Never a Dull Moment – 40 Years with FedEx
In 1973, I was looking for a job somewhere near the airport that was interesting and exciting. That’s when a friend of mine told me about this new company starting in Little Rock that was an airline for packages – not people. My friend sent a letter to Fred Smith to introduce me and I received a letter, along with an application for employment, from Mr. Smith, telling me that they were indeed thinking of expanding the operations to Memphis. I filled out the application and flew to Little Rock for my interview. The interview was a whirlwind and I got the job. It was a little overwhelming but I loved every minute of it.
I was first attracted to the company because it was something no one else has ever done before and it was run by young energetic people who wanted to make a difference. The P-S-P (People – Service – Profit) philosophy was apparent from the beginning. Soon after I started, I realized that this job was everything I had hoped for and more. Every day was different, exciting, and challenging. Everyone worked together toward a single goal – building the business. There was no real manual to go by – it was a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of job. A lot of times, we made it up as we went. If something worked, we kept it; if it didn’t, we threw it out and tried something else. We felt empowered to make decisions on a daily basis.
In the 1970s, a computer took up a whole room. Everything we did was handwritten. We had pens, paper and lots of enthusiasm! In an early (around 1973-74) meeting, Mr. Smith told us that one day we would be tracking packages on a computer that sat on our desk. We looked at him a little strange because it was very hard to imagine something that large sitting on your desk. His vision was always there – we just needed to grasp it.
I worked part-time, by choice, during the 1980s so I could raise my son and participate in his school activities. That was the best of both worlds – I had time with my son while experiencing the introduction of the computer in the workplace. I was able to learn a new skill that it is vitally important in today’s world. In 1991, there was an opening in public relations for a full time secretary. One of my part time co-workers, Linda Smith, and I applied for a full time job as one person. The corporate relations manager was so intrigued with the idea of job sharing that she hired us. Linda and I shared that job until 1994, when the full time media administrative assistant position came open. Linda took over the corporate relations job full time and I applied for the media job and got it. A win-win for everyone!
I’m still the media assistant and I love my job and all the young people I work with on a daily basis. Among other things, I answer the phones and direct reporters to the right person; post press releases on the wire; make briefing books for executive interviews; and take care of the needs of a staff of eight – three who work remotely, including my manager. Day-to-day communication is a huge part of my job.
FedEx has filled my life with great experiences. I’ve had the incredible opportunity and honor to travel to Scotland for the Panda Delivery and to New York to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. What a privilege to ring the bell on behalf of all 300,000 FedEx team members. I’m especially proud of all the long-time employees and of course, all the administrative assistants everywhere.
I love FedEx. It’s still a vibrant company that empowers its employees to keep discovering new ways to do business. In other words, it’s still exciting, interesting and challenging. Go FedEx!