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being a mailman is a degrading job

Old 03-25-16, 08:12 PM
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being a mailman is a degrading job

I just started to deliver the mail for USPS 2 weeks ago.
I hate the job and will just do one full year and say I did it for one year. As a carrier it is not as easy as the movies portray. The deadlines, tons of Amazon packages, strict following by mgt via gps is just mind numbing at times. Not to mention when it rains on you all day ( I live in Seattle). I am paid a lousy 16.06 per hr for this.
Today I needed to use the restroom. I said you can help a mailman out and let me use the restroom at 7-11, the other place was a gym. I was denied. Yeah its alright to say that but unless you are in the industry you have no idea what a godsend a toilet can be.
So everyday at this its eat lunch with dirty hands and junk food at the gas station or 7-11 or eat cold sandwiches. I have even gone to the bathroom in the vehicle cause of no restroom nearby and behind on the route.

I admire carriers who have been doing this for years cause everyday feels like you are going adventure camping. I am what they call a CCA non career carrier. I went to 3 offices this week no idea where anything is and carry a GPS and hope for the best.

I think UPS is a way better job, when I did it during holidays me and the driver always have a full 30 min break to eat, use the restroom to clean up and was not worried mgt was going to follow us and write us up for a legal 30 min break.

Rant over.
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Old 03-25-16, 08:34 PM
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I work on the field as well. People have no idea how lucky they are if they have toilet access in their workplaces. I use gas stations, but I have to buy something... they have signs that say "you can't pee for free, bathrooms are for customers only". And even then, you never know when you gonna have a drunk or a hobo huggin the public bathroom... and your phone beeping with txt messages "why aren't you moving?"... while you jump up and down waiting for your turn.
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Old 03-25-16, 08:47 PM
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op, thanks for sharing. i really respect mail carriers and the service i receive from the usps. (i'm in seattle too.)

as an aside, have you read bukowski's short novel, 'post office'? he's a favorite of mine and has done his time working these kind of jobs. i could also recommend his poetry and the novel, 'ham on rye.'

here he is reading my favorite of his poetry: something for the touts, the nuns, the grocery clerks, and you

hope you enjoy it. maybe you could work on your own novella in the coming year. i'm sure you'll acquire plenty of material.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:05 PM
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We have a woman letter carrier. One day she remarked that she was glad the work site across the street had a port-o-jon. I said she could use ours, but she declined.

My dad was a letter carrier for 30+ years.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:08 PM
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Back when I had my own company, it was our standard operating procedure to be very welcoming to the various delivery drivers, the building maintenance people, etc. We depended on them. They could use the restrooms, get a cup of coffee or fill a water bottle, use our microwave, if we had an occasion with snacks in the office we'd offer them, etc.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but occasionally we would need a favor (like asking the UPS guy to give us another 5 minutes to get something ready to go). Treat people with kindness and respect and you will usually get the same back.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:14 PM
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Like in the story "Grapes of Wrath" some people treat animals better then they do humans. Be proud of your job, it is hard work, something that a lot of other people seem to be alergic to.

Last edited by elmore leonard; 03-25-16 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:38 PM
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My carrier said his pension plan went down the tubes. I guess he's stocking up on as much overtime as he can get. What a way to finish your career.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:51 PM
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Well maybe degrading is a bad choice of words. I don't know if I will make it past my 90 days probation. I miss more than half of the scan points to see if I am on time every day cause my mind is full trying to remember which blocks has parcels to deliver to. Making a u turn kills the time.
Not sure if they need scan points on me, I'm behind everyday count on it!
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Old 03-25-16, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
My carrier said his pension plan went down the tubes. I guess he's stocking up on as much overtime as he can get. What a way to finish your career.
At the station carriers start at 700am and don't get a break whatsover till Lunch, not even 5 mins to relax. Thats everyday from the 3 stations I have been to.
And all of them get OT especially the walking routes, you can thank Amazon for all that OT.
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Old 03-25-16, 09:55 PM
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So where do you send the mail for the jerks at 7-11? Hopefully someplace far far away.
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Old 03-26-16, 01:34 AM
  #11  
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I've had family and friends in the post office dating back several generations. Yep, it's a difficult job. Yep, conditions have gotten worse, in part due to the Congressional mandate to pre-fund the retirement program, and consequent lowering of standards and hiring of more temps. And, yep, Amazon and other mail order retailers have changed the game.

I sympathize, but you're lucky to have a job at all in this economy. Especially with competition from UPS, FedEx and others, and with Congress always threatening to make the post office completely obsolete.

And the pay isn't that bad for the work, compared with others. I worked a freight dock for $10 an hour loading and unloading trucks, as a casual with no benefits or overtime, while the union guys drove the forklifts. We were expected to load and unload at least two 18-wheeler trailers per shift, and it didn't matter whether the loads were nuts and bolts or glass crystal. We got breaks every four hours, including lunch, and in summer I was too hot and exhausted to eat and had to force myself to drink enough water to keep going without being dehydrated. There was a water fountain nearby but we weren't supposed to use it unless we were on official break, and weren't allowed to carry our own water.

My cousin is a temp mail carrier and just started part time for Amazon, which will pay less for physically harder work and performance requirements that are just as difficult if not more so.

Since Congress screwed up the USPS several years ago, we've seen a revolving door of different mail carriers, each doing the job differently. The regular permanent carrier kept getting sick of injured -- that's the claim anyway. But it didn't seem to matter whether the permanent carrier or various temps were delivering. Some would deliver letters and packages by the book. Others wouldn't deliver at all, fraudulently claiming they'd attempted delivery, or leaving notes telling us we needed to go to the post office to retrieve our mail or packages. Some would use the package locker boxes, others would claim the locker boxes were broken (they weren't). Some would tell us we needed to go outside to fetch our own packages from the trucks because the boxes were too heavy and the carrier didn't have a cart. Some would deliver to our doors, some would leave packages with the apartment complex manager (who would make up her own rules, including designating only one or two days a week for package pickups). Some would improve service around the Christmas holiday, then slack off again by January.

Complaining about the service is a tricky affair. If you give them your name, you're likely to end up on someone's crap list for retaliation and even worse delivery service. And if you say nothing it just gets worse. The local postmaster will cautiously acknowledge there are problems, but give you the impression they can't do much about it. The national ombudsman's office will promise improvements, but who knows whether they really do. Maybe it's just a coincidence that service improves for awhile, and it's really just the mood of the temp carrier.

Our current carrier is the best we've had in years, and I tell her so whenever I see her or she delivers a package to the door, including my latest Nashbar delivery a few days ago. I hope we can keep her.

So if you do a good job, chances are at least some of your customers will appreciate it because they've probably experienced the same wildly erratic service we have over the past several years. Do your best and try to stay sane.
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Old 03-26-16, 06:20 AM
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I've know a couple folks that carried mail. None of them lasted long. It's hard hard job.

Next time I see my carrier, I'm going to make sure I thank them earnestly. I never knew about the GPS following and that stuff.

AND... It's a big load of crap that a business would not allow their mail carrier to use their bathroom. I'll bet that's the mindless front end who was told by their boss to deny it to ALL but customers. Like the grocery store clerk that cards a 61 year old for beer. It's not that I look so young, it's that their boss thinks they are too stupid to make a good judgement call and therefore demands they card all.

Hang in there, get past the 90 days and spend your evenings on USAJOBS.GOV

Thank you for all you hard work!
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Old 03-26-16, 06:45 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
So where do you send the mail for the jerks at 7-11? Hopefully someplace far far away.
I might suggest their own dumpster after making sure it out of camera range.
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Old 03-26-16, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Back when I had my own company, it was our standard operating procedure to be very welcoming to the various delivery drivers, the building maintenance people, etc. We depended on them. They could use the restrooms, get a cup of coffee or fill a water bottle, use our microwave, if we had an occasion with snacks in the office we'd offer them, etc.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but occasionally we would need a favor (like asking the UPS guy to give us another 5 minutes to get something ready to go). Treat people with kindness and respect and you will usually get the same back.
Amen brother.

I find the same thing just about in any store when I am looking for unusual items or back stock... treat people not like faceless clerks but as people, and suddenly you find they are willing to go out of their way to help.
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Old 03-26-16, 08:18 AM
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How do you get into the USPS in urban areas? When I lived in rural WV people would drive rural routes in their personal cars for years, as contractors I guess, before getting a shot at hired on as actual employees.

I love our carrier, I have always loved the USPS. To the extent that our current PO is falling short I know it's not the fault of the staff but external forces working to make their jobs harder.
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Old 03-26-16, 09:11 AM
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I know a guy that's been a mailman for over 25 years and he's really good at what he does but a total slacker too. I've volunteered on the mail mans food drive for years too and seen some of the other postal employees this guy complains about too. He just keeps his head down and does his job while management and the new hires make things worse for him.
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Old 03-26-16, 12:28 PM
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It is the small packages and parcels that will keep the post office going as more and more people and companies turn to the internet.

It sounds like restrooms are a bit of a pain. I'm often out doing errands on my bike, and I've learned some of the easy access places along my routes including knowing where all the park restrooms are (if only the city would turn the drinking fountain water back on after the winter). Department stores are good, but take some time, and I'm a customer... well, sometime. I got annoyed when I was on a 100+ mile ride, and a small convenience store along the marked Oregon Scenic Bikeway denied restroom access (I didn't buy anything there, and won't stop in ever again). I think I got hit on that trip with park restrooms being closed too.

If you do inside business deliveries on your route, many may allow restroom access without a second thought.

Assuming you have a regular route, I'd encourage you to get to know some of your customers. It may only be sharing a smile or warm "hello", but take the effort to make the personal connection. It will make your job more pleasant for all.
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Old 03-26-16, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It is the small packages and parcels that will keep the post office going as more and more people and companies turn to the internet.

It sounds like restrooms are a bit of a pain. I'm often out doing errands on my bike, and I've learned some of the easy access places along my routes including knowing where all the park restrooms are (if only the city would turn the drinking fountain water back on after the winter). Department stores are good, but take some time, and I'm a customer... well, sometime. I got annoyed when I was on a 100+ mile ride, and a small convenience store along the marked Oregon Scenic Bikeway denied restroom access (I didn't buy anything there, and won't stop in ever again). I think I got hit on that trip with park restrooms being closed too.

If you do inside business deliveries on your route, many may allow restroom access without a second thought.

Assuming you have a regular route, I'd encourage you to get to know some of your customers. It may only be sharing a smile or warm "hello", but take the effort to make the personal connection. It will make your job more pleasant for all.
I can really relate to the lack of restroom issue... I like to go on long walks... hours worth. Well, unless you are in the middle of a business area, there are NO public restrooms. The US just doesn't work that way... and even in a downtown business area, there are the "are you a customer" issues. Even residential areas with parks often close and lock the restrooms for a season or due to vandalism.

I recall walking in Mission Bay park in San Diego, where they do have public restrooms, but they would seasonally close some, and others were closed due to vandalism, and then suddenly you are left with long stretches of no available public restrooms... But apparently no park manager thinks that far ahead...

Recently around Portland... walking in parks, and they are all locked for winter. (sorry, don't recall the names of the parks) But hey, there were people around... so the park was being used, (disc golf) but there simply were no open restrooms.
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Old 03-26-16, 01:04 PM
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If the parks departments don't want to winterize or heat their restrooms, then they should just drop some blue boxes around.

When I need to go, I don't care if it is a regular restroom, or a blue box...

In parts of Europe, if there is no public restroom available, people will just go against a building, or at the end of a bridge. It can be pretty nasty. I don't mind using nature's restroom facilities when in an isolated area, but won't do it where there are gobs of people.
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Old 03-26-16, 09:49 PM
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[h=1]A Mailman Handcuffed in Brooklyn, Caught on Video[/h]
...could be worse, might get that way.
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Old 03-27-16, 11:45 AM
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OK but .. secure Pension + a Trade Union, + you get retirement credits for your Military service years ..

a couple people , here, I know, got their Army & USCG time in ..
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Old 03-27-16, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If the parks departments don't want to winterize or heat their restrooms, then they should just drop some blue boxes around.

When I need to go, I don't care if it is a regular restroom, or a blue box...

In parts of Europe, if there is no public restroom available, people will just go against a building, or at the end of a bridge. It can be pretty nasty. I don't mind using nature's restroom facilities when in an isolated area, but won't do it where there are gobs of people.
The problem with "nature's restroom" is that if you are spotted it can turn into a sex offender thing due to the way some laws are written. Pretty nasty office for just urinating.

I certainly have no problem with using a porta-potty... in fact, from time to time I see them at housing construction sites and I take advantage of the situation that otherwise would be uncomfortable.
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Old 03-27-16, 08:20 PM
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On the bright side, I eat twice what I eat for dinner and a nice dessert without gaining a pound.
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Old 03-29-16, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 2702 View Post
Today I needed to use the restroom. I said you can help a mailman out and let me use the restroom at 7-11, the other place was a gym. I was denied. Yeah its alright to say that but unless you are in the industry you have no idea what a godsend a toilet can be.
So everyday at this its eat lunch with dirty hands and junk food at the gas station or 7-11 or eat cold sandwiches. I have even gone to the bathroom in the vehicle cause of no restroom nearby and behind on the route.
Wow, I never thought of that, mail carriers having to go to the bathroom, but of course it's an obvious need. I have a bladder of steel, and I still go once or twice every day at my office job, and mail carriers being outside and walking all day should be drinking more water than I do.

So what is the 'official' policy? USPS can't expect carriers to work a full day without having to go, what do they say you should do? Are you just on your own to develop a map of available public restrooms on your route?
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Old 03-29-16, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 2702 View Post
being a mailman is a degrading job. I just started to deliver the mail for USPS 2 weeks ago.
I hate the job........
I myself am totally unaware of what could possibly be degrading about honest work. I wouldn't expect the position to be FUN... or even enjoyable. But you know.... countless humans have found satisfaction and even moments of true joy... during times of war and even confinement. I wouldn't think earning a living would feel so bad.

I've worked at more than one career in my lifetime (I am now retired). One of those careers was in government. To be honest although I found that position financially rewarding.... I didn't find it enjoyable. But it paid the bills and for that I was thankful.

What I did at the time to make my life more enjoyable and well rounded... was I found an avocation. First I found a part-time job (based on some skills I already had).... that I found very satisfying. Then I picked up a hobby that expanded on those same skills [that were] exploited by the part-time position. I know it may not seem obvious to fine relief from work you hate.... by finding more hours of work somewhere else. But it worked out well for me.

I think it would be wonderful to find employment at something that was also a pleasure. A good goal... and well worth the pursuit and effort.

But even if you fail to ever find a great job that you love... I know for a FACT, that you can still live a very full, happy, and even enviable life. And there is nothing degrading about that.
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