Saturday, April 19, 2008

Going Postal

For an artist, what could be better than working in a post office? Yes, working, earning money as an artist would be very good, but what if you had done that, moved on to other things (like staying home and raising kids) and now didn't know what you wanted to be when you grew up (again)? I had been thinking about that recently. A little. "What now?"
Then an amazing thing happened. A job fell into my lap. I did not have to scan the want ads, fill out applications, re-do my portfolio or update my resume. I simply walked into my little small town post office on a Saturday morning to pick up mail and send off a couple of ebay packages- and it happened. I was offered a job. The girl who normally worked Saturday mornings and whenever the regular Postmaster was sick or on vacation (known as a PMR, PostMaster Replacement) was tired of the very part time hours (and part time pay) and so had found a full time job. Not with the U. S. Postal Service. But who would replace her?
Melissa: Would you like me to put your name in as my replacement? It's easy work.
Me: Hmmm. (thinking a moment) Yeah, why not? (warming to the idea of pigeon holes and canceled postage and mysterious packages holding exciting contents for its recipients) Sure. Yes. Put my name in!
And so after a background check (clear- no surprise) and a drug test (clear- no surprise) and being finger printed and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and... Yes, I got the job! The interview was a mere formality. Then followed two days of orientation in Kansas City, taking the oath of office (same one recited by the military and President) and I was official. I am now a federal employee. This past Thursday was my first day solo. Yikes! I SO appreciate what my regular post "mistress" does to get my mail to me! And being a newbee, I can understand now how some mail can take a stupidly long time to get to its destination-- if there are people like me handling it along the way! Haha!
I am picking up speed and getting better, but the stuff I have to learn doesn't come from a text book or manual. It's stuff like knowing where to put someone's mail if it is addressed to their street address instead of their PO Box (I have to eventually memorize everyone's box by their name or street). Knowing who is in each household, whether it is children, a temporary significant other or temporary child who moved back in after breaking up with a spouse or significant other. Some folks have a perfectly good PO Box of their own, but want their mail put in with their dad's because he picks up his mail more often. The postmaster has to remember all of this info. At least in this small town I do. You gotta love it. Customer service on a micro scale.
Then there is forwarding mail and "loop" mail. Stuff gets missent. I am now so in awe that so much mail actually makes it to its destination. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail travel through the system every day. In the past week we got a postcard addressed to someone in Italy that came to us, because it seems an Italian town or province has the same postal code as Corder, MO. No one bothered to see that the words "Corder", "MO" and "USA" were all completely missing from the postcard and that the card was written in Italian. All they read was "64021". The other day we got someone's credit or bank statement the same way. From INDIA! Same code. "64021" No mention of US in the address. Addressed to Kumar Abi Sahir (I am making up the name, but it was something very NOT small town, midwestern USA), metered in India (cool stamp!). So if you find out your mail art was never received, it could be because it is in New Zealand or Tasmania or Turkey, waiting to be looped back. Use correct zipcodes (don't guess, don't omit it) and write CLEARLY. The postal workers handling your mail will love you for it. Take it from me.


Donna said...

PostMistress!!! So Official!!LOL...Happy for you!! You'll do just fine! hughugs

Beth said...

Congrats on the new job !!!
So perfect when they find you !

and all that shakin go on down by you....oh it makes life exciting doesn't it ???

we used to live on the fault line when we were in Newburgh, Indiana....made things exciting as we always waited for something to happen but it never did.

Linda said...

I love it!!!! Yeah Nathalie! I worked for the government for years.... Dept. of the Navy (in Corpus Christi) and the FBI (Houston). Go Feds!

MP3 e MP4 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna said...

sweet - a federal employee! Now Linda and you can swap government stories :) Congrats! I bit the bullet and signed up for the atc-house swap.... I hope I didn't do it too late - I joined last night at like 8:45... ?anyhow look forward to giving it a shot. Cheers, Anna Tremblay

whimsymoon said...

Congratulations! Postmistress Nathalie...sounds very cool and Jane Austenish....sorry...I have
Jane Austen on the brain! Hugs!

Linda said...

I need a new post!!! Update your blog, please! rotfl

Useful Books said...

Thanks for posting this, Nathalie! My little job at our local college is ending this month. This encourages me that the Lord will provide!


Corbi said...

Oh, NEW excuse for swaps being late!! You are PERFECT for this job! My aunt was Postmistress in Fremont, MO... Trust me - smaller than where you are - if the postmistress was sick, you either got your mail from her husband who ran the store the cubicles were in, got it yourself or waited a couple of days!