|One of several boxes of cherished letters.|
When my grandfather (himself a USPS veteran) suggested I take the civil service exam and go into the family business, my father told me he's never let me "work on the floor with those animals." I was willing to take his word on that. When a man who is himself crass, sexist and somewhat racist tells you it's a rough crowd, well, that's good enough for me.
Ironically, one of the hats I wear in my current job is USPS contract employee, picking up and delivering island mail from the processing and distribution center in Scarborough. I love it there. The plant itself has a Rube Goldberg quality that I enjoy, and I've developed a jovial, affectionate relationship with most of the people who work there. At this point, starting pay as a carrier would be a significant pay cut and the grousing of my buddies there confirms that I'm better off where I am in a workplace where the culture is more like a family than a business, but there's a part of me that wishes I'd taken my grandfather's advice way back when.
Of course these days the postal service is considered a sinking ship. Facing an enormous budget shortfall, there's talk of cutting Saturday service and smaller branches exist under perpetual threat of closure. I can't even count the number of times I've heard the phrase, "No wonder the postal office is going under..." recently. This bothers me. A lot.