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- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I have been working at US Postal Service as a contractor (More than a year)RecommendsNeutral OutlookApproves of CEORecommendsNeutral OutlookApproves of CEO
First: In this economy? The pay. New carriers start out at $15,30/hr and (even though your orientation leader may so you're not guaranteed 40 hrs/week) you will get a monstrous amount of overtime. Once you're past your first couple of months and you understand how to carry mail properly you will often work from 8a-6p nearly every day. Also with a few cities, like mine, you will work on Sundays for Amazon. This usually adds an additional 5 hours to the paycheck. Myself and other CCA's in the station work between 51-64 hours a week.
Secondly: You are your own boss for the most part. You will spend 1-2 hours a day in the office between receiving and casing your magazines and any left over letters that the machine didn't sort out. Once you've been in past the 90 day probationary period you are eligible to "hold down" an open route. If you are lucky enough to get a good long term hold (the regular is gone for injury or some other reason) you will learn how to case routes very quickly.
Third: Fitness. There's a lot of people who want to lose weight out there. I weighed 235 lbs when I first started working for the post office and now I weight 180. I lost 50 lbs in the first 3 months alone. It's all exercise though. You can diet if you want, but remember you'll need energy to walk those long routes.
Fourth: Coworkers. Yea, there are turds in every environment, but most of the career employees there are really pulling for you to succeed. Most carriers in my station are former military and a lot of them have been friends for decades. Being a CCA myself, I was worried about how well I'd fit in with some of the grizzled older carriers but they accepted me right away.
So where to begin. Well remember when I talked about working all that overtime in the Pros section? It's not optional. You will be expected to be at work every day of the week, including Sundays, unless you have a decent management staff. During the Christmas season I once worked for 53 days straight without an off day. We had new CCA's get hired and quit within weeks. Have a family? Tough luck. You will get to see them from 6:30pm till they go to sleep. Sundays you will likely get off work around 1-2pm.
Management is mostly compromised of people who are former carriers or clerks, which is nice because they promote from withing, but the devastating caveat to this is that most of them are uneducated persons. A fair amount of carriers start when they're in their late teens and early twenties and come from jobs that were minimum wage or did not require them to have any kind of leadership training. The managers don't care about the welfare of the employees mental status until it's too late, and most of them tend to act like they were never carriers at all by expecting completely ridiculous things from the CCA's and some career carriers. It's not unusual for a carrier to be given a 2 hr "assist" in addition to whatever their main route is. While most carriers can get this done without much issue, for a new carrier or even an experience carrier on a bad weather day, it can become very stressful mentally.
The threat of being fired is incredibly annoying as a CCA. If you call off sick, if you need to have a personal day, if you even need to pick your kids up from school because your wife got stuck late at the office, a manager will pull you aside and remind you of how expendable you are. The Paid Time Off (PTO) you accrue will come very quickly, and you'll soon realize you have 40 hours and would like a nice little vacation.. too bad you can't take it. As a CCA you're expected to work 360 days a year and then you get 5 days off as a reward and a massive paycheck AFTER your 5 days off. Now you can use that fat cash to...uhhh.. buy something I guess? Certainly would have been more useful if I got it before the 5 day period to use on my vacation.
While the career carriers are really great to deal with usually, the fellow CCA's can become very competitive. Often times if you're given an assist and it's better than another CCA's assist who has "seniority" over you they will complain to other carriers and management that they should have gotten the "good" assist. This is one of the fatal flaws that new people with struggle with. No matter how much faster you are, no matter how much more accurate you are, no matter what, everyone gets promoted by time with the post office. This leads to a lot of carriers just doing the bare minimum and putting the excess on other CCA's or carriers.
The final con (that I'll write about) is that the weather sucks. I know carriers who have been delivering mail for 20+ years and they still can't deal with the rain, the snow, or the heat. The heat is the biggest killer for carriers by far though. If you're in an area that suffers from hot, muggy summers, get ready to consume gallons of water every day, and sweat that out (often onto your customers mail). The worst is when it rains on a hot summer day and then evaporates right off your clothing. Makes you feel like a walking sauna.
Advice to Management
CCA's are people too. We have families, we get sick, we need to go the the bank. file our taxes, go to PTA meetings, etc. We understand the needs of the business as well as anyone else, but giving a CCA a day off once every 2-3 weeks isn't going to cost the company nearly as much as having a CCA quit and having to work regulars into V-time. Get your CCA's their uniform allotment on time and if they're within their 90 days loan them some of your rain gear. Stop telling people to "suck it up" because "you carried for 5 years with a broken foot, one eye, and a hook for a hand." If it sucked for you, it probably sucks for us. Think about what you would have wanted as a Carrier or CCA/PTF and let that help you dictate how to manage the post office. Your numbers are important, but they're not gonna get any better when the morale of the entire office is in the dumpster.
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Helpful (74)Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceEasy Interview
I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks – interviewed at US Postal Service in January 2015.
The entire process took just over a month, and about a month and a half till the start of orientation (Remember this is a government job so there's always extensive screening processes). I did an online application on December 10th, 2014. Following my submission, I was emailed a link to complete an online assessment. They both were fairly easy; it seemed more or less to see if you were competent (the second was more personality based questions).
A week later on December 17th I was emailed a link to sign up to do a proctored exam. This you have to complete within x amount of days (I think it was complete it within 5 days). I was worried since I obviously was working a different job and it was a week before Christmas. Luckily there was a date and time that I was available for. I signed up for Exam 473 Delivery, Distribution and Retail and took the exam on the last available day: December 22nd, 2014. There's plenty of practice exams and examples online so research it! Its not a typical exam and not a good one to walk into blindly. They will email you your results before you get home from the exam. I think the passing grade that qualifies you for the CCA position is 82%
A week later on December 29th, 2014 I was emailed an invite to interview face-to-face. Along with this email, they also send you links to complete a background check and to go in to a place to do a drug test (urinalysis).
They do mass interviews/orientations so they tell you a date and time and there's not much leeway. Mine was for January 6th, 2015. I walked into a conference room with 50 other people there for the same position. (I live in a large city with many cities/post offices so there were plenty of positions open). We filled out paperwork (In case we were offered a position it would be done already) and then the HR rep gave more details about the position to weed out any weak ones (which some people actually got up and left). Then we all were individually interviewed (5 at a time and my luck I was the last round of interviews...it took over 2 hours until my turn).
On to the actual interview:
It was easy...really easy. Whenever I do any job interview I always find something to connect me with my interviewer. Luckily this happened immediately. I like finding a connection because then you can mostly talk about that (instead of the job) and build a relationship getting them to really like you. My advice: be the one to ask questions and lead the interview. Anywho, the questions were so simple, mostly just to see if you are willing to battle the weather. Since I live in a region that gets bombarded with blizzards in the winter and extreme humidity in the summer, they just wanted to see if you were up to being outside and walking in the extreme conditions. It was basically just a compatibility interview to see if you grew up with a strong work ethic and if you can handle the outside world. At the end of the interview my interviewer told me she was going to recommend me for the position ( I don't know if they typically tell people that; I was just the last one of the day and we had good report so I think she told me to lessen the pain of being there all day).
2 days later on January 8th, 2015 I received another email giving me a conditional offer for the position contingent on passing a medical assessment. The medical assessment consisted of 3 questions just asking if you're on any current medication, if you have any current injuries, and if you have any past injuries that will prevent you from doing any functions of the job. I printed it out and emailed it back within 5 minutes.
Then on January 13th, 2015 I received my final email congratulating me on the position and confirming that I was actually being hired. In the email I received instructions on my week long paid orientation that starts January 26th, 2015.
Hope this helps. I will post another review after my orientation!
- Have you had a job requiring you to work outside before? 6 Answers
The United States Postal Service (USPS) handles cards, letters, and packages sent from sea to shining sea. The USPS delivers 177 billion pieces of mail a year (at an average of 584 million per day) to some 150 million addresses in the US and its territories. The independent government agency relies on postage and fees to fund operations. Though it has a monopoly on delivering the mail, the USPS faces competition for services such as package delivery. The US president appoints nine of the 11 members of the board who oversee the USPS. The presidential appointees select the...