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Worst Jobs of 2013 - 8. Mail Carrier

Worst Jobs of 2013 - 8. Mail Carrier

BLS National Salary Median: $53,090
Projected Job Growth: -26%
Jobs Rated Score: 972

What people used to convey in a greeting card, they now express in a Facebook wall post. What was once penned on paper and sent through the mail is now transmitted instantaneously over the Internet. Technology is making a large portion of the mail carrier’s job obsolete.

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Letter Carrier (CCA)

As a former CCA (temporary letter carrier) I would strongly recommended no one, unless you're desperate for work, even bother apply for this job. The CCA job in Northern California has a 57 percent turnover rate, with the union saying the Post Office can't hire enough CCAs to replace the ones who quit. It's a hard physical working -- driving around all day with temperatures in the 90s -- or walking if you have a walking route. I can't even imagine doing this job in the summer  heat of the south or the snow and cold of most of the country in the winter.Most trainees quit over the physical rigors of the job.  I could endure the work, but personally found the various codes, procedures, scanned checkpoints, timing of the routes etc. to be maddening beyond belief.Also, what the Post Office doesn't tell you about in the interview process is that once you're hired you'll be sent to different offices on a daily basis and doing different routes every day. They also don't tell you that there's no guarantee of hours. That is, they'll call you at 7:30 in the morning to tell you they don't need you on a scheduled day, or you'll show up and work for two hours.I quit after about a month -- not because of the physical aspect but rather it's not worth working two hours to make $32 in a day.For a lousy $16.06 an hour, the job is not worth it.  Even if you're desperate for a job, look elsewhere. 

CCA, Upstate, NY

I remember searching the USPS website every day hoping for the coveted position (City Carrier Assistant) to be posted in my area. Voila! That benevolent day came mid September while taking a break at my wonderful superchain retail job. I applied as soon as I got home! Fast forward 3 months, an extensive background and drug test, interview and civil service exam and I was on the harsh, winter streets of upstate New York. 16.06/hr PLUS benefits AND OT after 8hrs & Double Time after 10hrs! This is amazing. Well, the novelty of 2600-3000 after taxes a month quickly wore off once I stepped foot in the Post Office for my training. Right out of the gate, I was greeted and trained by a racist who berated my intelligence on serveral occasions, telling strangers on the street I wouldn't last and that I was difficult to work with. Well, I'm proud to say I lasted a measly 3 months. Through the -18 degree weather days, working 7am-7pm, no days off for 2+ weeks and managers constantly calling to make sure I was working as quickly as possible, I left scorned. For one, you are told that you will receive a 30, 60, and 90 day evaulation. I received one evaulation at the 74 day (WORK DAY) mark, and was told that I'd most likely be fired because I wasn't performing well (How would I have known if I was never evaluated?). On day 76, my managers did everything in their power to form a case against me. They stalked me and wrote negative marks for everything I did wrong (mind you, these were things veteraned Letter Carriers do on a daily basis) and let me go after about 80 days. Though my bitterness has settled down, I would just like to warn all those applying that the job is NOT easy or fun for the first two months. You will have dreams about delivering mail after more stressful workdays, your knees will be weak, you will go straight to bed when you get home and do it all again the next day bright and early, and, if you don't get along with the managers, you will have the worse possible routes, have less hours than your peers and be sent to different stations frequently. If you are a woman or black, you will be made to feel like an outcast, but, after your 90 days, feel free to pop in your headphones and ignore the ignorant and miserable souls called letter carriers that you'll have to deal with (luckily only for an hour or so as you "case" the mail, and when you return after your day[which will fly by]). Also, a City Carrier Assistant isn't the same as a Letter Carrier. You will have to work your way up the numbered list until there is a permanent position. You will afford a wonderful life for your family at the expensive of physical exhaustion, but a wonderful life nonetheless. If you don't have an education, this is the way to go. (If you can go to school or have a degree, run!!!! )                                                         TL;DR/// Pros: AMAZING pay for no degree having individuals. Getting outdoors. No coworkers for the duration of your day. EXTREMELY quick days.//// CONS: Long hours, racism and sexism (depending on location), NEGATIVE and bitter long term carriers. Being outside for the duration of your day (IE tans and heat exhaustion in summer, frostbite and pessimism in the winter).

I am currently working as a

I am currently working as a CCA, the new TE. There are better benefits than there were 2 years ago but it still sucks royally. There is a meagar but very cheap health plan. pay currently is 16.06 in the SF district. Hours suck, depending on how you see it. MY Major problem is the management. They are atrocious and the PM at my office is a ____(fill in the blank with any negative adjective you can think of. This person is quite condecending and very micromanaging. the PM lacks in social politeness. This person said someone was whinking about not getting a day off, mind you this person work more than 3 weeks without a single day off.  The job isn't always terrible but it can be hard. If you can stick it out to career then its not as bad.  Here’s a quick list of pros and cons of being CCA only Cons:  if small office- more micromanagement, longer to get your own route, hours can be spotty  very physical, ,moreso than retail. There's a lot more weight carrying involved, stopping bending, reaching, walking quickly -the rain sucks, get rain gear- as does the heat, nothing to do about that really -no uniform allowance until past probation, uniforms are expensive.-larger offices- horrible hours, working pretty late at times, few days off, if at all. Lucky is one day a week, likely no weekends.-if you get hurt, twist an ankle,etc they act like you committed a crime, and its usually considered an accident, as in eligible for reprimand or worse.-vehicles are horrid, no AC, usually no heat, no defrost at times, you're lucky if the darn thing starts up.- on the job training is 3 days, thats it.-dogs-treatment by some PM'S-scheduling- never know when you’ll have a day off, nothing you can do about it- you have to check day to day and be careful if your home office has you working in another office.-very likely you will get injured- have a lifetime injury, hand, foot, back, knee, hip problems...-very time sensitive and can be unrealistic-you will hate ad  days and therefore hate ads Pros -if you get a large office and want a lot of hours you can get a lot of hours.-once you get good at the job, it feels like you have a bit of freedom-outside a lot, see or notice things most don’t- meet people, get to know areas really well (though to be clear you don’t have a lot of time to chit chat)- you will likely lose weight if you are not in shape- you only need yourself (for the most part) to get the job done.- pretty simple concepts once you get it.- you will enjoy relaxing and doing nothing when you get days off.-pretty stable job once you get career- there are upward opportunities and networking nights.-if you get career there is retirement, not 401k but actual retirement which is worth its weight in gold. -there are some nice dogs

Worst job I have ever had. Pay is not worth it as start.

Not worth it I was a TE there and worked harder then all the older regulars in fact I was making them look bad because I had more skills and education then all of them even the supervisors there. They didn't give me respect for how much I have done for them but instead they cut my pay $6 less an hour and more like $10 less of over time pay. They also treated me so bad. Not worth being a temp  there anymore because they can cut your pay after 5-8 years even if you are not lucky to get regular they will still cut you. I don't think they if you want to be a temp for 5-10 years and then wait another 10 years for good pay. Not worth it when they used to start you at decent pay for the most uncomfortable enviroment you will ever be in. If you have no eduacation and are young and don't care about having a life for 10 years then maybe it would be a job for you but other wise stay away from that company. 

It's the only job I know

It's the only job I know of that you can give a 100% and get a disciplinary evaluation the next day!

Simple Truth!

There's no simpler explanation...!  

Unlike some of the other jobs

Unlike some of the other jobs on this list u jokas still get paid well.  Ask a lumberjack about 401k...God is good to u suckas not stop moaning and get to work 

As a retired letter carrier,

As a retired letter carrier, I take exception to your comment.  It wasn't a letter carrier who classified our job as being one of the worst jobs to have.  It was some writer, who was given an assignment.  They probably compared 'news items' throughout the year, and came up with an opinion about the job themselves.  Letter carriers LOVE the 'work' they do on a daily basis.  Yes, the pay is good as well.  Would you want some minimum wage worker charged with delivering YOUR mail? If a low paid worker had to deal with what a letter carrier deals with, I can assure you ... I certainly wouldn't trust them with MY mail. There is far too much information in mail that can be used to commit identity theft. The job is very physical, requiring out of doors manual labor, during ALL weather extremes.  There is extreme pressure placed on letter carriers to complete their assignments within a specified amount of time, and the workforce is understaffed.  Consequentally, letter carriers are given work in ADDITION to their own routes.  They become very fatigued near the end of their day, only to be sent out on other assignments when they think they are going to get to go home.  Yet they DO it anyway.  Why?  Because its our job.  We are charged with making sure that everyone gets their mail, EVERY day.  Do you ever complain about your mail arriving late?  Consider for a minute, that the carrier delivering after dark is doing their very best to help out after doing their OWN route earlier in the day.  Consider for a moment, that that letter carrier's child was expecting daddy or mama to come home at  a given time, only to be disappointed.  Perhaps that child had a padgent at school, and had to look out into the audience, only to find that daddy wasn't sitting next to  mama, watching.  Instead, daddy or mama was the one you just complained to about how late your mail was being delivered.  Believe me when I say, your letter carrier wasn't late because they WANTED to be late.  They were late because they were working above and beyond what is expected from people with easy jobs.  Still, your letter carrier LIKES their job. They like their jobs in SPITE of the fact that they are exposed to harsh weather, exposed to dogs left loose by irresponsible uncaring owners, who sometimes attack them, exposed to criminals who sometimes injure and even kill them, exposed to safety hazards that sometimes leave them mutilated, disfigured, disabled, and sometimes even dead.  They are subject to dealing with supervisors who due to understaffing and unreasonable 'number goals', push them beyond their physical capabillities, violate the contract that all parties signed in good faith, and spouses who feel neglected because of the long hours they are required to work. I'll say it again ... in SPITE of everything letter carriers deal with, they still LIKE their jobs.  Some writer who hasen't got a clue wrote this article, not a letter carrier.

Thank you

I just passed my exam yesterday. I'd like to say to you.... Thank you for taking the time to write this. Thank you for your years of hard work. May God bless you abundantly :)

Thank you

I'm a 30 year career employee. I would recommend to anyone new to go to school and get a degree. Everything you wrote is correct and the veterans love their job, but it takes 2-3 years before you have your own route and become adjusted to the work which is very physical. I love my job, but I wouldn't do this job if I were starting again. We make this job look easy. If you have the stamina to withhold, then you might be able to hang in. 

Your trippin

speak for yourself. I'm a letter carrier for 3 years and am a regular carrier as well. And I don't like my job. I hate it. I wish I can do something else. But I'm stuck because I have a family to take care of. So don't not act like every carrier likes there job. I know a lot of carriers who don't like there job. But they do it anyway cus pays well And they can't jus quit and look for another job. Sure , it's plenty of carriers who like there job. But not all. Just saying. 

Suply and demand.

It's the laws of supply and demand that sets wages. for a non skilled job mail carriers recieve excelant wages. I know many who work in retail and fast food who have bosses that are just as demanding, have to work extra hours when others don't show. Have to deal with lousy customers, yet are expected to keep smiling. Retail workers are also exposed to criminal elements who wish to avail themselves of the days take.

were you ever a CCA or TE?

were you ever a CCA or TE? its quite awful these days and they make only a few bucks above minimum here. you could be a standard office worker for the same rate. I feel theres a big divide in expectations or working conditions for career carriers vs CCA's. Currently we have some CCA's in my office, on the books for no days off in 3 weeks, and doing about 40-60 hours on top of that. It also helps to have a good office. When we walk into an office that we were warned about in training, thats a bad omen. Sometimes its harder struggle than others. And please beleive there are some unscrupulous PM's that no matter how dedicated the carrier is, still feel forced to quit. They can make our lives hell. 3 people have retired earlier than planned since out PM came on. I do agree some of this seems quite exaggerated.

^what he said^

^what he said^

As a TE carrier for two

As a TE carrier for two years A. The LLV's get extreamly hot and there is no breeze as well as the fan blowing hot air. It really is an oven..if its 80 outside..its arond 95 inside (no kidding)B. My pay has been cut by $6......hows that for a slice of fried goldC. 7 weeks of vacation? Im lucky if I get a week a year. Working 6 days a week rotating day vacation time...its a blast! The "Regular's" are a thing of the past...when they all quit..or retire...the PO will NEVER ever make anyone els a Regular.  

Mail Carriers have one major

Mail Carriers have one major problem seems no matter where tehy go: LLVs, those red white and blue vehicles they drive around are constantly breaking down. My guess is that the postal service tells the postmaster at each P.O. that they hve to figure out how to keep them running with no financial help from HQ. They also expect to see as large a profit as possible from each P.O. so that is a disincentive to pay to fix their delivery vehicles. So they end up hiring people to work as Postal employees who have no real experience. Result, LLVs breaking down on a daily basis and a lot of angry employees.

What they also don't mention

What they also don't mention is how those vehicles become ovens when the weather is really warm. Go to postal & read the stories about the letter carrier from MA that died & the one from NJ that collapsed at the wheel of his LLV, both incidents happened this past weekend

The Postal Service would be

The Postal Service would be doing just fine if not for the Republicans who have been fighting tooth and nail to kill it. They have some sort of prejudice against any kind of government work, viewing all who do government jobs as their potential enemies. Crazy but true.

So true

So true

CareerCast is clueless , the

CareerCast is clueless , the USPS delivers more packages than UPS or Fedex from Amazon and ebay , the two leading websites that consumer make their online purchases from.

I'm a letter carrier, and I

I'm a letter carrier, and I love it. 7 weeks of holidays, a defined benefit pension plan (for now), and good medical benefits. When my day is done, it's done, no job stress or management BS to take home. Plus, no need to join a gym, and lots of interesting people to see every day. Yes, we are headed towards a time when all we will be delivering is "junk mail" and parcels, once all government disbursements, and bill-paying, goes electronic, and there are no more grandmothers sending out cards. And yes, my city has 15 less letter carrier routes than it did a year ago. No denying it's a sunset industry. But something is being lost, an integral part of our social fabric. Glad to be retiring in 2 years though....Carey R, BBA

I think what we are missing

I think what we are missing here is the difference between career carriers and temporary TE or CCA levels which is huge, we work your holidays and days off and everyone elses that week.

what we are missing ...

Thank you.   You said it.   My husband is a "sub", yet he works six days a week, more than eight hours a day, because the permanent worker is a lazy woman who is working the system and the unions to do everything she can to keep her benefits, her pension, and her paycheck, despite the fact that my husband is doing every ounce of work on that route.  Oh, beg pardon, she just got a doctor's note saying she could come in for one hour per day to sort mail now, so that all-but-destroys his overtime, which just makes things even more difficult for us.    The heat exhaustion is taking its toll, and I'm worried.   Everyone on his route knows him and wishes he were the permanent mail carrier, but this lazy woman has seniority.  And this is why I despise unions.   There should be some sort of test before allowing people union representation.  Unions shouldn't represent people who don't work at anything but the loopholes in the system.  It's disgusting that he suffers, and that we suffer, because of bureaucracy and leniency on those who don't bother to do the work.   As you said, there is a difference between regular workers and their substitutes.  And I do realize that not all of the regular, union workers are horrible human beings like the woman for whom my husband subs (every day, all day, with no benefits, no extra pay).   But there need to be some major changes made, and dumping the USPS isn't the answer.   I much prefer the USPS to UPS and, especially, Fed Ex.   But there are major internal problems,  and even if they "like their jobs" as another commenter put it, there is a ridiculous amount of misery for those carriers who actually do their work properly.   There are no jobs around here, and I fear for us, but I will be telling my husband today that he has my absolute support in finding ANY other position or job, because I want him alive and well more than I want anything else.   

What are the hours of work? 

What are the hours of work? 

Kudos for such a positive

Kudos for such a positive attitude towards what seems to be such an ironic outcome for the industry that, in fact, is a very American institute. American Mail is (still, I believe) is in most cases guaranteed to be delivered no matter what part of American you live in.  I am a bit sad seeing it fading away but, let's face it, everyone including myself of guilty adapting the newer technologies and there's no way saving grace for this one. Congrats for be able to reap the rewards of your years of service before it all starts rolling down the hill for everyone else in your peergroup in just a few years.

200 hundred vacation hours a

200 hundred vacation hours a year, 10 paid holidays plus we earn 100 sick hours a year, not all that bad. 

13 paid holidays, not 10.

13 paid holidays, not 10.


10 paid holidays



When you privatise a

When you privatise a government industry, the capitalist owner has to now make profit off of it, instead of simply using the tax money it's funded by.That means a cut to services and wages, generally. Yet it will still likely be fundes by taxes, so our tax money will go into less productive output, literally our money we pay into it will be increasingly going to private individuals instead of the service we pay for.And if it's entirely privatized, without any input from the tax payers at all, they'll surely have to increase the cost of actually mailing things with less money left over for employees. Privatisation is only more profitable for the 1%.

The USPS erred greatly when

The USPS erred greatly when it ceded the package delivery business to UPS.  

dont know the history of this

dont know the history of this but we complete delivery for UPS and fedex now- see Smartpost mailings

In 1952.

In 1952.

Not to add the harrassment

Not to add the harrassment and abuse we put up with daily. 

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