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CCA Bootcamp - What to Expect During your Brief but Brutal Letter Carrier Initiation

Updated on April 24, 2016
Mel Carriere profile image

Although many are mystified by his mysterious moniker, Mel Carriere is a San Diego mailman who writes about the mail, among other things.

Your life belongs to the Postal Service, CCA maggot!  Now drop and give me 20!  Note: No CCAs were actually harmed or emotionally scarred during the research for this article.
Your life belongs to the Postal Service, CCA maggot! Now drop and give me 20! Note: No CCAs were actually harmed or emotionally scarred during the research for this article. | Source

Before You Sell your Soul to the Postal Devil, Read this!

In long ago days of yore, accepting a postal position was a slam-bang decision. The letter carrier job was coveted because it paid a living wage and was perceived to be simple, stress-free work. Your local mailman was a cool cat who let his hair down, let his satchel swing freely, and grooved down the street in an un-rushed, carefree fashion that had easy money written all over it.

Those times have changed. Now if you manage to catch a glimpse of the endangered letter carrier at all it is usually in a sweaty blur as he or she whizzes by at a frantic pace, fueled by the frenzied rush to meet impossible productivity expectations. Furthermore, even as the cost of living skyrockets, letter carrier wages have remained stagnant for several years now as the Postal Service struggles to get out from beneath a financial burden unfairly imposed upon it by Congress. In other words, the job is not so easy and the wages no longer go as far as they used to.

To further augment this list of the unattractive aspects of being a Mailman, now all incoming letter carriers must pass through the rigorous process of being a CCA (City Carrier Assistant) first. The CCA is basically a second tier letter carrier that receives a significantly lower wage than a regular letter carrier and must endure other hardships that are absolutely unthinkable blasphemy to regulars, such as no vacation, no sick leave, and often being forced to work Monday through Sunday with sometimes no day off for several weeks. It is true that many CCAs have been converted to regular carrier now, but in most cases these promoted employees served in the now eliminated THE position for many years first. In other words, the road to regular is illuminated with only a very dim light at the end of the tunnel and it could take several painful, grueling years to get there. No wonder then that the CCAs are dropping like flies and the entrance to CCA Bootcamp is a revolving door.

I have written a few articles on the subject of postal CCAs in the past that have received quite a few responses. Many of these comments are from people who contemplate accepting the CCA job but want to want more about it before they leave their current employment and dive headfirst into postal hell. I don't sugar-coat anything when I reply to each and every one of these messages; instead I point out the good along with the bad and leave the potential CCAs to weigh the decision for themselves.

My previous CCA related articles have centered around the rigors of the letter carrier job, but many of the querying CCAs are also worried about what to expect during their orientation and training period. Therefore, I have entitled this post "CCA Bootcamp," because what the neophyte letter carrier is exposed to is often as intimidating as a Drill Sergeant screaming out insults to a green military recruit. Okay, I admit this is pure exaggeration and hyperbole, but nonetheless the CCA should be psychologically prepared for what he or she will endure during this intense postal preparatory period.

Your orientation supervisors will be as happy as Colonel Klink in a world where there is no Russian front to worry about.
Your orientation supervisors will be as happy as Colonel Klink in a world where there is no Russian front to worry about. | Source

Orientation - Sworn in or Sworn at?

Orientation will be the first step along in your postal journey and by far the most pleasant. At this point you will be buzzing with satisfaction and pride that you were picked for the job from among hundreds of candidates. As you walk through the orientation doors you will be sure you did the right thing because the classroom will be clean, sterile, and non threatening, and the people herding the newbies around will all be so friendly, patient, and helpful.

The reason the orientation directors are no nice is because there is a tremendous chasm that exists between life in an isolated ivory tower office cubicle and life out in the trenches where the real postal battles are fought, which is where you will be going shortly. These folks are friendly because they go home early on Fridays, have weekends off, and do not have to work unpaid overtime. You will soon notice a marked contrast between their perky, alert attitudes and the distant, stunned, shell-shocked expressions you will get from your supervisors in the delivery unit, which is the equivalent of the Postal Russian front.

The most notable event that will occur during your orientation is that you will be sworn in to your postal duties. Being sworn in is a lot better than being sworn at, which is very likely what is going to be done to you many times by annoyed postal customers and perhaps even your supervisors during the grueling time ahead.

Sorry guys, but in CCA Bootcamp there will be no nerdy but cute Hermione Granger around to copy off her paper, so pay attention!
Sorry guys, but in CCA Bootcamp there will be no nerdy but cute Hermione Granger around to copy off her paper, so pay attention! | Source

Training Days - Or: Interminable Power Points from Hell

From orientation the next phase of CCA bootcamp, actually referred to in rather grandiose style as "CCA Academy," consists of a three day training session. Hopefully, as you take that tentative first step onto the surface of Planet Postal, the screening process will have eliminated you as a possible sufferer of Attention Deficit Disorder. Otherwise your three day classroom experience is going to be one heck of a dull ride. There is not enough caffeine in South America that could have kept me awake through this tedious three day process of watching one mind-numbing computerized power point slide after another, all of which seem to be written in some strange, completely incomprehensible language. So I suppose it was a good thing that when I came in there were human trainers who would throw heavy and sharp objects at us in the afternoon to keep us alert.

As an On the Job Instructor who has trained approximately 20 CCAs over the last year and a half, I have found two CCAs who remembered something from the Power Point training session. Interestingly enough, both of these were females who actually took notes. As Ron and Harry found out at Hogwarts, historically it has always paid off for us guys to sit behind some nerdy Hermione Granger girl in class and copy off her paper. But this time around dudes there won't be anybody to copy off of when you are out on the street humping it on your own, so try to stay awake and absorb some of it.

All jokes about Wizard school aside, there is absolutely nothing in your pre-postal life that you will be able to relate the Power Point concepts to. None of it will make sense until you get out there and start doing the job on your own. When they get to the slide teaching you the difference between priority, first class and parcel post mail you will be reaching for that Red Bull under your seat and hoping you can sprout wings to fly away from all of this drudgery without anybody noticing your absence.

To prepare you for your upcoming driver's training, you will also be shown a goofy movie called DDC (Defensive Driving Course). This film makes many silly references to popular space movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, as if you will be maneuvering through asteroid fields instead of around lawn ornaments and school children during the course of your daily deliveries. Apparently this video is so nauseatingly embarrassing that your training director completely vanishes until it is over, apparently to avoid the shame of guilt by association.

Your driving training facility will look something like this and yes, you will be expected to squeeze this enormous vehicle into these tiny parking spaces without injuring a cone.  LLVs are on the left, FFV on the right.
Your driving training facility will look something like this and yes, you will be expected to squeeze this enormous vehicle into these tiny parking spaces without injuring a cone. LLVs are on the left, FFV on the right. | Source

Driving Instruction - Or: How to Drive on the Wrong Side of a Moving Vehicle

Ever been down under? While in the Navy many years ago I spent a couple weeks in Australia, and was exposed to the sheer horror of not only driving on the wrong side, which is what we Yanks call the right side of the vehicle, but also driving on the wrong, or what we up here call the left side of the road. To compound the confusion my sadistic, apparently fearless Navy shipmates rented a manual transmission, so that the stick shift had to be worked with the wrong hand as well. I suppose they did this so that we could all get a few more LOLs while rolling under the influence of the local Emu lager.

The Post Office does not want you to drive on the wrong side of the road or drink Emu lager on the clock, thank goodness for everybody, but they do expect you to operate a right hand drive vehicle. Therefore, before you check in to your assigned postal facility you are going to have approximately 2-4 days of drivers training, where you will either drive the LLV (Long Life Vehicle), or the slightly larger FFV (Flex Fuel Vehicle), depending on what they operate at your assigned station.

Driver's training consists of driving around cones and through plastic PVC obstacles designed to gauge your ability to judge distance. Shortly before your supervisors will have you figuratively jumping through hoops, your driving instructors will literally have you driving through them.

How will CCA bootcamp go for you?  Will you be happy but dumb Gomer with Sergeant Carter or the darker, more sinister private Leonard Lawrence with Sergeant Hartman?
How will CCA bootcamp go for you? Will you be happy but dumb Gomer with Sergeant Carter or the darker, more sinister private Leonard Lawrence with Sergeant Hartman? | Source

On the Job Instruction - Or: Three Days with your slightly unsettled OJI

Anybody who willingly volunteers to train a CCA should automatically be held in deep suspicion. There is no practical reason why anybody should want to babysit an adult human for three days and afterward get very little credit for good CCAs while getting a pile of blame and dirty sideways looks for the bad ones. Truth is that during my run as an OJI babysitter I haven't had to change any diapers yet, which is not to say that it can't happen, but I almost had to scrape a CCA off the sidewalk because she failed to calculate what she was up against and did not hydrate properly.

Once you have cleared all the PVC hoops and orange cones at driver's training and your driving instructor is satisfied you will only run over tiny annoying yap dogs and no schoolchildren, your next step will be three days of instruction with an OJI at a real post office. You might have to wait a couple weeks for this. As I have said, OJIs are in short supply because there is no real reward or benefit for doing the job and there is a dearth of volunteers. Therefore, as desperate as you are to make some money you might have to get in line behind the other CCAs and wait for a trainer to free up.

Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that the station you train at might not be the station where you end up working. I will repeat once more that there is a shortage of letter carriers willing to train, so those of us who are masochistic enough to endure this thankless task generally instruct CCAs for several postal facilities. In other words, don't get too comfortable at your training station, because the scenery is likely to change very quickly.

The odds are that your trainer has taken the job because he or she is a conscientious person that wants the Postal Service to succeed by making sure its employees are schooled properly, but don't count on this. Although I would like to believe that most OJI's fit into this category, there are those trainers that have their own secret, insidious agendas, and you need to be aware of these types so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly. Here are two of the most common bad trainer types.


Where will your trainer be hiding as you sweat beneath the strain of a loaded satchel?
Where will your trainer be hiding as you sweat beneath the strain of a loaded satchel? | Source

The Smooth Slacker

I once knew an OJI that took the job essentially to get out of work. His approach to training was of the "throw the baby into the deep end of the swimming pool" philosophy. In other words, this man would let the trainee do all of the work while he played around on his laptop in the back of the two-seater LLV while offering a minimal amount of instruction, and very grudgingly at that.

There are actually advantages for the CCA with this approach. For one thing, you the trainee are going to get used to the bare bones mechanics of mail delivery very quickly, because as you are sweating and straining under a loaded satchel your trainer Mr. Smooth Slacker is likely going to be playing Flappy Bird on his cell phone and looking the other way.

The drawback with Mr. Smooth Slacker is that despite all the delivery practice you are going to get, there are going to be important gaps in your mail delivery knowledge that he isn't going to pass along but are likely to get you into deep trouble later. For instance, as he browses through his Facebook notifications Smooth Slacker might forget to tell you that an Express Mail has to be delivered before noon. Later, when you are on your own, failure to comply with this little detail might be enough to get you fired. But don't try blaming Mr. Slacker, because remember his first name is Smooth. So of course he'll swear that he told you everything and of course management will believe him. This is another reason why you should pay attention to the Power Points, in case you get stuck with someone like the Slacker.

You and your Postal Mother Hen might not have a lot in common, but she is going to smother you with attention whether you like it or not.
You and your Postal Mother Hen might not have a lot in common, but she is going to smother you with attention whether you like it or not. | Source

Mother Hen Micro-Manager

This trainer might actually be worse than Mr. Smooth Slacker, because whereas Senor Slacker wasn't telling you anything, Mother Hen is going to be bombarding you with useless facts that are just going to get scrambled in your head and forgotten in all of your muddled confusion.

Furthermore, Mother Hen probably isn't even going to let you touch the mail. She will be afraid you might get it dirty, and heaven forbid that her precious customers should receive a letter sullied by your sweaty paw prints! If she does finally concede that you should deliver a letter or two before being turned loose on your own, she is going to look over your shoulder for every piece of mail you throw into a box and chastise you because you're not putting it in there neatly enough. After three days with her you are certainly going to be able to fold the mail with neat military creases, but you are also going to be agonizingly slow, and good luck trying to convince your clock-obsessed boss that your slothfulness is compensated by your obsessive tidiness.

So Mother Hen is going to make sure that you can cross the I's and dot the t's on a Vehicle Repair tag and you will know where the AMS edit sheet you won't use for several years is located, but as a letter carrier you are going to be next to useless after three days under her wing.


Do your best not to crash and burn at this stage of your budding postal career.
Do your best not to crash and burn at this stage of your budding postal career. | Source

Conclusion - OMG What Now?

Hopefully your own trainer will be a useful happy medium between Smooth Slacker and Mother Hen, because the high postal priesthood hath declared that after the third day you are now officially a letter carrier and are expected to perform accordingly, whether you feel ready or not.

So do what you have to do to survive. If your OJI isn't getting it done, don't be afraid to bombard your fellow CCAs and Regular Letter Carriers with questions. They have all stood in your trembling shoes at one time and most of them, outside of a few peculiar quirks and fetishes, are basically decent people who like to help.

The purpose of this article was mostly to get you psychologically prepared for what you have in store, not to teach you what to do when you are finally on your own. So although this doesn't do you a bit of good right now, a soon to be released article entitled CCA Tips and Tricks will hopefully help you survive the nightmare of your first day delivering alone and get you home in one piece.

Would this article dissuade you from taking the CCA job?

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    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

      This was so funny! I have to say, I usually wouldn't read an article about..well..mailmen to use the politically incorrect word but this was so funny I couldn't stop reading it.

      "There is not enough caffeine in South America that could have kept me awake through this tedious three day process of watching one mind-numbing computerized power point slide after another"..Classic!

      I considered this job, until now ;)

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Brie Hoffman for your delightful comment. I think if you have a sense of humor, you would have done well, because it's the only thing that keeps me going day by day. Thanks for dropping in!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm trying to imagine anyone wanting to be a carrier after reading this hilarious article. Nope, I can't imagine it. :)

    • Old Poolman profile image

      Mike 2 years ago from Rural Arizona

      Mel, fortunately my working days are over. If I did have to seek employment I would be looking to flip burgers all day rather than carry mail. Perhaps this hub has spared at least a few signing up to live in this hell for the rest of their lives. Where in the heck are the Unions when you need them. This situation is the reasons Unions were created in the first place.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      If it wasn't for the Unions, Old Poolman, the job would be a lot worse. As it is the financially strapped Postal Service wanted to pay the CCAs 10 an hour but the Union negotiated it up to 16. Furthermore, many of the CCAs are in the process of being promoted to regular for significantly better wages, which would not have happened but for the Union. All the same it is a rough job and the CCAs are pretty much treated without mercy. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I am always glad to entertain, Bill, although I admit this is rather dark humor. I appreciate you always taking the time to drop in and comment!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am a sissy I just could not do it. Very funny read and all sympathy goes out to you if the force!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I know you are just practicing humility and are anything but a sissy, but I get the point. Thanks for dropping in with your uplifting words!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel I also thought about it and realized it was funny to me at other's expense. Hats off to all of you.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Having a laugh at my expense is no problem, Eric, just ask my wife who treats me as her personal clown. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Jim 2 years ago

      Mel good story too bad you sugar coated it so much. Every day when I go to work at the farm, standing in line to clock in I feel sorry for our CCA. Still to this day management hangs the carrot with all their empty promises.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I think if you read my other CCA stories you would not say I sugar coated it, even though sugar coating and lack of negativity is the new me. All is not bad for the CCAs, another one of ours is about to be promoted. Thanks for reading!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great photos and so funny! Always a wonderful thought from you have a great day.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you DDE for checking in. I hope things are great where you live and I hope you have a beautiful day as well.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      After reading this, I'm glad I never even thought about working for the post office. I didn't think Navy bootcamp was too bad, but now I'm thinking it was a vacation compared to what you all go through.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      I love the way you write. When I was a child living in Los Angeles I would always wait for the mailman to come by. I thought he had the most interesting job of all, because he got to go to every single house in the neighborhood and drop their mail. From the point of view of a child, it was like the equivalent of traveling the world.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for another very entertaining installment in your series about life as a mail carrier, Mel. I've learned a lot about life as a CCA!

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I will now certainly look at our neighborhood letter carrier with more favor - and sympathy. I hope the job itself is more fun than the training appears to be!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I too went through Navy bootcamp, sheila myers, and I never remember having problems staying awake. Then again I was only 18, 50 pounds lighter, and very impressionable. Hard to say which one was harder. Thanks for dropping in!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Yes grand old lady children do have a fascination with the mailman even today and seeing their excitement is one of the perks of the job. Thanks for reading and the nice words.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you AliciaC for following me through all these mailman and CCA adventures. I think I have an inexhaustible supply of mail stories after 20 years so please bear with me. Thanks for your visit.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      The job is not as fun as it used to be RonEFran because they really wear you down these days and I'm not getting any younger. But it still has its moments. Thanks for reading.

    • Randall Guinn profile image

      Randall Guinn 2 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      My wife passed that initiation Mel, but decided against staying on. When she found another job she took it. Even the regulars here have to work some really long hours because they are understaffed.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I generally work 10 hours a day lately as a regular so I feel that pain. My writing suffers because when I get home I usually just collapse. Thanks for reading!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is worse than it used to be…Well, I guess they will always expect more for less, won't they?

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Deb for stopping by. Yeah they are all trying to squeeze more blood out of we postal turnips, as well you know. I always enjoy your visits.

    • profile image

      mail maam 2 years ago

      I'm a cca since Nov 1 Ya I'm pretty sure my supervisor hates me. There were 2 others hired with me, and I was time I have seniority by our PM (who is awesome) over the other two because I had the highest test score. But I'm the only one brought in on bumps constantly while the other two are brought in to case, then I'm told I'm just not getting it. How can I get it if I'm not doing it? I think my street times are getting better,but they forget we started ibid the friggin winter c with the misery snow we've gotten in awhile. I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan. So my first day out we had a friggin blizzard lol lovely. I don't think that my supervisor being on my butt is mine not cutting the mustard I truly believe she hates me, and ive done nothing to her. She got seriously pissed yesterday because I signed my union papers and when the union Secretary turned them in to her she yelled out in front of everyone, why? they aren't even through there probation yet. Pretty sure she wasn't planning on keeping me at that point. Because the union guy that came in during orientation wanted us to sign then. I just want sure what my checks were going to be so I waited. My God I busy my butt everyday I never hear hey you did better today when I do, only what Took you so long, or get called saying were are you? And it took you that long to do that? And I've only literally been on the street 4 weeks and on a different bump everyday almost only get to case maybe once a week if I'm lucky. .But I'm just not getting it and my time sucks. So if I stop to use the bathroom that puts me a little over God forbid and I'm jumping over and through snow banks. And I'm not to much over the time written on the bump slips. Some days worse than others. But I don't think computer puts out correct times if our loops shins take 15 min a piece. Sorry so long. Just very frustrated like many others I'm sure. Sorry about mistakes internet on phone only

    • profile image

      Wolfs Paw 2 years ago

      Great hub and funny! The information is interesting to know as I always wondered how the postal system operated. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy reading the horrors in a comical way.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Mail Maam I am sorry it took me so long to get back. Hopefully by now you are getting it. A bad supervisor can be horrible for everyone. I am glad you joined the union. Thanks for the fantastic comment.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Wolfs Paw I am glad you enjoyed it. The horrors are pretty comical; not a lot of imagination is required on my part. I appreciate you stopping by!

    • profile image

      Rey 2 years ago

      I start cca orientation tomorrow and although a bit frightened after reading this, I at least know what to expect. I'm also in San Diego so it's possible we might cross paths someday. Definitely a good read

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Ray I don't think I will be training you and although we may cross paths I don't think you will know because thus is a fake name. It is better you go into this with an attitude of humility, because too many CCAs are overconfident. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      carl 2 years ago

      hey mel .soon to be rookie cca.can you please tell me what the usual start times are for the cca?thanks

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      carl the usual start time for a CCA is about 9:30, unless you are a very good caser, then they might bring you in early to case a route, say at about 7:30 or 8. Good luck, thanks for reading and let me know what happens.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Mel, this was interesting to know about the CCA postal position. Good luck to all of those who go through this brutal test at boot camp. Voted up!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Kristen Howe. I appreciate your visit and if you have any prospective postal candidates among family or friends have them drop by too.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      None that I know of in my family. But you're very welcome.

    • profile image

      Joe 20 months ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed your article. I am a city carrier 15 years now and teach both Drivers Training and OJI as well. Although you poke fun at all this I can't say that your article is untrue. The postal atmosphere is one of intimidation and bullying and we have a very high turn over of new employees. It's not easy encouraging the new CCAs while still giving then a realistic idea of what they face.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Joe. When I train them I put them through the wringer so they know what is expected of them. If they can't walk as fast as this 50 year old they need to step it up. So far most of my CCAs are still around and I think they appreciate me for not sugar coating the job. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Angie Corbett 19 months ago

      Can you please tell me the difference between an RTE and a CCA? I have been offered both , at different locations. I did accept both. Also , I have heard it can take months to hear back after accepting a conditional offer, do you know this to be true? I live in a rural area with not alot of good paying job opportunities so I am really counting on this to work out, however I am fearful now of whats to come. Very much enjoyed reading your article, however frightening I still found myself chuckling and entertained.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      I am glad you enjoyed it Angie, I do like to entertain while informing. I have to confess I don't know what an RTE is, however. Could it be a rural carrier position? I suggest you google a site called rural info. It is a great web page with lots of info. Maybe you can find it there. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      New CCA 17 months ago

      Very good reading! Thank You! I've been a CCA for two weeks and I now know what to expect! Thanks.... So far, So good!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 17 months ago from San Diego California

      I am glad you are doing well New CCA. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      William Foster 15 months ago

      As a newly hired CCA, (starting 'bootcamp' soon) I've read your stories with great interest. In one of your stories, you mentioned that you were in the Navy.

      When I joined the Navy, it was due mostly to desperate circumstances. Many years, occupations, and hard knocks later, I find myself desperate once again. Now I've joined the Post Office.

      When I joined the Navy, the internet and it's wealth of information didn't exist. If it had, I would not have ended up slaving away for four years as a Boatswain's Mate.

      With that being said, I appreciate your candor regarding working for the Post Office. At least I have a good idea of what to expect.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 15 months ago from San Diego California

      No regrets, friend. The Navy was the best time of my life and I hope you enjoyed it too. Look at the Post Office as a stepping stone. I am glad you got some use out of my stories and good luck!

    • profile image

      William Foster 15 months ago

      Thank you for the well wishes. But you clearly misunderstand. I didn't enjoy the Navy. Not at all. Not one eensy-teensy bit. I need to make that fact crystal-clear. Absolutely NOTHING from serving in the Navy has helped me in civil life. Except knot-tying. And quickly spotting transvestites... nevermind how I learned that! And I didn't get the five veteran's points. Because I had the 'wrong' copies of my DD-214. My request to the archives only provided me with another 'wrong' copy...and I'm getting too old for nonsense like 'stepping stones.' More like kidney stones...

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 15 months ago from San Diego California

      Oh well, what can I say. It is not for everyone.

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      Nairb 14 months ago

      Mel, how many hours can I expect to work as a CCA? I start training in 9 days. I want to go out and purchase a car but can only afford to do so if I can get about 50+ hrs a week. I have every intention of working as many hours as they'll throw at me(Working 60ish now).

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 14 months ago from San Diego California

      Nairb, 50 hours is probably close to what you will be working, although it depends where you are and the staffing situation they have there. Good luck on your car. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Pete 13 months ago

      Just received the "conditional job" offer email. Reading the internet about CCA is swaying me to not accept. Thank you for your post, great information.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
      Author

      Mel Carriere 13 months ago from San Diego California

      You are welcome Pete. You might as well give it a try. Good luck whatever you do.

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      Nigel Borg 10 months ago from Chicago suburb

      Upon my urging, a dear friend applied, interviewed and has now been conditionally offered a CCA position. Now that I'm reading about the position, it sounds hellish. I had based my recommendation on what I'd known in years past....working for the USPS was great!!! Boy am I shocked and horrified to read on how things have changed. My question is, do people survive this environment??? It sounds like a whole lot of lying and bullying occurs. I'd hate for him to quit his job of 20+ years (he does hate it), and to jump from the frying pan to the fire! (excuse the pun). He is a hard worker to a fault. Loyal, honest, honorable. In your years of experience, and knowledge of the inside, is it worth it taking the chance at a career? In other words, and without having a crystal ball at our disposal, what is the 'probability' of becoming a regular USPS employee?

      Also, are CCAs able to transition to postal clerk positions (employees working at post office servicing the public).

      TIA!!!

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      Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California

      Nigel it depends on the office, some are better than others in terms of fair, humane treatment. I have not heard of people switching from carrier to clerk. Most want to do the opposite because of office politics. I don't think that is an easy process short of quitting and reapplying. The good news is CCAs,are making regular quite regularly. Thanks for reading!

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      SMEAR RTH 9 months ago

      @Brie Hoffnan This guy has nothing on Bukowski. If you want to read something really raw/funny/well written about the mail life, read The novel Post Office by Charles Bukowski. I noticed that this guy tried to swipe a few of the masters methods, but didn't do a very good job of covering it up.

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      Mel Carriere 9 months ago from San Diego California

      SMEAR RTH - although I have heard of the novel Post Office, I have yet to read it. Therefore, your thinly veiled accusation of plagiarism is not only inaccurate, it demonstrates that you have no integrity. Everything I have written here is based on the observations I have made in my 22 years experience in the Postal Service. I welcome contrary comments of all sorts, if you don't like my writing oh well so sad, but I don't tolerate accusations against my own integrity, because thief I am not. Take care, and grow up. You won't make a lot of friends being a troll, and lord knows we need friends in this heartless world.

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      Male Carryher 7 months ago

      I am a CCA and I rarely have the same route twice. I hop, walk, and run to get the mail delivered. Sundays I deliver parcels. The management are fair but I always need help to finish the routes. I am on my second month and I like the job. I hope to pass probation and pick up my speed. I have lost weight and drink water by the gallon. No lunch breaks.

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      Mel Carriere 7 months ago from San Diego California

      If you are still there after two months Male Carryher, using my misogynistic mispelled name I take that as a good sign you will make it. The Postal Service is so hard up for CCAs everyone passes probation. I haven't seen one CCA canned, though I have seen them quit. Good luck!

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      survivingdee 7 months ago

      I have been aa CCA for almost 2 months. I am in the same boat I do a different route every day, I'm being sent to different locations weekly, I do Sunday Parcel deliveries, someone always has to come help me with my routes, I get no breaks at all, I get weak from not eating which slows down my pace and concentration, but I know I'll survive this probation and make it to career.

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      Mel Carriere 7 months ago from San Diego California

      All you have to do is hang in there a little while longer, Dee. CCAs are bailing out so quickly that they can't afford to fire any. Please, if you aren't taking your lunch, please bring some food to munch on in between stops. I don't want you to pass out.

      Let me know when you cross the finish line. Thanks for reading!

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      First Week 5 months ago

      I just finished my Academy and went to my office before vehicle training. They said I could learn the ropes without driving. So for the past week I've been in the jump seat riding with another CCA. I'm guessing we have no OJI's. I just hope learning from a CCA doesn't come back to bite me. I love reading you articles. Looking forward to the next.

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      Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you first week. What you are going through definitely sounds unconventional. The CCA is going to teach you how to cut corners. That definitely will come back to haunt you when you make Reg. Thanks for reading. All my CCA articles are at melcarriere@hubpages.com.

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      Adam 4 months ago

      I got a conditional offer , I might accept, I have been reading about CCA stories its all horrible, but i need to make living and support family 16.06 seems alright, so after probation period 90 days i can be regular possible? also do you guys use gps how you know street and and numbers or is it memorized

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      Mel Carriere 4 months ago from San Diego California

      It's not always horrible Adam. There are thousands of CCAs who have never posted in the comments section of a blog who have adapted to the job. You won't make regular after probation, it's about a two year wait. Learn to use the GPS on your phone, and read my article about how to follow the mail: https://hubpages.com/business/CCA-Tips-and-Tricks-...

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