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CCA Survival: How to Make it Through Your Postal Trial by Fire

Dog of the Day - Beware the Floppy Eared Fleabag!

This keen-nosed Beagle can sniff out a CCA within a five zip code radius to track down and eat with breakfast.like a side of pancakes.
This keen-nosed Beagle can sniff out a CCA within a five zip code radius to track down and eat with breakfast.like a side of pancakes. | Source

I am as guilty as anyone else of not exactly receiving the newly created CCAs (City Carrier Associates) with open arms. As an ODL (overtime desired list) carrier, I was basically dreading nothing less than complete financial apocalypse with the arrival of these newbies, as I watched them rolling in wide eyed and fresh from CCA academy full of hope of a prosperous postal future, just like I was twenty years ago. The Postal Service's pipe dream plan was to completely eliminate overtime for pricey folks like me and to instead give all the excess work load to these more cost effective newcomers. It was a nice dream, I suppose, but like most everything else concocted in the mahogany lined halls of the Postal brain trust it hasn't quite worked out. Overtime has been reduced, but at least in my office the reduction has not been significant. Therefore, with complete financial collapse and poverty having at least been deferred for the near future I am willing to embrace these new folks into the Postal family. After all, they are just people trying to make a living, the same as you and I.

If you are a CCA reading this who has been employed by the Postal Service for over a month and you still have your enthusiasm intact then you are probably doing something wrong. If your supervisors have not beaten you to death yet with impossible expectations and an unforgiving workload than maybe you are just not cutting the mustard. With this in mind, it is my hope in this hub to impart unto you a few time accumulated insights to help you survive the rocky road to Postal nirvana. The list is not exhaustive by any means, but I have tried to hit the major topics. I can't promise that this advice will make the job much easier but you might be able to get through the tough job of carrying a different route every day without killing yourself and who knows; you might even be able to keep your sense of self worth intact.

Wear a Belt

This is not meant to be a commentary about your sense of fashion. I know that the style today is to let one's pants hang down to the knees so that every dark, disturbing inch of sweaty butt crack will be exposed, but I've given up trying to worry about that. I'm advising you to wear a belt for purely practical reasons. You will need something to attach your arrow key to, because if you lose that arrow key your postal career is over.

Believe it or not, nobody gets this. I advised all four CCAs I trained to come back on day two with a belt, because none of them was wearing one the first day. On day two all four of them were still beltless, which says something about my ability to inspire obedience in others, I suppose. I guess it takes a calamity like having an arrow key fall out of a pants pocket and then disappear into the inaccessible depths of some dingy, yellowing postal toilet for this warning to be taken seriously. But because I know you will try to blame me later for not telling you I am going to set it down here for the record. Wear a belt, and slip the arrow key's hoop between the first and second belt loops. Don't attach it before the first loop because it will still slide off and you're going to be the one braving the hungry sewer rats to go fetch it, not me!

Although this is an antique model, the basic concept of the postal arrow key has not changed.  It should be worn between the second and third belt loops.  So even though you might not be able to properly ventilate your hindquarters, wear a belt!
Although this is an antique model, the basic concept of the postal arrow key has not changed. It should be worn between the second and third belt loops. So even though you might not be able to properly ventilate your hindquarters, wear a belt! | Source

Moderate your Expectations

Now let's come to grips with reality, all of you understandably naïve CCAs out there, floating around adrift and orbitless in this cruel Postal Service Universe. In spite of what they might have told you when you hitched your wagon to this horse, it is going to be a long, hard road before you ever make regular and are able to enjoy a stable, predictable work environment in which you are not loaned around from office to office like a sweaty copy of 50 Shades of Gray in an all-girls dorm. In my office we have a PTF (Part time flexible) carrier who has been waiting to make regular for about 8 years now. He is not alone; there are a lot of these folks out there. So if you think that the Blue Fairy is going to come along tomorrow, wave her wand and turn you, Pinocchio, into a real boy or real girl overnight, then you need to moderate your expectations. It is going to be a long, lonesome, tiring road, and you might want to consider other career options in the meantime. First class mail is not coming back as a means of communication and the Postal Service is going to continue downsizing. I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but The Post Office is not as stable a career choice as it used to be.

Larry David's advice is definitely applicable to today's postal CCA.
Larry David's advice is definitely applicable to today's postal CCA. | Source

Feed the Animals

Postal employees are an irascible, cantankerous, surly bunch for the most part, but their attitude is mellowed considerably by food. I have never seen such a shamelessly hungry bunch of people. The quickest way for an emergency responder to clear out a letter carrier's convention hall is not to yell "fire!" but to yell out "doughnuts!" A Letter Carrier would sell his/her soul for a doughnut, or maybe even just a doughnut hole. Letter Carriers will stampede like buffalo over a cliff at the slightest whiff of baked goods. I have no doubt that a group of postal employees stranded on a desert island would resort to cannibalism within minutes.

Therefore, as a CCA your path to postal success will be eased considerably if you feed these animals, and bringing doughnuts your first day would be a good start. You might be thinking that kissing your supervisor's butt is a better idea, but it is much more important to kiss your co-worker's butts at this stage in your postal career. While supervisors are often expert butt kissers and boot-lickers themselves, it is only a one way elevator going up. In other words, you could park an entire bakery truck at your supervisor's desk and it won't do any good if you are not fulfilling the impossible work performance expectations they have for you.

On the other hand, if the Letter Carrier animals in the Postal Zoo are fond of you because you feed them on a regular basis it will make your life as a CCA easier. Grouchy old Roy on Route 11 might give you 45 minutes instead of an hour if his stomach isn't rumbling, but if it is that hour has now turned into 1:15. That thirty minute time swing might be what saves you from getting called into the manager's office to explain why you clocked in off the street after 6 PM, so don't take this advice lightly! Feed the animals!

Letter Carriers are a lovable bunch with a little food in their bellies.
Letter Carriers are a lovable bunch with a little food in their bellies. | Source

Check the "Why Me?" Mentality

Remember that your postal supervisors are not singling you out for punishment, because you are not as much of a special case as you think. Postal management has a very short collective memory and even if you shined all last month if you suck today then you are going to hear about it. Furthermore, your CCA comrades in arms are all getting a beat down too, and are probably clocking out pouting and feeling abandoned and dejected, just like you are.

Go home and lay your woes down upon your family, that's what they are there for, but keep the whining out of the office. Store up your sniveling for when you make regular a couple centuries from now. In the meantime, save the crying for the professionals and just do your job as inconspicuously as possible. Your supervisors have heard every sob story in the book and they don't care. Your co-workers have all gone through what you are going through now, and they will just tell you to suck it up. Instead, have a smile and a kind word for everyone and the abuse won't seem so bad.

Charlie Brown had legitimate grievances but you don't, so keep it to yourself.
Charlie Brown had legitimate grievances but you don't, so keep it to yourself. | Source

Avoid "Piling On."

There is a time tested supervisor practice in the United States Postal Service that is known as "Piling it on." In the past you may have worked for other companies that have shown appreciation for your hard work and dedication in rational, sensible ways, such as giving you an award or a gift card. Keep in mind that the Postal Service is neither rational or sensible. In the Post Office your hard work will be rewarded with more work. If you get back too early from the street they will just spin your slick, spiffy little butt around and have you go help out somewhere else. Furthermore, understanding that you are they type that loves to exceed expectations, tomorrow they will give you a half hour extra. If you succeed in getting back early again after that, the next day it will be an additional hour. Then, if you cannot make the nearly impossible extra hour, even though you skipped your lunch and breaks, you will be tagged as a problem carrier, which you don't want to be. This is how Postal Supervisors are conditioned to show their love and appreciation for your hard work.

Don't get me wrong; I am not saying to slack off and be lazy. What I am advising you is to complete your work in the time that is expected of you, but no earlier. You don't want to be the one being piled on to, because it can be awfully painful at the bottom of the pile.

Besides being out of uniform and looking ridiculous, wearing a helmet and shoulder pads will not allow you to survive the piling on your supervisor is going to give you.
Besides being out of uniform and looking ridiculous, wearing a helmet and shoulder pads will not allow you to survive the piling on your supervisor is going to give you. | Source

The Road Ahead

What can I tell you that brings everything together in a neatly packed nutshell that will give you hope for the future? I definitely do not want to fill you with false optimism that I do not feel, so perhaps my best advice is GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! In the meantime, you have a relatively stable job that can help you pay the bills while you look for something a little better. Problem is, you might not get a day off anytime soon so that you can look for better employment. Oh well, I guess I'm just talking in circles; you're really kind of stuck. But I hope these words can make your life in the Postal Penitentiary a little more bearable.

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Comments 293 comments

sheilamyers 3 years ago

At least you're being honest with the newbies. It might sound harsh to some people, but the truth is better than letting them slog on thinking they're going to be the next super-star mail carrier. Is that true about them bringing food or are you making that up just to see if the new people will bring you food?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

You are very perceptive. You've seen through my slick facade and caught me trying to solicit food bribes from the new people. Actually, there is an unwritten tradition in the Post Office to bring in doughnuts on your first day when you move to a new route, especially in a new post office. It goes a long way to easing one's passage into a strange environment. Carriers are very grateful for it and accept you quicker into the mix because you are observing the time honored traditions. Thank you for your shrewd observations and comments.


AlisonRuth profile image

AlisonRuth 3 years ago from USA

Wow glad I never went into the Post Office, way to much stress. I must say I would never lose that little key. I will be sticking with massage therapy much more relaxing for all concerned! Another great article.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you for your nice words and please, as one hub friend to another avoid postal employment at all costs. Do what you love to do instead. There is not enough massage therapy in the world to un-stress you after a day in the postal service.


alamo carrier 3 years ago

What bugs me as an 27 year carrier is that bosses here in San Antonio Texas is that they want the CCA's off the street by 1830. That means us $40 an hour regulars are wiping the behinds of our babes in uniform who get $16 /hour. I thought that CCA's were brought in to cut penalty OT and straight OT. Upper management bitches about OT and they do this. They mandate Non OTDL instead of bringing in CCa s to carry the time. Most of us here got off the list cause we get enough OT already. Yeah, we lose out on 16+ ot a pay period, but SDO;s are nice


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

We're not exactly raking it in over here but I don't think the CCAs have much to do with it. But you are absolutely right that nothing the PO does makes much sense, and the CCAs are definitely not being implemented correctly. Thanks for dropping in my Texas brother in blue.


sheilamyers 3 years ago

Mel: It's a good traditional if they bring something really good. I do see your point.


Mel Jay profile image

Mel Jay 3 years ago from Australia

LOL Mel, another good laugh - I really get the bit about the food. I have worked in organisations like that too, where food is the only thing left to boost morale and everybody just about crash tackles each other to get in first at the free food! As I think back, most of the various organisations I have worked for, and definitely all of the government ones, have been quite dysfunctional. But I think the trick is to do what you seem to do, step back from the drama, do your work and have a laugh! These people and organisations make great character studies. Another fun read, Cheers - Mel


alamo carrier 3 years ago

The $40 an hour I used was the OT rate, not straight time. The p.o. wants to go broke faster and burn us old fogies out or tick us off.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

You mean food is not a uniquely postal phenomenon? I suppose that us overstuffed bureaucrats the world over like to eat, even down under. When I was in Perth decades ago the owner of a closed restaurant saw us Yanks coming and quickly opened up the door, probably thinking it was better to feed us a little rather than have us eat his entire building to the ground like termites. But I guess there are a few Aussies who enjoy a good meal as well. Thanks for dropping in Mel Jay!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

Alamo Carrier, I think you are right about them wanting to burn us old foagies out. We're too expensive and we talk back too much, but even so we're still the go-to guys in the 4th quarter.


sheilamyers 3 years ago

Mel: I haven't used that one before but I think now I will. LOL! As an EMT, our thing was to send the rookies chasing after stuff that didn't exist.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

Like a Snipe hunt? In the Navy we used to send the newbies down to the boilers for what we called a BT punch.


sheilamyers 3 years ago

Mel: Snipe hunts are fun. At the clinic we would tell them an office or supply was in the basement when there was no basement. And then there are things like left-handed roller gauze or padded ace bandages. You know ... things we make up as we go along.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

Shame on you. I think you had too much time on your hands over there. If I was the supervisor I would have been cracking the whip. Thanks for your fun comments.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Postal Penetentiary! I love it! Imagine that, another classification with more work out there. I thought we were downsizing!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

No, they're just downsizing us old, expensive guys and bringing in young, cheap ones who haven't had time to develop a bad attitude to take our place. I think Postal Penitentiary is an apt expression because many times you're confined there for life with no hope of parole. Thanks for dropping in. Your visits are always appreciated.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

You are generalizing. I won't generalize about CCAs, but there are plenty of hard working 30+ seniority carriers who could carry circles around you. Thanks for commenting!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

CCA Survival: How to Make it Through Your Postal Trial by Fire great hub, informative and useful. Sounds a topic of debate which i am not quite familiar with but to the point and definitely worth a read.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

Mostly written for postal service "newbies" but I think the lessons apply to anyone in a new job setting. Thanks for reading!


Bev Ward 3 years ago

I am a "newbie" and this job is ridiculous. The worst part is being sent an hour away to somewhere you have never been to deliver mail for 2-4 hours, and its usually on a day with adverts. Basically you are lost, and just wanting to throw mail on the ground, and pulling your hair out. Only three more days left and my two weeks are up. The still managed to squeeze one shift of driving 35 mins to deliver four hours then driving one hour to deliver the rest then driving the 35 mins back home.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California Author

The comments grow worse as winter and early darkness fall upon us. I feel your pain. Thanks for dropping by.


bfemissouri 2 years ago

New CCA here, did my research and knew what I was getting into or so I thought. Foot of snow today and can't make it 35miles they want me to go to deliver mail. They said I will be wrote up but I have no option to get to work.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Hope you are holding up in this weather. Thanks for reading.


NewbieCCA 2 years ago

What a relief! I really thought it was just me. No sarcasm here at all. I knew it was going to be a tough job, and I knew I might not be up for it, but it's been even more twisted and self-esteem-shattering than I expected. I've been a CCA for about 8 months now (through at least two weather extremes) and everything you've written seems correct to me. I'm going to suck it up. I never had any unrealistic expectations about becoming a regular. All I know is I can't find a job anywhere else where I'd be making $15/hr, unless I want to sink to retail supervision, which is just as twisted in all sorts of different ways. Thanks for your accurate and insightful article.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Your expectations about becoming a regular may be more realistic than you think. In some places they are already promoting CCAs. Hang in there buddy!


CrazedCarrierA 2 years ago

I've only been a CCA for a few months and I have seen such madness. I had followed the Postal Service's woes in the news, and thought I had a good idea of what to expect from my own research(and the sobering candor of my instructors during orientation), but I was wrong. I could write a book here, but I'd hate to post something a bit too specific and get fired. The character of the staff at my station seems to span the entire spectrum, from profoundly kind and helpful to possible undiagnosed sociopathy. I try to learn as much as possible from and stay on the good side of the former group while avoiding the latter like the plague. Also, I've done so much thinking on my feet that stubbing my toe might cause me brain damage.

You're right about the food. I've brought all sorts of treats and dishes on several occasions and they love me now--well, as much as a surly regular can love anything.

I'm guilty of "piling it on," partly because I wanted to impress my supervisor, partly because I'm a team player. Injuries and old age pervade the station. 5 or 6 of the regulars can never carry their full routes, and that's if they come to work at all. I don't understand why some of these people haven't retired already. Most of them are quite grateful when I arrive to relieve them of their mail, if for no other reason than to get out of this ghastly weather. Either way, I think I'm going to ease up a bit because my body is thrashed.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I guess you have to do what you think is necessary to provide for yourself and your family. Hopefully soon you will be a regular and you can ease off a bit. Thanks for reading and for your great comment.


Cca here 2 years ago

I'm a new cca and I would like to know who came up with the times that the route is supposed to be finished and how your going to get any better if you can't have the same route my question is if your somewhat bright and a very hard worker is it possible to get past the mental anguish that your not getting it done when expected so you basically suck!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Management pretends every route is 8 hours (office and street) even though everyone knows some are way longer than others, including them. A CCA will usually be given the longest route with the expectation that he/she will skip lunch and breaks to finish. Once you have demonstrated your willingness to do this you will be rewarded with more work, what I referred to as "piling on" here. It is better to be an adequate CCA than a great one if you want to avoid this trap. Let someone else be the hero. Thank you for reading friend, and I wish I had sure fire solutions to the problems you are experiencing.


rick 2 years ago

Got my interview tomorrow to become a cca. Hopefully i get the job, im already used to the mental stress and physical stress ive been wkrking for garda cash logistics the armoed truck company. It sounds exactly like being a mailman. Of course i dealt with lots of money instead of mail. If i get hired im gonna miss garda. I have unreal expectations of becoming a regular if i get hired lol. Its always possible. Just hope it doesn't take me 8 years lol


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

It is not unrealistic, it will just take a while and I think you should brace yourself because it won't be easy. Good luck friend.


Mac 2 years ago

hahahaha Oh this is overly accurate. I've only been a CCA for 2 weeks but they've given me the longest route a few times and some of the other long ones. I do indeed skip all my breaks and my lunch so i can get home before 6. I know i haven't mastered the time saving techniques but i can tell compared to other routes that this one isn't normal and i don't see it possible to take any breaks without getting far behind. I don't get why they would put me on these long routes when im already new and learning =\ ... Its all setup to be a fail in my eyes because i know i should be taking my breaks and people encourage me to but i also don't want to drag people out to help me when i know they just want to go home too. It's a lose all around kind of situation and it really blows. After 2 weeks ive contemplated quitting numerous times so i honestly don't know if ill make it -_-


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

The entire CCA work force feels your pain I'm sure. I wish I could give you encouraging words but you already know the reality. I think the economy is picking up and you might want to shop yourself around but the question is when? - you never get a day off. Thanks for reading.


Mac 2 years ago

Meh... I work in a decent sized station and i hold on some hope. We have over 150 routes and not all are filled. From what i hear the CCA's positions are very volatile which just creates more issues. I'll give it some time but even the regulars tell me that its not what it use to be and that i should try and become a cop/firefighter because im a combat vet. I really like the idea of being outside all day enjoying the weather but with this much stress it isn't worth it right not.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I think you are getting good advice from your coworkers. Even we regular carriers are stressed a great deal more than we used to be. The job is not much fun anymore. Everyone is getting pushed and everyone is looking over their shoulder for a manager that is searching for any small excuse to fire them. Thanks for reading and commenting!


Lisa 2 years ago

I must have a great station or something, because I've been a CCA for about 9 months now and I've always loved it. 75% of the time I have no problems and can work at a leisurely-enough pace with my breaks. I feel fine at the end of the day, and almost always feel like I could carry another hour if they asked me to, even if I've worked 10 hours. I don't get all these horror stories. What am I doing wrong?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

You are among the few, and I am certainly happy for you. You're either at one of a handful of stations with enlightened management, or at a station with reasonably adjusted routes because perhaps the carriers are a little long in the tooth and slowing down. I hope your positive experience continues. Thanks for reading and commenting.


joey2027 2 years ago

I lasted a total of two days. As I walked away from the truck my Supervisor now had to drive back to the office because of his big mouth he was still lecturing me.

God, what was I thinking?

Remember, we all have dignity and honor. Some of us just don't bother using it.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Unfortunately dignity and honor are at a premium in the postal service and employees who exhibit these traits toward others are not generally rewarded. Sorry about your experience. They will probably be calling you on Monday anyway when they are down routes.


THE/CCA 2 years ago

I have been a THE, CCA, and now PSE. I guess from all the grievances filed for me I have been moved, and I am now a PSE. Now, they are rewarding me in my opinion since being a PSE is easier than being a CCA. I have never battled with anyone as much as the Post Office in regards to 204Bs, and other carriers in general. This job sure took all out of me, and at the end I didn't care. I just played by the rules, and didn't let them pile on me the work. I pretty much worked like a regular. That is what got me at the end. Still with the post office though. Just took four years to be moved to a better craft.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

It looks like you played it right. When I train CCAs I tell them not to give their lunch away because when they do they'll never get it back. I tell them they don't have to be the number one CCA because they will only be rewarded with more work. Thanks for reading and commenting.


· · · – – – · · · 2 years ago

New CCA here. We need to be back in the office by 5pm. On a very good this is possible. A good day would be one where the DPS isn't filled with every-house spam, where the flats aren't too heavy (we case them by hand here), where the scanners will bother to read, where people are home for certified mail, where the weather isn't a factor, and where I don't have to deliver parcels to some convoluted building without a secretary. That is to say, it doesn't happen often. If you're past 5pm you have to explain why formally. If you didn't fill out a form saying you were going to be late ahead of time (say, because you didn't have time) you get in trouble.

The job is very diverse but the overseas think it's assembly line work, as though you'll be at the same place at a specific time each day. It's like trying to predicting the weather 2 weeks out. Too many factors. Why were you a minute late here? I tied my shoe, caught a red light, and sneezed. I have a phone that places my exact location to my boss, even when I'm not being paid during lunch. I envy the rural carriers.

The training academy was essentially a union guy complaining tangentially for hours before rushing through powerpoint presentations to make up the time. I found it odd that the guy welcoming us would rail at length about how bad the post office is. Should have hung a banner that said "Welcome to hell!"

My co-workers complain of being over-managed but the manager complains of the same. All the things he's enforcing pass strait through him from his boss without the benefit of discretion. I've tried to broach this with the co-workers but they like using the manager as a target for their frustration. Nearly every interaction between the two is like watching divorce court.

My co-workers speed-walk during the route and run back to the LLV when they're out of mail. They also drive like maniacs. Every mail box stop is accompanied by tires screeching and torn up lawns. They routinely skip breaks and have suggested I do the same.

I injured myself in the third week pretty bad and was told to not say anything as any injury would result in termination. I sucked it up and kept going.

A lot of the ideas they have to actually speed up the job are poo-poohed by the union. Things like cluster boxes and curb-side transitions are being fought tooth-and-nail. Instead, the USPS keeps raising expectations of speed, causing injuries, mistakes, and decreased customer service. The union fights against non-USPS store clerks providing postal functions. Instead, the USPS creates positions like the one I'm in where I get paid essentially nothing and do a dangerous job without benefits. Seems like in their fight to keep everything as-is, the quality of the job is eroding and jobs are still being lost.

It's 50/50 if I'll make it beyond the probationary period. I'd like to get a career position but if it's 4-8 year deal there's probably better ways to secure a future.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Amen, brother. What can I say to that when you've said it all? If you don't mind I would like to quote your vet interesting comment on my own blog, but since you are such an articulate individual you should think about blogging yourself. Thank you very much for reading.


Jason 2 years ago

Interesting information. I was looking into a career with postal service being prior military. I was under the impression that this job had some security. I guess you have to be fully hired on by them as opposed to be a cca huh?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

It is definitely not like it used to be. The PTF position has been eliminated so the only way in as a letter carrier is to start as a CCA. From there it is a long and arduous process to make regular. That's not to say that things won't change, but right now that's the way it stands. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Johng657 2 years ago

This kind of game gives a real experience of building a farm and planting trees. cbdeffkdafbd


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Yes you have a point there. Thanks for the visit.


Zacotton 2 years ago

How long does the hiring process take i had an interview and have had drug and background done but still haven't heard anything back yet. could you shed some light on the process


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Sometimes it takes a while and they get confused or distracted. This happened to me. You need to call them politely to ask. Thank you for the comment.


Ken 2 years ago

Sounds like something that no cry baby can take.

I can take the fact that complaining wont help and the fact that your hard work is not being rewarded.

Few questions:

1. How does call out for a day or two works?

2. Is there a contract that i have to sign to work at usps for at least a year?

3. If you get injure at work, is there any kind of workers compensation or insurance?

4. How long is there going to be a raise?

5. Lets say you were told to retun by 5pm, but you didn't finish deliver all the mails, what then? Can you stay out there later than 5 to finish deliver the mails?

6. How is overtime work? I found a lot of post saying that you can easily get over time, so would like to know how you get that.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

1. I have known CCAs call out for legitimate medical reasons and their jobs are protected, but best not to push it.

2. Even though the post office hires you a year at a time, you are an "at will" employee and may quit when you want.

3. I'm fairly sure workers comp would cover an on the job injury but I'm not an expert.

4. You may or may not get a raise when the next contract is negotiated, that is if the postal service retains the CCAs. I'm not sure if CCAs get periodic step increases. I'll have to check.

5. You must check in with your delivery supervisor before a set time that varies from district to district if you are not going to make your projected time. If he says keep going past 5 then go. Always follow his or her instructions.

6. Anytime worked over 8 hours is. OT or over 40 for the week. You will probably get a lot.

Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.


Ken 2 years ago

You mentioned about not losing the key, and if the key is lose, then you are fire 100% for sure?


Ken 2 years ago

What about when you need a day off, so you decided to call out on that day, would you get fire for that even though you might have got the off time in the system already?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

If you call in I highly recommend you bring in a doctors note. Nothing is 100%, but losing a key is probably a death sentence for a CCA. I haven't lost one in 20 years so it's not that hard.


Brandon 2 years ago

I've been a CCA in the second busiest station in Brooklyn for about 7 months now and I can honestly this is the most mentally and physically draining job I have ever had ! After complaining to my girlfriend everyday for the last 7 months about how terrible this job is , she found this hub and made me read it. It's funny how everything you stated is exactly how the job is. One day off, long hours , tiring hours but the bills must be paid. One question, do you think being a rural carrier is easier than being city carrier ?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Your girlfriend is my hero for finding this hub. We have rural carriers in my office, and from what I understand RCA is no piece of cake either. Furthermore, I think their prospects for making regular are even more bleak than it is for CCAs. Hey thanks for reading and thanks to your smart and sexy girlfriend.


Ken 2 years ago

I have question about the contract. How likely is it for me to get the second year contract? I don't want to start working for one year, and the second year, I am unemployed. I will be working as CCA.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

As long as you are decent they will rehire you. They don't want to hire and train a new one because it's expensive. Thanks for reading.


Ken 2 years ago

Thanks for your prompt reply.

If I am rehire for the second year, and I finish working for two year at the postal office, do I get promoted by then? If I do, what should I be expecting as of now (of course I understand that policy might change in the future).


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Don't expect promotion. Some of the old TEs who converted to CCAs waited seven or eight years for promotion. As far as what to expect for the future, that all depends on what the NALC negotiate. With improving economics hopefully that will be in your favor but there is no guarantee.


Ken 2 years ago

I think the first two year of working at postal office is called non-career. So, does that mean after 2 years, it will be called career? If so,  what are the difference.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I'm not sure who told you the first two years are non career. If you are a CCA you will be in a non career status until you make regular, which could take several years.


Ken 2 years ago

What's the difference if I become regular from cca?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

A lot of money. Regulars get around 27 dollars an hour, they have a retirement plan, and they can bid on their own routes. They also get significant paid vacation time, which you will not get as a CCA. I also think you don't get sick leave either, which regulars get.


Ken 2 years ago

I see. Sounds good, but I'll see how it goes. As much as I would like to become regular, there are people who came before me, and I have to earn it. Again, thanks for all your prompt reply. At least I have an idea of what I am expecting when I start working.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Glad I could help. Come back anytime you have questions and please refer your friends to these articles.


Ken 2 years ago

Sure, I will definitely let my friend know about your blog. I read your other articles as well, you are such a fascinating writer. I can't believe you are not a writer.

I am going to the interview on Wednesday, I want to know how the process is going to be like. Can you tell me about what to expect on the day of the interview?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

It is a typical job interview. Just be honest and respectful and show some enthusiasm for the job prospect. Thank you for the nice words. Good luck to you.


JMAN 2 years ago

I was just hired as a CCA and I was so excited to get the job. I'm leaving a decent situation for the promise of what could be a great career if I can make regular in the future. Am I crazy for thinking this? This blog has me thinking about heading for the hills suddenly!!!! I'm a hard worker and a smart guy so I should be fine right? HELP!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Ten years ago I would have told you you had a good future but the prospects for making regular and having a decent job with vacation and predictable days off are years in the future. If you have the ability to endure a lot of abuse and being severely fatigued all the time then give it a shot but if you can find something better grab it. Sorry I can't paint a rosier picture. Thanks for reading.


Brian 2 years ago

Hello. I did not get a chance to read through all the comments, but would you say a CCA job is relatively less stressful in a less populated area (for instance, a town with ~15,000-25,000 people)? Thanks.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Usually the farther away a post office is from upper management the less ridiculously micro-managed it is. This leads to stress, and all that stress rolls downhill. Great comment and I am glad you are enjoying your postal experience.


Ken 2 years ago

Hi Mel, I have questions about the PSE position. What is it like for that position? I just applied for that position, and I didn't accept the offer if the CCA.


Ken 2 years ago

Sorry fir the typo, i meant i didn't accept the offer of the cca


Ken 2 years ago

PSE mail processing Clerk. That's the exact title of the position.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I am not a clerk so I can't give you too much insight about the PSE. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that PSEs work very irregular hours, sometimes coming in at 3 AM and sometimes at 10 AM. You have to be very flexible. Why don't you call your local APWU office for more info, or Google the American Postal Workers Union? Nice to hear from you again.


Jeff 2 years ago

I just got hired as a CCA here in CA and after reading your blog I don't feel like attending the orientation anymore. I got another job & torn between the USPS & this job offer. My question is will they fire if you get into an accident regardless if it's not your fault? Thanks.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

They won't automatically fire you if you get into a motor vehicle accident or bitten by a dog but they can use that as a justification to fire you if for some reason they don't like you. If the other job pays a comporable wage and does not entail this sort of abuse I would take it. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Jeff 2 years ago

Thanks for the clarification Mel! The other job offer pays $3 more BUT it's a long commute. I still have a few more days to decide if USPS is the right one for me. Orientation starts next week.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

You are welcome. The extra $3 will probably pay for your commute if the job is better. Also remember that postal managers are completely inflexible and won't give you time off for anything.


Jeff 2 years ago

Thanks again Mel! At least you're being honest NOT like my mailman neighbor for 30 yrs saying it's a piece of cake getting into the USPS business. My nephew who was a PTF for 8 yrs just became regular & telling me that USPS is not for everyone which I now believed.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

No problem. Good luck and thanks.


New CCA 2 years ago

Hey Mel,

I just got hired to be a CCA. I have orientation next week and reading the comments and the post as a whole has me a bit worried, but I know I'll be fine. However, my only question is, I am getting married on October 20th of this year. Since it is within the 90 day period will I be able to take that one day off?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

It is possible they may cut you some slack for your wedding but let them know early. Thanks for reading.


Art 2 years ago

Hi Mel,

I missed my orientation today due to a car accident & emailed Usps. Does it mean I'm already disqualified for this employment? Am I still considered for future openings?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I am not sure, but it seems you covered yourself. You might want to show up where you were supposed to do orientation as soon as possible and explain, or else call whoever you emailed and talk to them immediately. There is a degree of flexibility for emergencies, but I don't know if I would say car accident.


Mick 2 years ago

Interesting blog, thanks for the honesty. My question: I'll be interviewing soon for a CCA position. I've done a lot of research and read some good (mostly bad) things about the job. I'm a little wary of taking it if offered, since I have a decent job now, but I've heard from a current carrier that this is a "rare" time in my particular area, and that CCAs are on the fast track to becoming regular. This was pretty much confirmed by the PM when I asked during my RCA interview, which I decided I didn't want beforehand but went anyway.

Is there a minimum period a CCA must wait to become career, or could it be done anytime if the post office needs to fill the positions? I've read about a 90 day probation period and a 365 day contract, or whatever the term is. I don't think the PM would blow smoke and I trust what the carrier told me.

This would be a really big step for me to quit my current job and I'm a little apprehensive. Having security and benefits are very important to me. Thanks for your help.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Well to begin with, PMs become PMs because they are masters in the art of blowing smoke. I wouldn't take his word for it, and although your friend may be reliable just remember you will start from the bottom of the pile and have to patiently wait your turn as the other CCAs in line ahead of you are promoted. My question to you is whether you enjoy your current job. If you like it and it has stability and the pay is decent then you might want to stick with it because this job is a grind. Thanks for dropping in.


Mick 2 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I've been at my current job for 10 years, and although the pay and benefits are decent, there's no room for advancement. I figured CCA would at least give me that, although the starting pay would be similar. No insurance as a CCA concerns me though. I'll give it some thought. Appreciate the feedback.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

No problem. Drop by anytime. I always try to help to the best of my meager abilities.


Sandy 2 years ago

I was a PSE until being laid off. The post office I was at is expected to close but called me back to come as a PSE but another PO has hired me as a CCA which is better? I thought that taking the CCA is better bc the other PO is expected to close in June


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

CCA is probably more stable but then again who knows because when new Union contracts are signed things change. Another factor to consider is the weather. Does it snow or rain a lot where you live? Delivering mail under those circumstances makes you hate life and you will wish you were a PSE. I wish I had an easy answer but there are a lot of factors to weigh. Good luck and thanks for reading.


iMnXiLe 2 years ago

just hired by local PO as CCA. I have been in construction for about 15 years, so I am pretty familiar with hard work in cold and hot weather. Although some of these stories I hear on this site really makes me feel like I made a bad decision. I start orientation academy and drive training next week. One question, is there a policy against or about a male having facial hair? Thanks in advance. Seems to me I have a long road ahead of me....


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

No policy on facial hair really. Some postmasters nit pick about a neat, well groomed appearance with shined shoes but others don't care. I was watching some roofers out in the heat wave yesterday and I was thinking that there's some dudes who got it worse than me. If you are used to hard work and climate extremes maybe you've got what it takes. Thanks for reading.


mziggy 2 years ago

I start orientation as a CCA in a couple of weeks. After doing some research, I am a little nervous about starting. I am used to working outside in all weather, so that isn't a concern for me. Neither is not having insurance right off because I have never really had jobs that offer insurance.

I have a couple of questions though. 1) how tough do you think it would be for someone who is overweight at first? (Looking at this as a paid weight loss plan in a way.) 2) Is there a rule about tattoos? I have a rather large one on my leg, but still want to be able to wear capris for the warmer months if possible.

Thanks!


Pony Express 2 years ago

Thanks for your blog. You write very well. I have been a CCA for about 5 months and most of your observations are spot on. I don't expect it to be 6 - 8 years before making career carrier; maybe 3 or 4. Many of the career carriers at my station are at or beyond retirement age. It is painful just to watch some of them walk. I understand many are hanging on holding out hope that the USPS will offer buyouts to induce older letter carriers to retire as I understand they did with clerks some years ago. Either way, I expect a lot of retirements over the next couple of years. One question I have is how to keep you hands from freezing in winter. I am in a northern state and my left hand in particular is sensitive to cold. I have insulated gloves which will work on that left (holding) hand but what can I do to keep my right (working) hand reasonably warm let allow me to finger the mail and work a scanner? Thick gloves do not seem like they will work. Any wisdom to share?

I have long experience in the private sector and couldn't agree more with your statements about the chaotic and inefficient management practices. I expected that going in but it is sometimes hard to put up with. Luckily, except for the time expectations, it is a job with essentially no supervision for most of the day. That makes it more bearable.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Sorry Pony Express, but I am the Palm Tree Postman in Southern California and I have never worked with frozen fingers. I am sure one of those hobbling old timers at your station would be happy to share some wisdom before going out to pasture. I appreciate your nice compliment, and do investigate this soon because winter is ready to roll in.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Mziggy I wouldn't display tats at the interview, but once in if you are making the numbers they won't care if you have a full body tattoo of Lucifer and all the angels of hell. I advise you work out a little prior to joining; getting some cardio prior to entering will help you endure it.


Jaie2014 2 years ago

Hi Mel just happened to stumble on to this site. I start training for cCa in 2weeks but after reading this it really makes me think, I'm a hard worker and I'm used to working in cold or very hot weather and I've had some difficult jobs in the past that involve a lot of stress on the body..just trying to decide if this will be a good job for me.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

If you can take stress on the body then perhaps you can hack it, but stress upon the soul is another thing entirely. Unfortunately, the only way to see if it is the job for you is to try it. If your current job allows you to take a leave of absence while you sample postal life then I would take it. Sorry for my delayed response.


Kim 2 years ago

Hi Mel,

This was actually my first time reading the Hub and I must admit I absolutely love the feed back. I applied for several positions at the the post office and just actually waiting to hear back. I really hope I'm able to acquire full time within a year I'm this area. The pay seems good and the extra hours can bring in more money so I'm just hoping for a chance.


Kim 2 years ago

Hi Mel,

This was actually my first time reading the Hub and I must admit I absolutely love the feed back. I applied for several positions at the the post office and just actually waiting to hear back. I really hope I'm able to acquire full time within a year I'm this area. The pay seems good and the extra hours can bring in more money so I'm just hoping for a chance.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Kim it is a grueling ordeal but there is hope because a lot of CCAs are getting promoted. Good luck on your application, we need people with a good attitude like you.


Kim 2 years ago

Thanks Mel,

Your honesty is refreshing. I received a call from USPS to meet with someone to begin the pre employment paperwork and was also informed that I have an orientation beginning on the following week. There was no mention of me receiving the job but I was asked if I was still interested in the position. Does this mean that I'm in? It's for the CCA position, Mel, I'm really hoping to become full time permanent. You have worked many years with USPS and I want to thank you for your service and your words of wisdom.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

You are welcome Kim. If you have an orientation appointment I would say that you are in. Just be cautious during your driver's training and you should be okay. Good luck to you and please support your Union so that we can all work together to make sure the Postal Service continues well into the future.


Kim 2 years ago

Thanks for the feedback Mel, regarding your caution about the driver's training portion; can you go into more detail on what I should expect. Also, please brief me about the union. I would like to support the union as an USPS employee but I need to know how to go about doing that.

Mel, I am hopeful that I have the job as a CCA but things change so fast, one minute you're in and the next minute you're out. I want this to be my final job to the day I retire. My question, I heard that two CCA's are due to retire, they have hire 3 of us for the same office doing the same thing. How can I be chosen for full-time if the opportunity comes up. Will I have to reapply? How much can I expect to make as a salaried employee if I am selected for full-time? Would I be driving a postal truck and walking for the CCA position or will I be walking for the duration of my time on the job per day. Your feedback is very important Mel, I find your responses very useful. Thank you Mel!


muffins 2 years ago

I'm starting orientation next week for the CCA. If the union website shows 34 opportunities for FTR in my district, what does that really mean for me as a new CCA? It seems like the chances are good for promotion.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Kim you will not have to reapply you will simply be promoted to regular. The difference in pay is approximately $27 per hour for regulars vs $15 for CCA. You will be driving postal vehicles for both and doing a lot of walking regardless. The union should contact you during your training. The President usually comes in and signs people up. Thanks for reading.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Muffins 34 promotions is quite a bit, but I am almost sure your district has more than 34 CCAs so you will probably still have to wait, although the way things are going it might not be long. Thanks for reading.


Kim 2 years ago

Hello Mel,

Well I started the academy and I'm a little concerned that I'm not getting what I need to prepare myself when I start my employment with USPS. When I officially start, will they be patient and work with me a little before sending me out on my own? I have read a lot off your blog more then I have learned in the academy and that's saying a lot right now. I'm going to be positive because I a career.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Kim I am glad you got some use out of my articles. After the academy you will be with an On the Job Instructor for three days. Hopefully you will get a lot of practice delivering mail during that time. Make sure you ask a lot of questions. After that you will be on your own, but usually they take it easy on you a little first. Thanks for reading and please share the links to these articles with your fellow CCAs.


Kim 2 years ago

Thanks Mel,

Already informed them of this wonderful site. Its up to them now to take advantage of the information. Mel, it's really a lot to learn God bless all of you postal workers who have been doing this for years. I can only pray that I will be as good as all of you. I want to learn all of this but it will be a challenge.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

I am sure you will have it down pat in no time. I admire your attitude and spirit. There will be days ahead when you might feel like crying, but remember everybody goes through it. Thanks again.


Sandra 2 years ago

Mel, I was given this site by a young lady in training and she was right it is very informative. How fast do you have to be at casing mail? If you are not fast enough will they fire you? There are a lot of forms that we will use daily, are there any tricks to keep up with using the correct form?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

The standards for casing mail Sandra are 18 letters per minute and 8 flats per minute. These are not difficult standards to reach and although they will hassle you, I don't think they can discipline you for that unless you have cased the same route 30 times. As far as forms, don't lose any sleep about that. Just make sure you have a form 1571 attached to any mail you bring back from the street (not outgoing mail, of course). If they are satisfied with your street performance no one is going to hassle you about details like forms. Thanks for reading!


Kim 2 years ago

Hello Mel,

I know it's an individual decision but can you share your thoughts on being a part of the union?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Kim if it wasn't for the Union no one would be fighting to make you and the other CCAs regulars. I suggest you join and support them as much as possible. Thanks for stopping by.


Eboni 2 years ago

I was hired as a CCA in September, and unfortunately, I don't see it working out. I just so happen to stumble upon this blog and it's really truthful and helpful. I haven't gotten any training with the OJI and we are into November now. I was sent out on a route alone with no help and was yelled at because I returned at 6pm. The sup then asked if I wanted a resignation letter. I have never met my shop stewart, I told the postmaster what was going on but it fell on deaf ears. And now, I had to take two days off because my son had a serious illness and was told by the union that I may not be around for long. I have tried my best with this job, but I feel that everything happens for a reason and it was not meant for me. I hope that those who apply read this blog and see the real truth about the job and if they choose to stick around, they should just watch themselves. Thanks!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you for reading and contributing Eboni. I am really sorry to hear about your bad experience. It seems amazing and unbelievable that they didn't give you three days with an OJI first and your Union didn't help. If your local won't help try the state office. Good luck to you no matter what you decide.


Sandra 2 years ago

I was hired as a cca and they put me with a rc I guess to start me off and my experience so for wasn't good. He cased his mail and pretended I want even there. When we went out he told me that traunding wasn't guys area


Sandra 2 years ago

Didn't finish that post! Anyway, when I went out with him he told me that training wasn't his area and he wished they would have gotten someone else to do it. He blamed all his mistakes on me as to why he was late and why he had to double back to houses because he had forgotten to put customers mail in the slot. He was very negative the whole day and it just made me feel like crap. Needless to say I didn't learn the route and I don't know how I'm going to ever learn with him teaching me.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Sandra if you feel that his lack of proper training could cost you your job tell your manager. Maybe they can put you with another trainer or send you to another station to be trained. Thanks for reading!


Cheleste 2 years ago

you're telling the cca's to quit or reconsider employment ,however you haven't quit yourself? wow. why are half of you guys still working for the post office if you guys have so much negativity to mention? resign, that simple. The post office don't need you as much as you think. If it doesn't work out for one of you doesn't mean you should plant seeds of doubt to anyone especially if you have NOTHING good to say with your so called "advice". #bloggers #smh


Cheleste 2 years ago

Someone name ONE perfect job. Oh yea, THERE IS NONE! everyone will find flaws in every job, but you tell me one job that you can get hired and get paid $30 hr with no college degree? I'll wait..

some of you'all need to count y'all blessings instead of being ungrateful, ppl out here with no jobs and some making $10 hr trying to make it smh shit give me your title and I bet you i'll retire and get my coins.


Cheleste 2 years ago

This was a very negative blog, I was really looking for some information and this was so negative and wasn't at all helpful. Even if you did want to mention the downside you still had nothing good to say. I'm sure you were able to put your kids through college and make a decent living...if you don't want to be a regular then give a cca your title, that goes for any of one of you ungrateful regulars making twice as much as a cca but still complains, yea the post office is backwards most of the times but where else is there to go? the strip club? stealing? minimum wage? nope, im good... hard work never killed anyone.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Cheleste where did I tell anyone to quit? Are you drunk? I am just trying to help them make a decision by exposing them to the reality of the situation. I don't need your coins because I have put away plenty for my own retirement. You are right, people should not be happy with 10 dollar an hour jobs, and I gripe about that too. I love my CCA babies and I fight for them. They love me too. I love you too except when you are on the sauce. Come meet me someday if you can catch me. I work really fast, my bosses love my work ethic but I can't deny reality. Thanks for reading dear.


Kim 2 years ago

Thanks Mel,

Already joined! Mel, being that I'm new do you have a technique that you can share for remembering the route. I'm filing in for someone and not familiar with the area at all. Casing is new to me too, when you're casing the mail how do you know what point you will be walking and how many letters to grab for your loop so you don't have to walk back to the truck? I really want to learn my job. I'm loving all the walking, please help I really like this and with your help and words of wisdom I can do this Mel. Thank you for everything. I appreciate you!


katie 2 years ago

Some of what is said is soo true. I am a CCA and they put a longer pressure of time but whay don't kill you only makes you stronger. Go do your job and go home. Im a generally happy person but they do try to find tactics to make you miserable but for me it doesn't work. Its crazy sometimes the mind games they play


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Kim I am sorry if I delayed so long answering. There is no magic method, just look at your flat bundle and try to match the DPS letters as close as possible. I am sure you have mastered it by now. Thanks for reading!


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Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Go and do your job and go home, and DO NOT take the job home with you. Words of wisdom Katie, thanks for reading!


Emily 2 years ago

CCAs you do have some power. They may try and make you think you are despensible and they will fire you on a whim if you cross someone's toes but the truth is they NEED you very badly! They do not want you to quit! Of my three supervisors 2 are nice, the main boss is horrible, but I mentioned to one of the nice ones that I was feeling really run down and stressed out and was thinking about quitting and they were so nice to me for three days- I got to go home twice after only 8 hours, it didn't last but they were freaked out. I feel in my position I have some power because I have low living expenses and have already made (in like 7 weeks) enough money to last me 6 months. I think they need me more than I need them and I remind myself of that everyday. You don't make someone work 60-70 hours a week unless you desperately need them. The USPS can't keep CCAs to save their life. I still really want to quit and probably will soon but am trying to hang in there. One of my supervisors told me there will be a lot less hours in January, do you think that's true Mel? I find it hard to believe after everything I've read online.


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Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

If anything Emily there will be more hours in January because it is tax season and many CCAs will have bauled out by then. They will say anything to make you stay but I want you to stay too because you seem like a good person. You do have some power because I have heard it costs 4000 dollars to train a new CCA. Thanks for reading!


Philldafunk 2 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

Mel,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, and I also really liked the comments that everyone posted. I'll be starting my first day as a CCA tomorrow December 2nd.

I must say that I looked at my first check (just for training) and my jaw dropped?!?! I told all my classmates during training about all the scary things that I've read in the comment field, but I'll try not to let it get me discouraged.

I'm sure there's a ton of money to be made, and I have pretty tough skin.

Wish me luck!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Good luck to you Philldafunk. It's great you have thick skin, you will need it. There is hope in spite of the bleak landscape I have painted. They just promoted 75 CCAs to regular here in San Diego, so your union is working for you. Thanks for reading!


Philldafunk 2 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

So I finished my first day of OJI, and I must say it was a lot easier than I thought (mind you I was with my trainer the whole route), I was really expecting the worst.

I followed your advice and "fed the animals" a dozen mixed and a dozen donut holes, and they went so fast my trainer didn't even get a chance to get one.

I'll keep you posted.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

The animals are hungry Philldafunk. This job takes it out of you. Stay humble until you deliver a route by yourself a couple times without pissing off the supervisor. If he tells you nothing consider him happy. Keep me posted and thanks for checking in.


kevin1012 2 years ago

First of all, I would like to thank you for providing very detailed information about what is going on inside the post office. I was hired less than 2 mo. ago as a CCA. Very tough job. But I am still hanging in there and will be. Right now I am very much interested in how to get faster. Is there any trick to master or like most people say it comes with time. What is it? I really want to know. I seem to be faster on Park n Loop route than Mounted route. And I don't like whole bunch of CBU boxes which take most of my time. Knowing the line of travel is a must for speed? Or fingering faster? Can you tell me any tricks to deal with and get faster? Appreciate it in advance..


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Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

kevin1012 on a park and loop you have to keep your feet moving at all times. Unstrap your bundles as you are walking to the first delivery. On curbside and CBU deliveries finger all the letters for the box before throwing them in, not one at a time. One movement to the box as much as possible. Don't overthink things, grab your mail and go. You will miss something here and there but the worst thing you can do is fiddle around at the back of the vehicle trying to make things pretty and perfect. Have all the mail in one place instead of jumping back and forth between the front and back. Good luck, let me know how it goes and thanks for reading!


kevin1012 2 years ago

Thank you for the tips. Great, you hit the nail on the head. On a park n loop, the most frustration is little tiny mail slot and I have large flats and lots of DPS letters for one house. Sometimes I have to lift the mail slot lid that requires my left hand. Organizing the LLV is one key to be faster I heard. How do you set up your vehicle? Next thing I want to know is if the supervisor puts you and I on a route we both have never been, I bet you can finish way earlier than me. What is the secret that you have and I don't in this case? Sorry to ask too many questions here. I just want to know and improve.


Liz 2 years ago

Hey Mel, I worked for the usps for 6 days and resigned due to unforseen circumstances. Days before I resigned my supervisor wasn't really happy about my performance because I was left alone after the 2nd day and was unable to deliver the bulk of the mail and had to call to the office for assistance. This made her very angry I loved my job but she made it impossible for me to stay and be happy there after a few days at her location. I am a very respectful person and it really hurt when she belittled me and made fun of me in front of the all the staff. I was recently contacted through email to interview for the same position but at another location and my question to you is will they really consider hiring me back after I resigned? It's been 4 weeks since I left is it possible that they made a mistake and they really didn't mean to send me that email? I want to work but they need to realize that everyone learns at a different rate and you should not be made fun of if you are unable to do something when your new at the job. Please let me know what you think. I just want to work and find peace at my job.


Pcsoul8 2 years ago

I know u don't get much hours at first. How long will it take to make a 40 hr week and do postal give GPS. Do they give a map. How do ppl go about finding streets. What's the process. Thanks


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Kevin1012 there is no magic pill that is going to make you faster, just time and practice. Again just make sure you have all your mail lined up in one place and keep your feet moving. Perhaps I would kick your butt on a new route but since I have 20 years and you have a couple weeks that is not much to brag about. Thanks for reading!


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Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Liz it cannot hurt to try. Although some postal supervisors have a sadistic streak and unrealistic expectations I haven't heard of or met anyone as cruel as you describe. Sounds like she is breaking a few employment laws. Respond to the email and if they ask about that supervisor just say there was a misunderstanding, don't talk bad about her until you are in good. Thanks for reading!


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Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California Author

Pcsoul8 I don't know who told you that CCAs are not getting any hours. Where I am they are getting at least 40 and then some. One key to success with this job is that you have to be self reliant. You won't get a GPS. You might get a map some days....maybe. It is really up to you to either use your smart phone or if you don't have one to get your own maps. Don't expect them to. Thanks for reading!


Liz 2 years ago

If I went through the employment process before should I call and ask if that is necessary again and explain to them that I was employed with another post office but had resigned from that branch but express that I really want to work with the post office? I will need the training on the route but I'm not sure if I would need to go through the whole training again? I applied for several positions and I'm on the hiring list but it takes a while for them to contact you and I'm afraid if I don't go to the interview for the position that they are offering me they will take my name off of the hiring list. What are your thoughts?


Barbara 24 months ago

Hello Mel,

This site was a great find. I believe I will be hired as a CCA, do you have any tips on how I can learn my route faster and how will I know how much mail to take with me when I stop the vehicle to walk to deliver the mail on foot? Thank you..


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 24 months ago from San Diego California Author

Liz just downplay your former postal employment. Answer all questions honestly, but there is no need to volunteer information if you are not asked. Thanks for reading.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 24 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Barbara. I hope you have read the other CCA articles here too. There is no real way to learn a route faster apart from doing it except maybe to study the area in advance, but since you usually won't know what route you are carrying tomorrow that is kind of difficult. If you have a smart phone practice using the maps feature. If not buy maps because you can't count on the post office to provide them.

As far as knowing what mail to take, it will be bundled out for you and the parcels will hopefully be labeled. You will have three days training that will explain all this. If your trainer is grouchy about you asking questions ask the other carriers and CCAs. Thanks for reading!


kevin1012 24 months ago

Hello, Mel

This is the Christmas time, I am buried with packages. The sup utilizes new hires like me to run packages than mail. And on Sundays for Amazon. That's all ok, but I realize running packages is somewhat different from mail. I think USPS has not implemented any system backing this package. Especially on Sundays, the sup tells us " ok, there is no turn by turn paperwork grab couple of hampers and go, and return by noon." What? there are about 80-100 packages without any direction to finish within 4 hours? Gotta be kidding. The USPS does not provide any GPS, I have to use my own smart phone. What's up with this? Any idea on package service competing UPS and Fedex? This is so primitive way of handling business I think.. What are your thoughts?


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Mel Carriere 24 months ago from San Diego California Author

It is undeniably a primitive way of doing business Kevin1012. From what I understand UPS has all package delivery computerized and timed to the second. The reason why we are taking so much of their business is because we are cheap and money talks, but we need to upgrade. Today my scanner died completely. Luckily I only had two packages left when it happened, or you can imagine. There is no way to stay competitive under these conditions. Thanks for reading.


Philldafunk 24 months ago from San Antonio, Texas

Week 4 on the job, and as of right now all we new CCA's are doing are parcel runs with some occasional kickoffs after we return. Initially they gave us turn by turn instructions but the parcels were never put in order. I swear I spent more time trying to get them in order before I even started delivering.

What I started doing was just grouping them by routes and using my gps on my phone, with this method I'm able to make it back in a little over 4 hours.

In regards to the handful of times I've delivered mail, i absolutely loathe the old school mail slots from the 40's when you've got a stack of flats for the house and I absolutely LOVE when they have a basket at the doorstep.

I'll keep you posted.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 24 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Philldafunk it looks like you are able to think on your feet and improvise, which is important in this job. Yes door slots suck, especially when the wrong mail goes down that slot. Thanks for reading and keep us posted.


Cca corey 23 months ago

Yeaaa I've been a cca/the for 8 years in February and I can't make regular WTF every time I'm about to make regular some happens like getting 3 transfers in the last year and half... Please give me some advice because I'm starting lose my mine and not give a crap anymore... Today is dec27 and my post master said he was gonna make me a regular to but noooooo again so much for his WORD ... What should I do???


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

Talk to your union buddy. This has to be some kind of abuse of the contract. In other places CCAs are getting promoted like crazy. Thanks for reading.


CCA Darren 23 months ago

Hello, I enjoyed reading your article and will take heed to your suggestions. I'm 25 and got an open schedule so I'm ready to bust my a** and do what needs to be done. My orientation is on Monday 1/12.

I have a question thought. On February 18th I must go to court for an arraignment for traffic. Luckily my court and my post location is located in the same city and is a few blocks away. How should I go about this? I was thinking as time gets closer..a couple of weeks. I will talk to the post master and tell him I have a prior obligation and should be finished by 9:30 to 10:00. Am I protected by law to do that? Can I say that I may need to come in late and put in the extra hours into the night if I must? Or do I have to take the whole day off? I also have a medical procedure coming up..a skin graphing for receding gum lines. Would it be better to use that for an explanation bring a receipt or note from the doctor and knock out two birds in one stone? I just don't want to be seen badly, but I plan to be such a dedicated worker that I will probably be looked upon well. I also plan on baking some cookies to bring to the other CCA's and carriers. Once again. Good article. =]


CCA Darren 23 months ago

Oh I also plan on bringing a bagged lunch and an extra raincoat in case of rain. Do we get lockers or some place of storage?


CCA Darren 23 months ago

Oh also..do stations have maps of the areas you disperse the mail? Like city maps that you can take along with you? Or would I need to purchase a map on my own?


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Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

The medical excuse sounds good Darren. I wouldn't mention the court. No, you don't have to take the whole day off and your boss will love you if you come in. Most post offices have lockers but that doesn't guarantee a locker will be available. Carry everything you need. Some post offices are good at giving you maps and others are not. Get your own or better yet use your smart phone if you have one. Good luck and thanks for reading!


CCA Darren 23 months ago

Man you're super cool. =] I saw what you said about that unruly commentator and the sauce. lol that was funny. Well those are pretty much my concerns. Thanks for the advice! Take care. =]


KAG30 23 months ago

I have been a CCA for 3 months. I would like to know your opinion on what they're making the CCA's at our office do. We come in at 7, case a route and carry it and have been getting a hand off of about 1 hour to and hour and 15 minutes. Then when we get back, they're making us pitch parcels until they're all sorted. So we end up staying until 7 or 730 which makes for a 12 hour day. It is wearing me out.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Darren glad to help, good luck!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

KAG30 I hate to say it but that sounds pretty par for the course in the day in the life of a CCA. You can always double check with the Union but I think you are pretty much stuck until you make regular. The good news is making regular is probably not as long a wait as you think. Hang in there and thanks for reading!


Mya c 23 months ago

I'm so glad that I've found this hub! Finally someone who understands and can give me so much incite. I've been a Cca for over 3 months now and it is hell!! I've been the pile on girl! One day off and sometimes No days off. No time to get anything done! I'm always finishing a route early and I've now started taking my breaks and lunches! Today way horrible it was negative 5below degrees and snowing pretty bad! I had 22 relays and a lot of parcels I asked for help and the regular only relieved me of 3! I still ended up coming in past 6:30 with parcels left and 1 relay ! I usually move pretty fast but the fridgid temperature, ice and snow slowed me down a lot. This is my first winter. They want me to start coming in at 7:30 to case and bid on routes! But I don't want to be coming in early and still getting off past 5! I have a small child and I feel like I hardly see her now! I really wanna let this go just hoping to find better! Any advice thanks a lot! We needed to hear this just wish I could've seen it sooner


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Mya c, the "pile on" girl. The best advice I can give is advice you've already started doing, which is taking your lunch and breaks. Fortunately your wait to make regular may not be too long, CCAs are getting promoted fairly steadily now. Once you make regular you can go on 8 hours only which will get you home at a regular time every day, but in the meantime I guess you just have to endure the rigors of CCA life. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Mya 23 months ago

Thanks for the response. Another question I have for u. I just made my 90 days as a Cca recently. I reside in Illinois where the winters are pretty bad! Tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest winter. -13 below. I wAs thinking about calling off but I don't know if I'll lose my job. Seeing as tho there will be a lot of help needed. But I don't think anyone should be out in that type of weather. would calling off jeopardize my job?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

You're talking to the wrong person. I'm the Palm Tree postman, Mya. It was 86 degrees here yesterday. I don't know anything about bad weather. But I would say that calling in won"t make you a lot of friends and not just with the supervisors. Good luck in that bad weather and thanks for the teturn visit.


Philldafunk 23 months ago from San Antonio, Texas

I got canned today. I'm pretty gutted because one of the worst feelings is giving something your best shot, and still failing. During the holiday rush all they had us new CCA's doing were parcel runs. Once it eased up a bit we began carrying mail. Initially I was on the same route and I had to call for help in order to make it back before 5. I finally was able to finish on my own and make it back around 430-445 (I'd get to the office at 9).

I was happy because I thought that was decent time for the amount of mail I had (5-6 trays DPS 3 trays flats) 60-70 parcels. Apparently I was supposed to have been back by 3 to take a kick off. I told the SUP that I wasn't sure how I could shave 1.5 hours when I was already going as fast as I could w/o breaks or lunch.

I was pulled into the office today and was told that in addition to not making my times I left some mail in the truck on Friday (questionable) and cut me loose.

I'm not really all that upset, but it still kinda hurts to go out that way especially after giving it my best shot.

To all new CCA's I wish I had some advice, but I couldn't even make it past my 90.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

Phildafunk you have been a fantastic visitor to this site and I am very sorry to hear this news. Call your Union to see if there is anything they can do for you. Whatever happens, you seem like an intelligent person and I am sure you can find something much better if you are persistent. Thanks for all your great comments, feel free to stop by if you have questions.


Chris2015 23 months ago

Well, I very much appreciate this article. I am a new hire and about to go to CCA Academy tomorrow. All of us in the previous classes (orientation, driver training) are just as doe-y eyed as you described in the first paragraph of this article. My shadow day was nothing like I was expecting, my guy haaaaaated me shadowing him and would barely talk to me, much less look at me. When he did speak with me, it was about how much he couldn't stand the sup and what a jerk he was. However, most of they guys I spoke with have been there for a long time. My questions is: Why do they continue to operate under what you describe as such hostile conditions? Also, is there any advice you can give as to how to act when you are being grilling in a bad way by your sup? Do you just take it and say nothing? I am very concerned about all of this, but am still willing to give it a shot. TIA - much appreciated article and comments (most of which I can really relate to)!


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Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Chris2015. I would say defend yourself, but in a respectful way. Don't raise your own voice no matter how bad the supervisor is getting. Your trainer sounds like a real jerk. He was new at some point, and training is completely voluntary. Why does he do it if he can't make an effort? SMH. Good luck and thanks for reading.


mypaycheck 22 months ago

well i just started as a cca...went through driver and training academy and pay day comes around and guess what they don't have my paycheck...if your a new employee shouldn't there be something in place for this not to happen? secondly the job is common,sense but what confuses me is the parking points...i got kind of confused because i didn't know the area but the cca's in my office are very helpful so im,thankful...ive worked at walmart and,target before so stress isn't an issue. the issue i have is that the owners of the dogs should have respect for us postal employees and have control of their dogs...other than that the job is fine


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Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

First of all if they don't have your check they are required to pay you cash out of the safe immediately. Don't let them jack you around on your money, no one would do this for free. Parking ponts is easy, just park as close as you can to the first address. Don't overcomplicate it. Thanks for reading.


mypaycheck 22 months ago

silly question but i am on a trial route that had me start at address #24 and i did that loop but towards the end of the the mail was everywhere i didn't case it so i had to go with what the other person did. is it better to start on the odd side and go even or the other way...and this customer who said he had prior postal servoce was telling me i was going the wrong way...i was even more pissed but said nothing.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

If in doubt follow the DPS letter mail. The DPS is in the correct order. Whoever cased the route did a bad job or had an accident with the mail. When that happens just deliver the 1st and 2nd class and bring the out of sequence standard, mail back. Thanks for reading!


teve 111 22 months ago

I've been walking straight for over a year now as a cca In a small 3 route office. One regular has work restrictions saying can't walk the other regular is just a ahole. I hate the job and can't wait to quit. 6 days a week 10 to 13 miles a day, no real benefits, and no chance of advancement. Only reason haven't quit because I like being outdoors. No questions here just bored on this holiday that takes away my ot.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you for stopping by teve 111. Sorry to hear about your woes and bad coworkers, but CCAs are getting promoted to regular a lot more rapidly than I expected, so there may be light at the end of the tunnel for you.


teve 111 22 months ago

Both regulars won't retire or transfer so its 15 years or more before a vacant route is available. My pm is an awesome boss as long as I get done in time. The regulars think its fun to mis case flats and go home at noon on Saturday to piss me off. I'm the only cca to make it one year in this office. And don't forget to tell people that when a route becomes vacant a regular from another office can take it before a cca can. In other words the light at the end of tunnel can be filled by a regular miles away. I can't wait until routes become contracted like FedEx. I know that's bad to say but that's the only light for me.


teve 111 22 months ago

If that last post wasn't depressing enough, my 4 year old son wants to be a postman when he got home today from school to be like daddy. What can I say more depressing than that. Start at 15hr walk all day 10hrs work 6 days a week with a false hope of someday becoming full time. All I tell him is "It used to be a good job years ago."


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

They all say that when they are little. He will change. How is it possible to have an office with 3 city routes? Sounds more rural like. Any hope for transfer? Your coworkers need to grow up. They are probably mad you are taking away their OT but that is on the postal service, not you.


Damon 22 months ago

Love reading all the posts. I did the drug test and background check last week for a CCA position. Did 3 different interviews for the post office last couple months and finally got on it looks like. How long does it usually take for them to get back to you about the start of training after drug test, and do they call or email? thanks


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

My experience occurred 20 years ago but after being told I was hired I worried it out for a couple weeks until I finally called and was told to come in the next day. It couldn't hurt to call, just don't be a nuisance about it. Thanks for reading Damon.


kevin1012 22 months ago

I heard the CCAs work more than 40 hrs a week but I hardly pass 40 hrs. I've been with PO for more than three months, the sup has never brought me in earlier than 930. I thought I am ready for casing, I even asked for it but never given me a chance. Am I being singled out? Is it what called favoritism or even racism game? I noticed some CCAs who are hired after me case the mail. I can handle and tolerate mental, physical work challenge but favoritism or racism? probably not..What are your thoughts?


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Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California Author

kevin1012 Postal Supervisors are numbers driven. They are held to strict requirements with the hours they use to move the mail, and although there may be a handful with personal racist or sexist convictions, when it comes to moving the mail they are color blind. It could be that you are just better delivering on the street than you are in the office. I'm not that great in the office either but I'm a burner on the street, where I more than make up for my somewhat lackluster office performance. You can always talk to your supervisor about it honestly and let them know you are interested in casing routes in the office. Once you prove your worth believe me, they will use you in this capacity. Thanks for reading.


Josh M. 21 months ago

Hi Mel,

I just wanted to thank you for your no-nonsense, realistic view on a USPS career as you've experienced it. I am a bit overwhelmed thinking about how potentially stressful it could be and then potientially regret leaving my current job, but feel the risk of trying it is worth it because I love staying physically active, outdoors and can handle stress well.

I just received a job offer for CCA in Arlington Heights, IL, a northwest suburb outside of Chicago, and my interview said he has recently had multiple CCA's earn regular positions in fewer than six months. I guess a lot of the staff is older. It sounds like this is happening with more frequency from what you've been hearing and seeing as well. Is that correct?

Anyhow, I enjoyed reading the article and comments, and know who to come to with any questions. Thanks for your time and insight. Have a great day and take care.

Josh


Josh M. 21 months ago

interviewer*


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California Author

Thank you Josh for the great comment. It is true that CCAs are making regular now but it depends on how hard the local union is pushing it. 6 months may be a bit unrealistic. Good luck to you, I appreciate you dropping in.


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Julsimjusi 21 months ago

Hey, Mel

I've been a CCA since January in Brooklyn, NY, one of several overcrowded states. I'm on foot six days a week and I work anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day. I'm in pain, I'm now limping everyday due to pain in my left foot.

Not to mention how much I hate this job. I hate it so much, I don't know why I'm still here. My body hurts more everyday. I was hoping that I would get used to it. Your blog is really helpful. Any suggestions?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California Author

My first suggestion is to see a doctor. Then check your shoes. I wear these Nike air monarchs that look like uniform shoes but are not. Next, evaluate your career path and hang in there, because making regular may not be far away And then you won't work as much. Thanks for reading.


InItToWin 21 months ago

Hi Mel...I just want a little insight. I started this entire process back in January. In February, opportunities came up for RCA in tow nearby towns. 1 is 24 miles away and the other is just as scant 8 miles. I applied and was immediately called upon for interviews for both towns, both in the same week. The second interview (24 miles away) submitted me as hired on the spot. I have done my drug screen, background check, and, as of yesterday, completed my new hire paperwork. Yesterday afternoon, the main regular I would be subbing for started trying to get in touch with me. We got together, where I was informed that town #2 (8 miles away) wants to hire me, but I have to turn down the job offer for town #1 (24 miles). Town #2 is where I grew up and I know the sub route very well already. Town #1, well, I am not familiar with it at all. My problem is...I have already been hired for #1 and just awaiting orientation and training dates. I am worried that #2 will drag their feet, especially since they have had over 2 weeks to inform me of the disposition of the job. I have since discovered that PM #1 and PM #2 discussed my application and suitability and #1 jumped to hire me before #2 could. I guess what I am trying to figure out is...since I am more comfortable with being closer to home and know the route already...should I turn down the job offer from #1 (a sure thing) and start in-processing for #2 (dragging feet)? I know I do not get compensation for mileage from home to the PO and my knowledge of #2's routes would make the OJT much simpler for the trainer. I have many friends in the USPS locally (#2), not so much at #1. Just as an idea of what I am dealing with, also...#2 has 9 rural routes, while #2 has 5 rural routes and an aux. rte. At #2, I would also be closer to becoming regular, as I would be 3rd as oppose to 6th at #1 station. Any ideas?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California Author

An old saying goes that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. More routes mean more work for you and don't worry, you are going to learn those routes quickly. With only five routes you will probably be sitting home a lot. Thanks for reading Inittowin.


new 21 months ago

Can Cca's opt in to a benefits package? I know after you become full-time you do but what about us?


chauncy 20 months ago

What an eye opening blog. Im gonna start soon. Thank you for this. Im going in expecting the worse but you have eliminated the potential doubt I would have had if I wasn't prepared for all the bs im gonna have to deal with. I will be working hard and to the best of my ability, but will take all the bs with a grain of salt. That should get me through it!


PD 20 months ago

Hi Mel your honest opinion have 2 interviews lined up this week one for RCA and other one for CCA which one would u take if you were in my shoes, with all the knowledge and wisdom under your belt 20+ years. Looking for a career in the USPS so I'm willing to put my time in and not scared of working hard even after reading all these posts. From what I gathered here and from doing my own research I think CCA sounds the best way to go . Thanks in advance .


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California Author

It is best to be prepared for the worst chauncy. Thanks for reading!


hannah 20 months ago

Im startingg as an rca...what are conversion numbers looking like


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California Author

I don't know much about RCAS hannah, being a city carrier, but I know it takes several years to get a route. CCA is actually a much quicker path to promotion. Thanks for reading.


Darcy 20 months ago

Hi I was hired as a cca1 in jan went through training worked 15 days walking the mail in the blizzard . Between the ice and snow and the thawing and re freezing and uneven walking tracks and knee deep snow and ice cleats on... I ended up with severe knee strain seen doc immediately was on workers comp off for 6-8 weeks and now going back tomorrow with a thurs-sat work week so far. Unsure what they got in store for me at this point. I am retired from 2 good jobs and have 4 years left till I reach 62. I don't depend on this job but am wanting to work at least part time but it was full time plus with this job before injury. My question is can they fire me and is it 90 working days is the probation period ... Time off injured is not counted in those days right? Thanks for any info you give and love your site.


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Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California Author

Sorry Darcy if I am not qualified to answer your workers comp questions, but yes 90 days is the probation period and I think that applies to every time they renew your CCA contract for a year. Thanks for reading.


hannah 20 months ago

We have thirteen rural routes (hello from golden gate!). Our trainer says a majority of our carriers are on their way out and that future is bright for cca and rca. I wanna believe her haha


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California Author

Your trainer is a craft employee who is not unduly influenced by management propaganda, so maybe she is telling the truth. Good luck!


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Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California Author

New I believe yes after 90 days you can opt into a benefits package. Thanks for reading.


Marie 19 months ago

I must say its kinda funny to read all these posts. When I went to my interview (which was 3 hrs away) I was told that I would have to call my post office to see how many hours I would be working a week. The posting for the job said about 30 hrs a week. I went to training where we were told to wrap up our lives now because we would be so busy with the post office. I do agree with the stuff that you said in your post btw however I got sent to a P.O. in a small town where I only work between 4 and 8 hrs a week! I have contacted surrounding P.O.s and offered to help but that has only happened about 8 times since November. In my office we have 1 full time route and 1 route that is strictly walking ( I get mail out of collection boxes) and it only 4 hrs long. I love doing this job however the carrier that is on the short route is actually a PTF and she doesn't want to become full time anyplace else. I was told that she could be forced to take a full time route eventually someplace else. The other carrier has been there for 8 years so she isn't leaving anytime soon. I read on the union website that if a PTF takes a full time route in another installation that when a route becomes available in there original installation that the PTF's seniority travels so she could come back, however a CCA's seniority does not travel. How true is it that she could be forced to take a full time route someplace else? If she does and I got the short route ( which is 6 days a week since its so short) and stayed until the full time carrier retires could the PTF really come back and take the full time route? If that were to happen then would I really start at the bottom of the list at another office if I transferred? I kind of wish I had the issues of working so much like other posters say however my issue is the complete opposite. Also if I chose to transfer how would I go about doing it? I see they are hiring at 2 offices near by. Your help is greatly appreciated.


Marie 19 months ago

Oh also if she would get transferred and I took over the short route would I still only be a CCA since it isn't a full time route? Is there any plus to staying there other than getting more hours from working it 6 days a week?


Bogomoe 18 months ago

Hey Mel, Thanks for the info. I will interview for a CCA in Berkeley, Ca. next week.

Is there somewhere I can find out how much the starting rate is?, how big the area is?, what the average promotion time is?, etc?

I'm male, 51, have had some very strenuous jobs - physical, mental and both at the same time.

I have a knack for being organized and can work well under pressure when there is a rhythm. What others call a rut I call a rhythm - part of being a drummer-guitarist I guess.

I have multiple applications in, mostly for regular carriers around the East Bay Area, but this CCA in Berkeley is the one that has me being interviewed. If decide I might be getting into something that will just be trouble, and don't want to shoot myself in the foot for future consideration for the other positions, is it best to decline the interview upfront?, go to the interview and decline if offered?, accept the job and give it a go and hope for the best?

I have 14+ years Federal service time. Does time spent as a CCA contribute towards Federal retirement time?

Thanks Mel.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 18 months ago from San Diego California Author

As far as I know Bogomoe they are not hiring anyone as a Regular Carrier straight out of the chute, you have to go in as a CCA. If somebody is telling you otherwise they are giving you false information. Even if you have an application in for regular carrier, you will still be a CCA if you are accepted and will have to wait your turn to move up. As far as average promotion time and area, etc, it all depends on the area you live in. I don't know about the retirement time but I can't see why CCA service wouldn't count. Thanks for reading.


Bogomoe 18 months ago

Hey Mel, Thanks for the response.

No one told me that. On the USPS job search website they have regular carrier openings listed that I have applied for. I didn't know you MUST start as a CCA. I'm just under informed at this point :-).

As far as checking out the Berkeley area, I guess I could drive over there and maybe catch a CCA out working and ask a few questions, or is there a website or something else you can recommend for finding out a fact or 2?

Thanks for your work on all this. It definitely helps people like me.


MNC2 16 months ago

I'm considering applying for a CCA position. In a typical day how many addresses can one expect? When I was a teenager I had several paper routes at one time, delivering 400 papers daily. I would run the entire time to get it done fast. As a CCA, are you allowed to run? This seems like a very simple and easy job, is there something more to the job that I'm not seeing? Why all the doom and gloom? How hard can walking/running really be? For now I see it as a potential to get paid to workout.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 16 months ago from San Diego California Author

If you are in your 20s MNC2 I guess you can run if you wish, but I'll you'll get is more work for it. The problem is after several years the job catches up to you. You are going to get hurt. Every carrier I know has a bad knee, a bad ankle, a bad shoulder, a bad elbow, carpal tunnel, or all of the above. Mostly all of the above. We have an old timer right now who was quite the runner as a youngster, but the job has taken its toll and he has been on extended months long stints of rehab here in the twilight of his career for various health reasons, all related to tripping on something or banging into something. Running is fine when you are young, I suppose, but you have to remember it's a marathon not a sprint and if you plan to be in it for the long haul you have to take care of yourself. As far as the first question goes, I have known ex newspaper delivery people and pizza delivery people who said the same thing as you, "How hard could it be?" and then when they got into it they couldn't take it and quit. You have to see it for yourself, and you have to go in with a humble attitude. If you go in like you are going to run circles around these old timers you better be careful, because they will humble you. Otherwise, enjoy your workout and I wish you the best.


MNC2 16 months ago

Thanks for the reply. I am in fact in my 20s. There is so much negativity about this job. I'd like to nail down as many details as possible and make an informed decision. How many miles would you say a CCA covers daily? How many addresses? If a CCA is basically a substitute, how often do they get the same route? Is it common to work 6 days in a week with 6 different routes? I've seen comments about unsafe trucks and no break/lunch time. Is that true? How can you have no breaks in a 10 hour work day? Where do mail carriers use the bathroom? Would I be responsible for sorting the mail before embarking on my route, or am I given a full truck ready to go?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 16 months ago from San Diego California Author

Nobody measures the miles. Every route has different amounts of addresses, it is not fixed. You can opt on routes but there is no guarantee that you will get them so yes, you will work different routes every day. All that stuff about no breaks is not always true, but can be. Bathrooms vary. Yes you may or may not have to sort mail. There are no easy answers.


Abel 14 months ago

Hi Mel. I very much appreciate this article. I am a new hire as a CCA . My orientation class is on Monday . I heard all type of things about this job good and bad.

Im really happy about getting this job. I know the road is gonna be difficult but I will make it to the end.

Can you give me some advice .... thanks


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 14 months ago from San Diego California Author

Yes Abel. Don't confuse yourself overthinking things. If your trainer says don't worry about something don't worry about it. Just try to master the simple basic tasks first, then you can worry about the finer points. Thanks for reading.


Baddayer 13 months ago

A job name "cca"in post office is not human can do it, most of supervisors is mean to cca,because most of supervisors don't have get educated ,they don't know how to respect people ,they push everyone ,especially cca, they don't care how much work you got,hoping u work as much as can, or maybe I can say hoping u can work until u die,that is the job!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 13 months ago from San Diego California Author

That sounds like a dreary scenario, Baddayer, but it is essentially true. Postal supervisors are notoriously uneducated. In fact, education seems to be a liability because in school they teach you about professional management practices, and these don't carry over well into postal supervision. Thanks for reading!


Abel ceja 13 months ago

Month ago was hired as a cca .. now i do understand why no one cant handle that job... 2 days of training and i was out on the street by my own.. didnt know the routes still to be back at the office like the regular ones.. plus need to do the caising in time like they do is just insane... I almost forgot about this never trust nobody they will do everything on theyr hands so you dont make it thru the 3 month probation. I quit today!!!! Feel alive again..


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 13 months ago from San Diego California Author

Maybe you did the right thing Abel. Maybe you lost some money but you saved your soul. Good luck to you in the future.


nacho cca 10 months ago

all bullshit I have been a cca for almost 3 years in July. I will be a regular in a month and a half, one of the regulars transferred. It is true that management will try to take advantage of you. That's only if you let them. When they tried that shit on me I made sure to let them know I'm no sucker and stood up for myself. Remember it's all up to you. You and only you can defend your self.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California Author

Very true nacho cca. Too many people are intimidated into silence. Thanks for reading!


nacho cca 10 months ago

Mel carrier would you happen to know how long does it take exactly after the route gets posted on eReassign for me to become a regular? Thank you


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California Author

I'll look into it nacho cca. That's not exactly how it works in San Diego, we have so many empty routes and so many CCAs that I just think they notify the CCA when they make regular, or are about to make regular. But I'll see if somebody knows. By the way, there is an excellent NALC Facebook group page that you should join. If you ask your question there somebody will certainly answer it.


naacho cca 10 months ago

Thanks a lot Mel. I really appreciate you looking into that here in Harrison NY they try to prolong stuff till the very end. Thank you again.


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Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California Author

They do that everywhere nacho. Thanks again.


James LA CCA 7 months ago

This a great post and glad I found it. All the information you've written is absolutely true. This is one of the most grueling jobs I've ever had, mentally and physically. Make no mistake I am in for this for the long run; hopefully after I pass my probation which is in 3 weeks

My question is, being a new CCA, does not making your office return times as instructed by supervisors hinder your chances of making it past probation?

what other major things affect you making it past probation?

The closer to the date I get the more stressed out I am.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 7 months ago from San Diego California Author

If you are still there James they must like something about you. Have they spoken to you about your office return times? If so, that could be problematic. To be honest, I have not seen any CCAs in our office dismissed while on probation, and we have had some bad ones. Fortunately, you have a Union that will go to bat for you. Talk to your local union office and voice your concerns. Good luck to you, I hope you make your probation.


ShieldsCW 6 months ago

Are promotion times getting better for CCAs and PSEs? Everything I read on the subject is 3-6 years old, and refers to PTF employees being promoted first, but that there shouldn't be many left by now.

Are there are any other positions still getting promoted ahead of CCAs?


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Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California Author

We just had a PSE promoted Shields, so they are moving up. PTFs were promoted first - only fair because some of them had 8 years in, but they're all finished and now CCAs are being promoted regularly. Thanks for reading!


RJ 6 months ago

I REALLY must be doing something wrong. I've recently cleared my probationary period as a CCA and for the most part, have found everyone I work with to be really helpful and willing to teach me the ropes. I feel much more competent than I did from even a few weeks ago, and have also found management to be supportive as well. Admittedly, the first several weeks WERE a real challenge and very stressful, but that has past and I feel there is always someone I can turn to for assistance.


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Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California Author

You are in a great situation RJ and I hope you get to stay there for a while. Every once in a while we find these postal paradises like yours. Thanks for reading!


Dave 6 months ago

I literally just accepted a CCA position (mere minutes ago) and now I'm afraid I've made a terrible mistake. :(


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Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California Author

Don't let my words deter you Dave. I'm describing a worst case scenario. Your actual experience will hopefully fall somewhere in between Postal Paradise and Purgatory. It is entirely realistic that you will even like it. Good luck!


Ed 5 months ago

Sorry for the issues that you folks are having. In the Fair Oaks Post Office (Sacramento Ca.) my CCA's are making regular in approx 18 months, which means thay have there route and are getting the full benifits of a regular carrier. We have a retention rate of 100% so we are doing something right with our 37 routes.


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Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California Author

I'm glad Fair Oaks is doing so well Ed. In San Diego it takes about 2 years. It's still a tough road ahead for all the newbies. Thanks for reading!


New Guy 5 months ago

Hi Mel,

I just passed the test and just waiting for a email about the interview. Currently reside in Brooklyn, NY. Work for the City and still debating if I should become a CCA


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California Author

Give it a try New Guy. You can always quit later if you don't like it. Give it a chance.


New guy 5 months ago

Debating only because I'm looking for something new and I work for the city with full benefits and good pay but dislike what I'm doing now because I'm being under uncompensated by doing more than one position. I don't know if it's a good thing to do USPS I'm not sure if that will be giving up my career to do USPS and I don't become a career employee with USPS. I would have to start from the beginning and lose my benefits etc


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Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California Author

New guy, the road to regular is about a year and a half to two years. If you make the grade you are guaranteed a shot at regular based upon the current contract, but they are busy negotiating a new contract now, so things may be subject to change. City jobs these days seem to have better benefits than us. Our health care is pricey. I would weigh my decision carefully. Thanks for reading.


Wannabe Carriere 5 months ago

1: Sooo I start orientation Monday-Tuesday but I have two promising interviews both days...will it effect my hiring process if i reschedule by Sunday as my email states.

2: Also I was selected as a CCA for a small PO which only has 6 routes, but will I get pulled to the busier POs to help out within the county if they are short. Also my Postmaster where I I was selected calls me every other day to see where I am at with the hiring process ..smh


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California Author

I can't make that decision for you wannabe. Maybe by rescheduling you will be perceived as flaky. You definitely will be passed around from office to office, especially in a place with only six routes. Good luck.


Wannabe Carriere 5 months ago

Thanks for the insite...deff hate to start a job & quite.


EL- newbie 5 months ago

I have a 4 year old toddler, there are times where I will need to pick him up from school at 3:30pm. I have an interview for the CCA position tomorrow. Do the PO, work with CCA that have families to attend to?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 5 months ago from San Diego California Author

I am afraid to say probably not, Newbie. They are pretty ruthless about having you available when they need you. Be honest about this at the interview, maybe they have enlightened management where you live. I wish I had a happier answer. Thanks for reading.


Shawn 4 months ago

Hey Mel, Love your gritty truth on this occupation. I have applied for a CCA position in my home town. I have been in the military most of my adult life. I am 28 years old and love a challenge. I have always placed the mission first and I am no stranger to hard work. I feel like I was meant for this type of work. I am Also a member of the Army Reserves, will this effect me in a negitive way? Also is there any advice you can give? I'm in this for the long Hal no matter what I won't quit. Just want a career that's safer for me and less stressful on my wife and kids.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 4 months ago from San Diego California Author

Shawn you have the right attitude. The Army Reserves can't hurt you, because they are forced by law to respect your reserve time. Advice? Well, I have several other articles in this venue full of advice. If you visit. melcarriere.blogspot.com and click on the CCA link on the upper right you will find links to them. Thanks for reading and the best of luck!


Jay 4 months ago

Good afternoon, Mel:

First off, thanks for the insightful write-up, as well as for all of the answers to specific follow-on questions.

I've been looking to get out from behind a desk for some time now, and I recently applied/interviewed for a CCA position. I've already been into the PO to fill out some new hire related paperwork, and now I am waiting on the official offer to come down.

I've been doing my research, but it seems there is always more to know. Do you mind if I rattle off a handful of questions?:

1) The PO I would be working at is definitely on the smaller side with only 3 routes if I am not mistaken. That is concerning for me in terms of making FTR. I've read that CCAs may be part of bigger pool for potential FTR conversion if their PO is part of a larger "installation". Is there somewhere I can find out if my PO is part of one?

2) What are your thoughts on CCA wage increases across the board or the potential that CCAs as non-career positions are eliminated in favor of career positions? I've read a lot about the costly (and unanticipated) turnover with CCAs since creation of the position; I'm not holding my breath for USPS to offer more career positions out of the goodness of their heart, but I'm wondering if at some point they might realize it would make more fiscal sense to do so. Then again, staring at either Clinton or Trump, I am not getting my hopes up for any federal employees.

Case in point: If I know today that nothing would change for the indefinite future, I don't think I would give it a go and put in ~8 years to get to the previous starting wage. If I do give it a go, it's because I think there will be changes to the CCA role/compensation that are more beneficial than navigating the current step progressions.

3) Do you know anything about the new LLVs and their planned rollout. I would be working in an area with very hot temperatures, and my understanding is that the new LLVs will have A/C =D

Thanks for any insight!

Jay


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 4 months ago from San Diego California Author

Jay, as far as question one is concerned, call your local NALC union office. They can tell you. You are absolutely correct, with only three routes in an office you can get bogged down on the path to regular, and you might not get that many hours either. This is something you definitely need to investigate before taking the plunge.

As far as question 2 is concerned, currently our union is in contract negotiations. I don't have the details at my fingertips, but your union office might help again. Try this link for more info: https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/contract-ne...

Question 3 - The new vehicles should be rolling out in the next couple of years. I don't know if they will have AC or not, but the hard reality is that you are going to have to get out of that vehicle, and might not be spending a lot of time in the AC anyway. If you are sensitive to sunshine and hot temperatures, as some people are, you might reconsider.

I hope this helps, Jay. Thanks for reading.


Malachi 3 months ago

Hello Mel, thanks for all the help and the time you are giving us newbies.

I'm suppose to start orientation this week,

I am a little nervous because i dont have lots of experience driving, much less a truck, can you give me some insight as to what to expect during my training and once im out there on my own?

Also, my uncle has been a mailman for about 30 years and will retire soon, he asked his supervisor if i could join his station because it is a good neighborhood, he said i cant because i was already accepted somewhere else (which is not bad either) BUT he also said that in the future postal workers will be assigned to the stations closer to where they live.

Sounds too good to be true and wanted to ask you if you heard anything about that?

Thanks again for all the help, have a good one!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California Author

Malachi, I think they will tell you anything you want to hear to get you to sign up. In all fairness, I think they make an effort to get CCAs close to home, but you will be bouncing around between stations on occasion.

I have written a host of articles about CCAs that will help give you some insight. They can be accessed at http://hubpages.com/@melcarriere. Just scroll down the list on my profile there and you will find plenty of CCA articles.

Good luck to you. Keep me posted.


Jezebel Blue 3 months ago

@Mel Carrier

I am curious if you have any insight into something I have wondered about the USPS? Why aren't carrier positions offered as part-time?


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Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California Author

Ms. Blue,

We actually used to have a position called Part Time flexible, but the part-timer usually worked about 60 hours a week. CCAs are only guaranteed 4 hours a day, but the nature of mail delivery is such that they will be sent to the spot that needs the most help and as such will work eight hours and then some. Unlike other businesses, the mail cannot be delayed until tomorrow, everything has to go today, which means working people until dark if necessary. Technically, CCA probably is a part-time position but in practice does not work that way. Good question. Thanks for reading.


Elrey7 3 months ago

Hey Mel just saw this page while looking for lunch ideas on the route. You give them a good idea about the job. They have to realize their schedule is now at the supervisors discretion. Work sundays, holidays, early, and late. There is hope I was a CCA for 1 year and 8 months before being converted. I think once you get past your 90/120 you usually get the hang of times. Newbies listen to Mel don't kill you self trying to please supervisors, they will just ask more of you


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California Author

Elrey you are wise indeed. There is light at the end of the tunnel for the CCA. I hope you have a tasty lunch. I would wrote some lunch articles for you but if you saw the way I eat your stomach would turn. Thanks for reading!


Jeff 3 months ago

My postmaster had a heart attack and the majority of the people in the office were cheering. Was a horrible experience but that shows the kind of work environment the post office is. The post master has since transferred to another town because our union is too strong and he couldn't fire the employs that were cheering / applauding... Only in the post office


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California Author

He must have been really bad, Jeff, to merit that kind of disagreeable behavior. Yes there are labor/management disputes but we have to remember our manners and behave humanely. Thanks for reading.


NickJames 3 months ago

My only advise for CCA's is to listen to the regulars, earn your place, and don't run. The converting rate has been increasing over time, but running fast will forever make it harder and harder to manage routes and just make to many mistakes. Took me three years to get regular. Many of your thoughts do hit it right on the money, but when I was a CCA the best way to impress the regulars and my supervisor was to make sure I do the route right to the regulars standards, and was to stand up to the supervisors. I was able to get many long opts due to the fact I would help regulars, and keep their routes in good shape.


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Mel Carriere 3 months ago from San Diego California Author

You make good points here Nick, but you don't get long opts by impressing regulars, you get opts by bidding on them, and they are awarded based on seniority. If it is done otherwise where you work that is a violation and the Union should step in. Just wanted to make that clear. Thanks for reading.


Enid 2 months ago

I just accepted and I read this article and I'm honestly very scared. I live in San Diego and reading this makes me want to quit and I have not even started. I don't know what I was thinking and now I'm regreting it. I am college educated and I don't like the fact that someone uneducated will come and try to make my life and job impossible... I don't know what to do I am frustrated. Any advise?


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Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

Yeah, my "advise," Mr. Educated Enid is don't do it, because if you go into the job with that kind of superior attitude you are going to fail.

For your information, there are all kinds of postal employees with 4 year degrees but as you already know, a degree doesn't get you much these days, and it doesn't bestow intelligence or wisdom on you. The "uneducated " person giving you orders might have a better degree than you.

If you do take the job I hope you will humble yourself, or you will be humbled. And stop making assumptions about people. A piece of paper does not give you wisdom.

Hope to see you around San Diego.


JJ 2 months ago

I recently got converted in 13 months. I think my office isn't too harsh on new CCA as stated in the post. I am very lucky I have a good OTJ trainer, he is the one that actually knows the whole zip code. My office covers part of downtown (~1 mil population metro city), so some routes have different businesses that's delivered in the alley loading docks or some offices are hidden, (off the actual address) He can basically tells you anything you need to look out in whatever route you're on. I don't know who started this, but all CCAs are in a group text and we all have each other's number. Since we have 4 zip code in the office. We have CCAs that always cover the same zip code and if I am somehow send to a route that some other ccas know, we can ask each other in the group text. We also inform each other news around the office such as which route is on long vacation or which route is splitted. Who is around this area that wants to grab lunch together and such like that. We have 22 CCAs in the group text now half of us already converted too.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

Sounds like an island of enlightened management in an otherwise murky, tumultuous postal sea. The group text thing sounds like a great idea. Thanks for commenting.


Jamie Page profile image

Jamie Page 2 months ago from Dahlonega, Ga

Wow.. what a great hub. I hub too. I love your commitment to answering questions.

So... I have a few questions for you. Thanks in advance for answering them.

I am currently a 'star?' employee as they called it. Basically, I was hired by a transportation company to run as a sub on a route for a guy who just wants another day off during the week. I am a rural route delivery contractor for the usps.

I love the rural route I run for 160 bucks ( 8am till 3pm is my day)... It is just for one day a week though.... Nobody messes with me in the office, just don't screw up and everything is golden. That works for me... but I need more money. ( Who doesn't? )

I have applied and been accepted to become an actual employee for the usps at a branch that is running 28 subs short in a very busy north Atlanta town. (150? routes I think)

USPS human resources said I can't continue my contractor work at the other branch... conflict of interest, I guess. Kinda sucks I have to ditch that gig if I want to work as an actual usps employee.. but I need to get more money. :-)

My questions are... Hiring PM (from another town, no less) said I can expect to run 5 to 6 days a week. I assume each day will be a different route since the office I am going to is short 28 subs.

How can I possibly learn to case a different route a day when it took me a week or so to learn to case the rural route I already do?

Will they pace out my learning or just expect me to go blind and case a new rout on the first day, every day?

My main concerns are casing... not running the route.

Are there any tips or tricks for casing a new route on day one and running it?

I was told that I will be sent to some location in Atlanta for five days of 'case' training... but it will not be for any routes I will be doing. ( didn't seem to make any sense to me... )

Why would it take five days of training to show me how to put mail in a case slot that matches an address?

Thanks for any guidance you can give me. - Jamie.


Jamie Page profile image

Jamie Page 2 months ago from Dahlonega, Ga

Ps... Here is the link to my hubs if your are bored. haha.

http://hubpages.com/@motherthumper


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

Jamie I assume you have been accepted as a CCA and will be moving over to the city side. It is a very different animal over there. Most of the time you won't be casing at all, at least in the beginning. You will go into the office about 9 and your mail will be ready. Later, as you gain experience they will have you case mail, and this will get easier the more you get experience. What they are interested in with CCAs is someone who delivers proficiently, not so much casing. So get that out of your head.

They call it case training but it involves all aspects of Postal work, including vehicle training. You will have an edge on this job because you have already had a taste.

I will gladly follow your hubs, and I hope you return the favor. Thanks for reading.


Jamie Page profile image

Jamie Page 2 months ago from Dahlonega, Ga

Thanks!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

You are welcome. Thank you.


JOHN 2 months ago

I was asked to "resign" my CCA position, at my 45 day mark, because I wasn't cutting it. Yes, I was surprised by the way it occurred, considering I was previously recommended for my own route. My question is whether or not I can/should apply for another CCA position at another site. I understand the game, but think maybe I'd stand a better chance at another station.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

I don't know what to tell you John. I'm sure you could apply, no one can stop you doing that, and hopefully the hiring managers need new CCAs so bad they won't investigate your background. That's a possibility. Good luck, give it a try. Let me know how it goes.


Josh 2 months ago

Hey I'm going to an interview for a CCA position next week. Just have a few questions.

Any tips for the interview?

Being a new CCA, am I always going to be working on Sundays?

I noticed the job posting said "including but not limited to...(5 different post offices)". Does that mean I could potentially be working an absurd amount of routes and have these 7 day hellish work weeks that i've heard about?

Do CCA's ever get an actual schedule or is it just hey phone call at 5am, come into work now. Can you say no? What are some examples of not taking crap from these intimidation tactics that supervisors may implement?


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California Author

Josh, you ask so many questions you make my head spin, but they are good questions. Rather than write a novel here, I'm going to write another article, which I will hopefully post in the next couple days. I will post here to you again when it is up. Thanks for the idea.


Josh 2 months ago

Hey sorry just nervous and debating if i should leave my current job or not. (Which is not a good job lol) Thank you, i look forward to your article.


Serge A Storms 8 weeks ago

Hello Mel. Came across your articles as I was looking up information about being a CCA. Great stuff !!! I am on 2 Pre-Hire List for CCA. When I originally applied for both jobs, the positions were for two offices in my area. When I went back to look at my job statues, both positions were now different. They both now included Zip Codes that are an hour or more away from me. Would the USPS really want me too commute over an hour away? Wouldn't it be in their best interest too assign me closer too home? I mean for purposes as weather related. Was just curious if you have any information on this. Thanks for any feedback. Love your articles. " Be careful. It's dumb out there"


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 8 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

I love your user name. How is the storm surge where you live, Serge? I don't want to see you doing your commute paddling, by any means.

I think what you need to do is call and verify this. I have never heard of anybody commuting an hour to work, but it might be different there. Seems strange that they changed the zip codes after you applied. Like I said, try to find a live body to talk to before you get stuck with a job where you are an hour on the road.

Good luck, however it turns out. Thanks for reading.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 8 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

Josh, I wrote the article, a little quicker than I thought. I hope it helps. Here's the link:

https://toughnickel.com/industries/Answers-to-Comm...


Serge A Storms 8 weeks ago

Hey Mel, it's Serge A Storms... Thank You for your response. I'm from Long Island NY... I'm still on the Pre-Hire List for 2 positions... No calls yet... I've done a lot of research on CCA on the Internet... PLUS... A 16 year owner of a Landscaping Business... I've gotten too know a lot of Mel Carrier's over the years... Because... I sometimes would block The Mailbox... I'd always run over & grab the mail so they wouldn't have to get out of their LLV... ( I only know what that means because of my research)... Lol... Anyway... I would always say, "I wish I had your job"... The Mail Person would respond with, "I wish I had your job"... Sooooo... Here I am... Waiting to get hired by the USPS... Am I Crazy? I know what it takes to walk 8-10 hours a day, in the 90 degree weather, in the rain & snow... I will give you Mail People prop's for driving around in a LLV when it's 90 degrees outside, but 110 degrees in your LLV. A get it. It's a tough job. Not easy. BUT... I feel like I can do it... Any things better then cutting Lawns. Waiting to get paid 2-3 months later... ( More on that later)... I could go on & on... Thanks again Mel... ( If Lenny or Coelman call asking where I am???) You don't know...


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Mel Carriere 8 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

Serge I would rather walk in the 90 degree heat than mow lawns or dig in it. I just got done uprooting a lemon tree in 70 degree weather and I'm drenched. I think you can hack this job. Good luck.


Serge A Storms 8 weeks ago

Ok Mel, thanks for response... Lol... Spent the day with my wife & 5 year old daughter... Trying too enjoy it now.... I hope I get hired... Because... I guess I won't see them for the next few years.... That's if I "Hopefully Get Hired"... Do your "Time"... I mean... Do a good job... Earn your position & career... Cross my fingers... Lots of "Love From Long Island"... Good Night...


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Mel Carriere 8 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

You have to enjoy your family while you can Serge, because the time goes by fast. Good night from the opposite coast.


Conquer-girl 6 weeks ago

Omg Please help me , I don't think any job can be worst than what I'm doing right now I shower people, cleaned their feces because of incontinence, transfer them to wheelchairs and they're very heavy and change diapers every day, my job is extremely hard and the pay is so bad. Is been a cca harder than this? I'm suppose to go for an interview next week, I was so happy about this job because the pay is better but after reading this article it seems like I won't have enough time for my family. What should I do ???


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Mel Carriere 6 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

Well, conquer girl, you won't have to clean any feces. Good luck!


garyb 5 weeks ago

your blog is great!! I started in maint and work in accounting services now -

35 years in working in private sector and it ISN"T!! better there either.

1st time in my life I'm at a middle income-thank God.

CCA's-keep applying for jobs -the USPS is HUGE and there are

lots of jobs. just learn how to work the job bid system.


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Mel Carriere 5 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

Good advice garyb. I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment.


Uncertain 4 weeks ago

Hey, Mel. I just had shadow day with regular. And I got tons of question if you can answer then if not its ok. I came from being school bus driver to CCA. I need more $ and decided to switch over. Now I'm reconsidering whether I made a right choice? I saw 1 CCA there for a year hasn't become regular yet, and there are 3 people ahead of me. Trainer told me once I passed probation they may toss me around the city station is that true? How many hours will I have if I say at this station, they only have 10 routes. I'm not sure if I can make bills with 4 hours a week or a day. 2 things I don't like the most its, I will be on cca list for I don't know how long. Second thing, I don't want to switch to different station to help out. I don't know the area at all.


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Mel Carriere 4 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

Uncertain, as far as hours go you will be working more than you want or need. The average wait to regular is about a year and a half to two years, which is pretty good considering the pre-CCA PTFS were waiting about 8 years at the end. You will be moved around, nothing you can do about that, so get familiar with GPS real quick. Thanks for reading.


PseGuy 4 weeks ago

Worked as a casual clerk 9 years ago, worked all kinds of jobs since, just got out of the military and am back at the post office as a PSE Clerk. Full circle! Been back about 7 weeks now and the work is physical but not hard. I have a good boss. He leaves me alone and let's his employees work. I work at a processing center so there is always work to do and the days go by fast. Always get 40 hours and OT as well. My best advice is skip being a carrier and be a clerk. It's a better quality of life, you stay out of the element and it's easier on the body. From what I've seen and heard so far PSEs are being converted in under a year. I make $16.06 plus night diffirential. Hard to find that in the private sector. Be a clerk, not a carrier. Cheers.


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Mel Carriere 4 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

PseGuy, when I first joined 23 years ago clerks were falling over each other to transfer to carrier. You are simply in an idyllic situation. Your little fantasy island does not exist everywhere. When one does run across that boss from hell it is much better to be a carrier and escape him or her on the street. In my station the clerks have all kinds of EEO complaints against the boss. Besides that, throwing parcels and spreading red plums can be hard work too. I've done it. Thanks for reading and for giving us the clerk perspective.


PseGuy 4 weeks ago

Well, I'll say this: I worked as a casual clerk for a year, 9 years ago and back then they practically worked me to death. Worked 6 days a week, split shifts everyday, 65+ hours a week. No benifits, nonights, no sick leave or days off (except Sunday.) Regulars treated me lower than dirt and filed grievances saying i was stealing their hours. I made 10 bucks an hour back then... The carriers at the city station i was in were some of the worst, grumpiest, rude people i've EVER met. There were a few nice ones but overall they were all a holes. The clerks too. The only difference was the clerks were all fat and worthless. Fast forward to today, PSEs as non careers get treated SO much better than 10 years ago! Even get represented by a union and get leave! Wow! And two days off and a set schedule!? Crazy! I guess I'm just glad USPS is treating their employees better these days. I hope things have improved for the CCAs too but in doubt it. Leadership will always expect the impossible from carriers. At least with clerks the work is spread around and not just on one individual. Rant over lol


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Mel Carriere 4 weeks ago from San Diego California Author

PseGuy, it sounds like you have worked at one of the best of stations and one of the worst of stations. At my office we are a bunch of old grumps but I think we embrace pretty much everybody as family, even the PSEs and CCAs. I still don't buy the idea that clerks get treated better these days by management, some of ours would tell you different. Again, you seem to have wound up in clerk heaven, where you are now. Thanks again.


Rose 13 days ago

I have 3 opportunities for CCA in several cities. My question is should I go with the larger or smaller cities. Also I have been offered PSE. Should I go PSE or CCA route? This has become a very complicated decision after the internet researching. Thank you Mel!


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Mel Carriere 12 days ago from San Diego California Author

Large cities will give you more opportunity to move around when you make regular and you want to change offices, Rose. To me it seems like CCA is more stable than PSE. Also, PSEs have to work a lot of split shifts, meaning work in the morning, so home then come back in the afternoon. I would say CCA is better but I'm biased, being a letter carrier. Thanks for reading.


willow 6 days ago

I worked for the post office for one year and then I resigned because I had a surgery that was going to put me out for 6 months. I am healed, all better now, and applied as a rural carrier at another post office and was told by the postmaster I have the job, but she's sending everything to HR. I don't have to be trained, I already have a score and experience, will pass background and drug test no problem, what I am concerned about is I didn't have a great relationship with my previous pm. She was angry I resigned. Is it possible she could've put ineligible for rehire? Just worrying I wont get back in....what do you think??


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Mel Carriere 6 days ago from San Diego California Author

I don't know your situation, Willow, so it is impossible for me to tell. Why not contact your local Rural Carriers union with your concerns? Thanks for reading.


Matthew 21 hours ago

I totally disagree with most of your comments. I was a PTF letter carrier for a period of time and moved up. The problem I had was the regular carriers and not the management. Some regular carriers treated the PTF letter carriers like they were better than we were. I do agree that if you treat the regulars well (by bringing in food or helping out), they treated you good. If you work hard and did what you were supposed to do, management left you alone. There were some managers/supervisors that let the power go to their heads, but the main issues were the regular carriers.


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Mel Carriere 17 hours ago from San Diego California Author

Matthew, you were obviously working on a perfect little postal fantasy island. Lots of CCAs have horror stories, which you can read about in the comments section. Thanks for reading.

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