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  #1  
Old 01-27-2003, 07:11 PM
koawala koawala is offline
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Post Office Casual Worker

I have offered a job as a post office casual worker. The job would last 90 days and then I work be back in the unemployment line. No matter how well I do I will not be hired on full time, they told me this already. I am not that hard up for money, I can hold out longer for a full time job. Has anyone had experience as a casual worker for the USPS? Is it a good job while it lasts? Do you have to have a high level of tolerance for bureaucracy?
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2003, 07:17 PM
Zagadka Zagadka is offline
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I had a friend do that same job position, I think, some years ago. At least, it was 90 days with the USPS in the mailroom. He just did it for the summer, and it worked out well enough for him, with only the usual amount of b*tching about work that is to be expected from any manual job.

I don't think it'd be something I would be keen on doing, but then, I have a very short attention span. :-p
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  #3  
Old 01-27-2003, 07:31 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Re: Post Office Casual Worker

Those are the ones wearing shorts, right?

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  #4  
Old 01-27-2003, 09:14 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Quote:
Initial appointments are either casual (temporary) or Part Time Flexible(Career). Hourly rates for Part Time Flexible employees varies depending upon the position's rate schedule. Some positions are filled full-time such as the Maintenance (Custodial) classification.

-- snip --

A Supplemental Work Force is needed by the Postal Service for peak mail periods and offers casual (temporary) employees two 89-day employment terms in a calendar year. During Christmas an additional 21 days of employment can be offered to Supplemental Work Force employees.

College students may be considered for casual (temporary) employment with the postal Service during the summer months. Tests are not required and appointments cannot lead to a career position. Apply early for summer work. Contact Post Offices in your area by no later than February for summer employment applications.
Source: http://federaljobs.net/usps.htm

It appears what the Postal Service calls "casual" employment the rest of the federal government calls excepted service. Generally speaking, federal excepted service means a federal agency has the authority to hire temporary help under guidelines less strict than appointments under competitive service. An excepted service position does not lead to permanent employent, per se, but the job experience will not hurt you if you ever apply for a federal competitive position, or any other job for that matter. (Next time you visit a national park in summer, the vast majority of the Park Rangers you meet are "seasonals," meaning they are temporary federal employees hire as excepted federal employees. However, their appointments cannot exceed 180 days.)

Getting back to the OP, it's worth a shot, even for 89 days. Better get hire for spring/summer than the winter/Christmas overwork --- at the same pay.

Besides, if you're unemployed and this position is offered to you and you refuse to take it, you can be denied unemployment benefits, although it's unlikely it would be the USPS that reports you. Your unemployment office would, though, given the opportunity.

As for the bureaucracy, I wouldn't sweat it. Just make sure all the paperwork is correct so you're paid correctly and on time, don't stir up trouble and have fun. You can learn quite a bit working in the USPS, even for just 89 days.

It will not hurt you.

Avoid licking stamps, though. Stamp paper cuts really, really hurt.

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  #5  
Old 01-27-2003, 09:14 PM
Teebone Teebone is offline
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Read Charles Bukowski "Post Office". There's all the advice you need on being a temp postal worker.

Teebone
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2003, 12:44 AM
capnfutile capnfutile is offline
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Been there!

Been there, done that. The USPS hires casuals in three "disciplines": carriers, clerks, and mail handlers. I was offered a position in 1993 as a casual carrier. I did the 90, and was then offered a "transitional position", which only exists in certain circumstances when the management sees a need for employees for a finite period of time. The "TE" position was for 359 days, and halfway through my second one of those I was offered a chance to take the civil service exam before the general public. I got in as a permanent employee sometime in '95. I walked off the job in late '99 after a co-worker "went postal" on me.

As a casual or transitional carrier, you will be expected to work like a dog, long hours, no days off, often six days a week. You will deliver the parts of town nobody else wants to deliver, in all sorts of weather.

Most of the time, I liked the work. I was outside, got to meet a lot of nice folks, and was in better shape than I'd ever been. I had one dog charge me but was never bitten in almost seven years. The hardest part was dealing with office politics. Most postal workers are hard-working folks, but a full twenty percent are whine-ass losers who wouldn't last a week in a job without a strong union presence. I was very well-paid for my skills, and overtime was quite lucrative, yet there were always co-workers whining about not being paid enough. Argh. I ended up wearing headphones in the office to block out the whining. I also got frustrated by the increasing amount of admail I was delivering.

I've since moved to New Zealand. The posties here don't carry "junk mail" (it's delivered by independents), ride bikes, and everyone's got their mail by one in the afternoon. I remember delivering mail at 7:30 PM in the rain.

My suggestion - if you look at it as something different for three months and are up for the physical challenge, go for it. You'll also get an appreciation for how little the cost of a stamp really is. I'm amazed that the system works as well as it does,

Capn

and the Bukowski book is great, btw
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  #7  
Old 01-28-2003, 06:50 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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My husband is a letter carrier for the USPS. He started as a casual as a summer job, and moved up from there, rather like capnfutile did (next TE, then got a permanent position). It sounded much the same as has been said - they work you hard at the jobs no one else wants to/can cover, they pay you well, and most of your coworkers at least do their jobs.

My husband did this around the same time, and says that you're not guaranteed a full day of work (much less overtime, which goes to "career employees" first), but that most likely you'd be getting that. He also says it's the best way to get into the Postal Service if you're interested in it; no need to take the test and wait around for an offer, just jump right in and start working, and after that you've got experience with them, which is considered if you want to continue.

You don't wear a uniform if you're a casual; this led to someone calling the post office on my husband at the time, saying that some big guy had stolen the mail from the carrier. (And apparently was going around delivering it... ) You may well be delivering in the dark (bring a flashlight or better yet, a miner-style headlight), or filling in on bits and parts of various routes that no one else can cover that day. You probably won't be doing the same route two days in a row, so you'll have to adapt well to change and be a fast learner.
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2003, 07:45 PM
SC_Wolf SC_Wolf is offline
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Re: Re: Post Office Casual Worker

Quote:
Originally posted by KneadToKnow
Those are the ones wearing shorts, right?
Nope. The casual post office worker is identifiable by the fact that they're only packing semi-automatics, not full-autos.
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