You might be surprised but at least two postal workers in Washington State find fulfillment and feel passionately their abilities to serve people and relate to their communities.
Adeoye Ladipo, a Nigerian immigrant who was formerly a nurse decided a few years ago to take a job as a letter carrier. That was after a patient in the hospital where he worked suggested that his ability to relate to and empathized with people made him a natural for a job where he would be in contact with them every day, according to the Woodinville (WA) Weekly
Even though he’s not dealing with life and death issues every day on his route, Ladipo grasps the absolute necessity of his job and takes it quite seriously. “It is something to be protected, safeguarded like a baby,” he said.
Then there’s Lisa Curtis, who left her home in Salem, OR to become a clerk at the same office and loves the daily interaction with people.
Granted there are many stories out there about postal workers who are surly and otherwise dysfunctional, to say nothing about those who “go postal” shoot and kill people. This happened few times during the 1990s when the term “going postal” entered the national lexicon.
By and large most postal workers are helpful and in certain parts of the country, particularly rural areas they are a lifeline to the outside world
Maybe current-day conditions are not quite as dire as they were in Alaska in the 1920s when Balto and other sled dogs famously brought the serum to Nome to fight a diphtheria outbreak.
At that moment, when air travel was in its infancy, roads in the state nearly non-existent and communications archaic by today’s standards people absolutely depended on the mail for communication with the outside world, Gay and Laney Salisbury reported in their book The Cruelest Miles http://laneysalisbury.com/T.
Why blame postal workers as being especially dysfunctional and anti-social? There are many many more examples of random gun violence in this country–way too many to mention with no end in sight.
All these years later people tend to forget things how some postal workers died in the line of duty from exposure to anthrax-contaminated mail just after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
So why does the USPS and others always want to keep reducing their numbers?
It’s sorry rhetoric—and provably untrue—that electronic communications methods are making mail obsolete. Yeah it’s true nobody sends out first class letters anymore but the USPS has gradually been building up its package delivery services for many years now and also depends very heavily on standard mail, also known as junk mail to fill its coffers.
Last time I checked there’s no shortage of junk mail.
Since 2006, the postal service has carried multi-billion dollar deficits thanks largely—though by no means exclusively—to its annual $5.8 billion obligation to pay for healthcare expenses of future retirees until the next century. This provision was slipped into the last postal reform bill in 2006 and has singlehandedly made the USPS a perpetual debtor. Some say it may have been intended to destroy the postal service as we know it.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the USPS reported a net loss of approximately $200 million, drastically reduced from years past http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_007.htm.
A new postal reform bill in the House, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R_UT) seeks to ease some of these obligations, according to USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/03/01/debt-plagued-us-postal-service-eyes-bipartisan-bill-solve-woes/97944594/.
But there’s no guarantee it will pass anytime soon. Especially with the onslaught new political crises in the federal government.
Whatever happens we’ll still need good postal workers like Ladipo and Curtis to keep things running smoothly.