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US Postal Worker Stress

Working for the United States Postal Service (USPS) means enjoying above average pay and a plethora of benefits. Health and life insurance, Thrift Savings Plans, retirement plans, and Flexible Spending Accounts, and paid leaves are just some of the perks of working for the most extensive mail organization in the world.

However, news of postal workers taking their own lives because of a toxic work environment (see Dr. Steve Musacco’s article on the Postal Employee Network at http://postalemployeenetwork.com/news/2010/04/the-u-s-postal-service-is-a-toxic-work-environment/) have become a cause for concern for many postal workers and even candidates of various USPS positions. If you are thinking of taking postal exam 473 so you can become a USPS mail handler, city carrier, mail processing clerk, or an associate in sales, distribution, or service, it would be worthwhile for you to take a look at the causes of postal worker stress.

First of all, many of those who are already holding US Mail jobs feel that they are being constantly pushed by their managers to meet deadlines. If they don’t then it’s a mark against good performance as a postal worker. Since overtime is required, time for families and leisure is often sacrificed.

Next, postal stress can also be attributed to poor management. More often than not, the sole criterion for promoting postal workers to positions of leadership is only his or her length of service. Seniority takes precedence over an individual’s ability to lead and even manage people. A poor leader often worsens the morale of USPS workers and contributes to higher levels of stress.

Third, those holding postal jobs do not usually develop other skills that will help them land in other jobs. Even if they only develop one type of skill—e.g. sorting mail—they generally receive good compensation because they are represented by unions. However, if they wanted to shift to another career, finding one would be made doubly difficult because their stay in the US Postal Service has not enabled them to develop their skills and other abilities. Self-development among their workers is not among the priorities of the USPS.

Conflicts within the workplace also generate stress. Minorities and veterans are commonly hired for postal worker positions. Unfortunately, their backgrounds and ingrained prejudices often make the workplace a stressful environment for both parties. Union and management conflicts are also another source of postal worker stress.

The popularity of email and other electronic means of reaching family, friends, and business associates have resulted to the elimination of many postal worker positions in the recent past. This has made USPS workers jittery and fearing for their jobs lead to postal worker stress.