days. I had won $20 in Lotto. So, I wanted to find out how far my luck would take me.

On the day of the interview, I dressed up like Postman Pat and rode on my pushbike to the Australia Post HQ, thinking that this may impress the interview panel. In the building, I was sent from pillar to post until I finally found the interview room. When I fronted the interview panel, I wasn’t too sure if my attire had any impact. One lady on the panel pointed at my clothes, and said, “Please explain.”

I pretended to be as dumb as a post and gave her a big smile.

The interview started post-haste and it went like this.

Panel: “Could you explain what measures you would take to boost profits for Australia Post?”

Me: “Simple. This is a no-brainer. These things are taught at every school for CEOs on the first day. I will reduce the headcount. Not chop heads off, of course.”  My attempt at humour was not well received.

Panel: “This has already been done by our CEO. Got any other drastic measures?”

Me: “There is one lazy way. I will double the postage stamp charges and thus increase the revenue. Australia Post is a monopoly in this area, anyway.”

Panel: “You have been pipped to the post on this one too. This has been done. Give us some real actions, please. Show us the money.”  They all rolled their eyes and yawned.

Me: “The mail delivery side of the business is bleeding money. So, I’ll abolish all mail deliveries and along with it, the posties. This will improve the bottom line. In this age of IT, people are communicating online, more and more. If people really want to communicate by post, I have an idea. They could visit their nominated local post office, supermarket or pub in their suburbs to drop and collect their letters in person. We could look at outsourcing the mail delivery service to delivery experts such as Dominos Pizza! So, now you can get your mail along with your pizza.

“I am also proposing using drone technology. Mail can be delivered to people in the bush and to people trapped in motorway traffic jams, using drones.

“The parcel delivery business is the cash cow. I will make it even more profitable by sending text messages to customers and get them to pick up their parcels from our warehouses, instead of Australia Post delivering the parcels to them. This is similar to what the supermarkets are doing at their self check-out counters. I can then sack all delivery personnel and stamp out the wage bill.”

I saw the panel nodding their heads in approval and agreement.

Out of the blue, the lady on the panel (can’t recollect her name) asked: “Bhushan, which is more difficult to operate, a fish and chips shop or Australia Post?”

I knew this was a trick question and took some time to think the answer over.

Me: “I think running a fish and chips shop is more demanding and challenging. The fish and chips shop cannot afford to make its customers wait three days for their order to be processed. Australia Post can get away with such poor service. Also, fish and chips shops work in a fast-moving and dynamic environment whereas Australia Post deals in snail mail.”

The lady appeared satisfied with the answer and she gave me the thumbs up.

Panel: “Do you have any questions for the panel?”

Me: “Yes. Why is the CEO resigning? Is the job stressful and demanding? Does one have to work 80 hours per week? Can I expect to have a work-life balance?”

The panel members looked sheepishly at one and another.

Panel: “Australia Post is not a good paymaster. So, employees are always looking for greener pastures.”

Me: “So, how much does this job pay?”

Panel: “The starting salary for this position is $6 million per annum plus perks, super and bonus. Hoping that it meets your expectations.”

My eyes popped out and I stamped my feet in glee. Wow! That’s a king’s ransom but how much will I pay in tax? I will probably have to buy the Taj Mahal and negative gear it to minimise tax.

Me: “I’ll take the position. I would love to leave my stamp on this job. When do I start?”

Panel: “We have to interview a couple of women candidates for the sake of gender equality and equal opportunity.”

Me: “OK. Please keep me posted and don’t send my appointment letter in the mail. I don’t want it getting lost. I’ll come over and pick it up.”

 

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