The Post Office is Still Hiring!

 

 

 

 

 

This blog was created to let you know the Post Office is still hiring!

 

 

The media has been relentless in their pursuit to tell the world the Post Office is about to collapse. I must disagree. The Post Office is losing money quarter after quarter because of a terrible law passed during the Bush (W) presidency. Congress passed a law that required the Post Office to pre-fund the health care benefits of its employees for the next 75 years, and do it in 10 years. That is five and a half billion dollars a year! Without this overly ambitious law the Post Office would actually be making money. Congress is being forced to once again look at this law, and they will fix it.

Don’t get me wrong; the Post Office is facing some tough problems. First class mail volume continues to decline. People are using the Internet for communication and to pay bills online. Businesses are using it for advertising. The aging postal workforce is at the height of the pay scale. To top it off, we have been in a long economic down turn.

That is exactly the reason the Post Office is hiring.

The Post Office has a new contractual agreement with its largest union the APWU. This agreement allows for the Post Office to replace the clerks who are retiring at the highest pay levels with new clerks who not only start at the bottom, but new steps have been added to keep them from making high levels for years.  They also agreed to the creation of a new classification of non-career employee who start at $12-$15/hour. These PSE’s will make up to 20% of the clerk workforce.

The Post Office is pushing the use of non-career and entry level employees to replace the highly paid employees who are retiring. Transitional City Carriers are being hired to replace City Carriers at $22/hour. Temporary Relief Carriers are replacing Rural Carriers and Rural Carrier Associates at $13.05/hour. Replacing the highly paid employees with lower wage earning people is going to save the Post Office millions of dollars.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you about these low wage and temporary jobs. $12-$22/hour doesn’t sound like much. (Well, maybe $22/hour sounds pretty good.) The reason I am telling you about these jobs is because that is how I started. I started as a Casual Carrier making $8/hour in 1994 (for four months). I knew it was a non-career job, but I figured the best way to get a career job was to get my foot in the door. It worked. Next, I became a Rural Carrier Associate (RCA), another non-career job. However, RCA’s are permitted to bid on open Rural Carrier positions. I worked 35-50 hours a week for three years as an RCA until I earned the seniority to become a Rural Carrier, a career position.

Now is a great time to get your foot in the door and get a job with the Post Office. When Congress passes the new Postal Reform Bill and The Post Office pushes many of these highly paid employees out the door with an early-out incentive package including a cash bonus to retire, there will be career positions to fill. Until then, get a “non-career” position and be ready to pounce when the time comes.

There are thousands of jobs posted on the Post Office web site:

http://about.usps.com/careers/welcome.htm

This link takes you to the career page. In the top right box click on “Search our latest job openings”. This will take you to the searchable job database. (That is an entire post in itself.) See my “Resources” page for help with this.

My goal is to help you get a job with the Post Office. They are hiring. There have been three employees hired in my office in the last month!

Check out my “Resources” page for more helpful information.

 

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The Post Office is a Great Opportunity For Today’s Young People

A non-career job with the Post Office is a great opportunity for today’s young people. There are many ways to take advantage of a part time job with the USPS. I know many people who have used a postal job as part-time income while they are working on a degree or path to their future career. There have been others who have a different full time job, and use their postal job to supplement their income. Then there are those who started out part-time and decided to make a career out of the Post Office.

It is all over the news that it is hard for recent high school graduates to find employment in these tough economic times. The Post Office would make a great choice for some of these new job seekers. A non-career job as a PSE (Postal Support Employee), RCA (Rural Carrier Associate), TRC (Temporary Rural Carrier), Transitional City Carrier, Postmaster Relief, and as a casual employee could be a great opportunity for a young person to make pretty decent money while getting their education. Some college students work day positions (RCA, TRC, casuals, etc.) and go to school at night. Some others work as a PSE or casual at the plants and go to school during the day. In my experience it is much easier to get a supervisor or postmaster to work with your schedule if you are in a post office rather than at a processing facility or plant.

The second way to benefit from a non-career job is to work at the Post office on a part-time basis and have another job to fill in when you are available. For example, a Postmaster Relief usually only works on Saturday to fill in for the Postmaster on their day off. Because of this, the PMR can get another job to fill in some hours during the week. The Postmaster can give advance notice for vacations or surgeries, so plenty of notice will be given to the other employer. I know an RCA who has a full time job in a public school system that has been an RCA for over twenty years (he has turned down a career Rural Carrier job over twenty times). He makes over $15,000 a year at the Post Office working every Saturday and filling in for four weeks of vacation. Not bad for a part-time job. It is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to work on their business. A small business can be worked around an RCA, TRC, or PMR position.

The third way to take advantage of a non-career Post Office job is to use it to get to a career position. A young person may not be in the place to want a full time job right away. So a job such as an RCA might be a great way to start. They may only work a couple of days a week for a while. But, as their seniority builds and they learn more routes, they begin to get more hours. Before they realize it they are working nearly forty hours a week (much better chance in a big rural office). A few years later they may have the opportunity to become a full time Rural Carrier.

A career position may also be attained by learning the system while you are a part-time employee. For example, it is much easier to get a job as a City Carrier if you start out as a Transitional City Carrier or a Casual Carrier. If you are a good employee and learn the job it will really help boost your test score when a City Carrier job becomes available in the office. Also, who will the Postmaster hire if they have a list of six people they do not know, and one hard-working person who already works for them?

The Post Office is a great opportunity for today’s college-aged men and women. There are many ways to benefit from a part-time job with the USPS. A career position may be the best outcome.

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Rural Carrier is the Best Job In the Post Office!

I am not alone in the opinion that the Rural Carrier position is the best job in the postal service. If you surveyed Postmasters and Supervisors that have Rural Carriers in their office, most of them would agree that being a Rural Carrier is the best way to go. That is because if you consider stress, pay, hours, and autonomy in your work, there is no better position.

Stress is a major consideration when deciding to join the Post Office. Most positions have a good deal of stress involved with the job. The number one source of stress comes from your direct supervisor. Because you are “on the clock”, the supervisor tries to get as much work out of you as possible. When they are being pressed by their superiors to cut hours, they put it on you to do more work in less hours. In many jobs they are standing directly behind you telling you to work faster. It can be very stressful.

Rural Carriers, on the other hand, are salaried employees. They are paid a daily rate for their routes based on its size. It doesn’t matter if they take four or ten hours to run their route, they are paid the daily evaluation. There is no benefit involved with getting a Rural Carrier to work faster, so most supervisors just leave them alone to do their own work.

That takes us to the next benefit of being a Rural Carrier, the hours. Most Rural Carriers work under their daily evaluations. There is a built in benefit to being a salaried employee on a rural route. When you get finished with your route, you get to go home. But, you get paid for the entire daily evaluation of the route. I know carriers on eight hour routes that hardly ever work more than six hours a day!

The pay for Rural Carriers is very good. When a rural route is evaluated above eight hours a day, that overtime is automatically added into the daily pay. For example, an 8.5 hour five-day route is paid 43 hours a week. Three hours overtime are given every single week, whether or not you actually worked over 40 hours. That three hours a week overtime adds up when you get it every week of the year. A new regular Rural Carrier on a 40 hour route makes just over $40,000 a year. Add the three hours overtime and now they are at $45,000 a year. Once a carrier has reached all the step increases (about 12 years) they can expect to be in the $60,000 a year range. Not bad for less than eight hours a day!

Autonomy is another benefit to being a Rural Carrier. As mentioned before, they do not clock in and out. They have the freedom to work at whatever pace they feel like for the day (assuming they make it back for mail dispatch…usually around 5:30 P.M.). If the need arises for them to be off by a certain time (school bus, teachers conference, etc..) they can pick up the pace, work extra fast, and be off in time without using leave as other crafts would have to do (if they could get permission). This autonomy extends to how they do their work also. They have the choice of deciding how to case their mail, what to case or take to the street (DPS), and how to deliver it. As long as everything gets delivered they are left to decide for themselves how best to get it done.

Being a USPS employee for seventeen years and doing a variety of jobs (City Carrier, Rural Carrier, Casual Clerk, and fill-in Supervisor), I believe that Being a Rural Carrier is definitely the best position. For me, having the autonomy to be in control of my own day is the most important. I don’t feel the stress of being on the clock. Also, having my very own sub to fill in when I need off is nice. (Rural Carriers all have the right to their own sub!)

Check out my “Resources Page” to find out how to get a Rural Carrier job. You must be an RCA to become a Rural Carrier.

 

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Update:

The Arbitration Panel came back with a new contract for the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association for 2010-2015 (back-dated).

The Delivery Point Sequenced Mail standards have been changed from 30 pieces per minute to 43 pieces per minute for carriers delivering in an LLV.

This change has reduced the weekly pay for an average route by two hours. (When using an LLV). This has caused many Rural Carriers to lose their day off. The standards change along with managements ability to manipulate mail counts has had a real negative effect on Rural Carriers pay.

The Rural Carrier position remains a good one for all of the other reasons stated in the article, but wages are under attack.

 

 

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How to Get Hired at the Post Office

How do you get a job at the Post Office? Most people think that you get hired at the Postal Service by knowing someone (usually a family member) who works there. There is some truth to this thought. The reason that quite a few people with connections get hired is because they have been told the process the Post Office uses by someone they know. It’s not about nepotism, it’s about knowledge.

The process the Post Office uses to hire new employees has changed over the years. In the past it was important to find out the test dates for hiring career employees. Postal employees were the first to hear about these dates, so they told their friends and family members. There was a real benefit to knowing someone in the Post Office.

That old hiring system has been completely revamped. Now, all postal jobs are posted online. Everyone has the same opportunity to see the jobs posted on the USPS website. Just click on the link, put in your search criteria, and the job listings are there…ready for your application.

There are some drawbacks to the new system. You can’t just walk into the Post Office and talk to the Postmaster and get a part-time job, like I did. Even casual ($8 hour when I started) employees must go through the posting system and apply online.

The hiring process can be handled without assistance, but to speed up the process I recommend a book by T.W. Parnell called “How to Really Get Postal Jobs”. This along with some other valuable resources are available on my Resources Page.

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Is a Post Office Job the Right Fit for You?

Before you jump onto the Post Office website and begin to scroll down all the job postings looking for a job in your area, you need to find out if the Post Office is a good fit for you. In my seventeen years at the Post Office I have worked with hundreds of people. Most of them have moved on. Yes, some have gone on to retirement, but most have left looking for a different way to earn a living. Surprisingly, many of these “quitters” have been career employees. Why would a federal employee with good pay and great benefits walk away from their positions? It is because the Post Office is not a good fit for everyone!

There are many reasons that the Post Office may not be a good fit for you. For one, the job is not as easy as we make it look. I know when you see a carrier out delivering mail on a beautiful sunny summer day you think to yourself that she really has it made. But, you did not know that she came in at 7:30 and cased the 4,000 letters and flats that were sitting at her workstation. Yes, she has to put all that mail in delivery order before she hits the street four hours later. Also, she may have more mail to case when she gets back from the route for the next day. Not to mention all the fun things she may run into on her route like a biting dog that comes out when a four year old opens the door for a package. The worst of it all is the weather! Forget that “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds” motto, we hate bad weather. Especially snow. The Post Office has given us a rear wheel drive, super lightweight, aluminum bodied vehicle to drive up and down the hills in the snow and ice. It doesn’t work so well. No, this job is not as easy as it looks!

Another reason the Post Office may not be a good fit for everyone is the management structure and style. It is very bureaucratic. Decisions are made for your unit from several levels above your boss. For example, a hypothetical event has occurred involving a city carrier that has tripped while delivering mail and broke his arm. The supervisor has done his investigation and learned that the carrier wasn’t paying attention and tripped over a curb while checking out a sweet Mustang. But, the area manager also noticed that the carrier had yellow shoestrings in his shoes. Because of this, yellow shoestrings will now be banned throughout the area. Also, new “teams” will be created and sent out to make sure that postal employees are wearing no yellow shoestrings. Reports will be written, meetings will be held, and green shoestrings will be added to the banned list. This is the bureaucratic nature of the Post Office. It is also an autocratic style, in which nearly zero input is considered from the working ranks. This type of management structure and style is not for everyone.

The last thing I want to mention about the Post Office is the high level of stress the employees undergo on a daily basis. Each and every day as a postal employee you are forced to get the days mail out. It is a never-ending cycle. Plant employees must get the mail sorted and on the trucks. Truck drivers must get the mail to the stations. Mail handlers (if there are any left) and clerks must break down the mail. Clerks must sort and distribute it to the carriers. The carriers have to get it all in route sequence and deliver it to the customers. This all has to be done in the least amount of work hours possible. That is accomplished by a supervisor breathing down your neck all day long (unless you are a rural carrier, they have a different stress called a “mail count”). Then you start over the next day.

This is a very broad overview of the Post Office. There are many areas and offices (especially small ones) that are nothing like I have described. Individual offices go through different work cultures depending on the current management, both locally and area wide. And once you know your job well it doesn’t seem to be very difficult. I didn’t write this post to scare you away from the Post Office, but to give you an honest picture of what to expect. It is up to you to determine if the Post Office is a good fit for you.

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Requirements to Get Hired at the Post Office

 

 

 

There are ten basic requirements to be considered for employment with the Postal Service.


  1. Must be 18 years old at the time of appointment or 16 years old with a high school diploma.
  2. Must be a United States citizen, a lawful permanent alien (possess a “green card”), or be a citizen of any territory owing permanent allegiance to the U.S.  Being granted conditional permanent resident, refugee, or asylum status does not qualify for Postal Service employment.
  3. Must have a basic competency in English.
  4. Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service System.
  5. Must give employment history for the ten year period effective application date, including names of current and all previous employers (to age 16 where applicable).
  6. Military service is treated as prior employment. Veterans must indicate service and submit Copy 4 of the DD Form 214, Certificate of release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  7. A local criminal background check is required prior to employment. A more extensive criminal history check is completed at employment.
  8. A urinalysis is required, being drug free is a qualifier for employment.
  9. A physical will be given to determine if the applicant is fit to perform the duties of the position that was applied for.
  10. A safe driving record is required for employees who drive on the job. (The Post Office considers no more than two “moving” violations in five years to be safe.)
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