Thursday, 2 January 2014

UK QSL Bureau: The Next RSGB Crisis?

The RSGB's QSL card bureau is, like all the others operated voluntarily across the world, a very valuable service with a long history.

But is there trouble brewing within the bureau?  Recent experience suggests there may be.

QSL Cards: Think before you send.

One bureau manager seemed, from the content of his e-mails, to be under quite a lot of stress.  He offered apologies when all operators were doing was asking for a general idea of when the next lot of cards would come through.  Whilst annoying to a busy manager, the ops certainly weren't complaining; offering an apology simply wasn't necessary.  Whilst a link between one thing and another is not known, a few weeks later, after the RSGB's duty of care to its helpers was pointed out to its officers, that manager is ending his hard work of very many years.

Now, the RSGB may well be doing 'health checks' on its QSL managers on a regular basis for all I know.  But I don't get that impression from those few managers I have been in contact with nor, it has to be said, from limited exchanges with the RSGB central bureau management.

In another example, a manager asked me if I really needed all the cards sent to my by one particular operator.  I was happy to to receive only one of the cards from the same operator if it helped some poor sod have a quieter Christmas. 

And then, just a few days later, I had a series of e-mails from a manager who was again exhibiting clear signs of stress in his wording.  I later learned he was disabled.  He complained that he should only be getting a couple of thousand cards a month, but was receiving five times that volume.  He, too, is now giving it all up.  One can hardly blame him.

So, whilst we all gleefully fill QSL cards by their hundreds, someone, somewhere has to sort them all out.  Whilst we may 'know' this, we operators don't seem to spare a moment to think about the welfare of those QSL managers.  I'm worried that the RSGB may also need to spend more time on its QSL managers.

It seems from recent experience that a lot of these people are, by necessity, very meticulous and methodical people, who may well be predisposed to worrying more about any inability to keep up with the volume of work.  That makes them vulnerable.  It means someone should, from time to time, be asking if they are coping.  Do they need help?  Do they, indeed, want to hang up their postman's cap?

There is no shame in being unable to cope with an unreasonable amount of work.  Especially when it's done voluntarily.  QSL cards are, in the end, only postcards that someone puts in a bin when you've finally gone SK.  It's worth remembering that sober fact, rather than assigning too much importance onto bits of cardboard.

If there is indeed a crisis out there amongst the various QSL managers, they would do themselves and the bureau some good if they all said "enough."  It will force a new way of doing things

1 comment:

  1. I send qsl cards only to new for me countries & IOTA's in case they didn't using LOTW.
    The Logbook of the World (LOTW) its the qsl method for the 21 century I suppose. Lets hamming instead writing & collecting qsl cards. Its more funny and kepps the shack paperless.
    Unfortunately, some DX stations needs only green stamps to reply and some of them didn't reply even.
    I wish you a Happy New Year and good DX.