By: Joel D. Smith
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Monday, Dec. 15, is the busiest day of the year for deliveries, making an already tough job, even more challenging.
They work in the rain, the snow, and everything in between. Mail carriers are a hearty bunch, and right now the USPS is looking for some more help.
To get a taste of this job we met up with Dan Lidduck, a 17-year veteran mail carrier who still loves his job. Yet which part he likes might surprise you. Lidduck said about the cold weather, “I like it outside. These days are better.”
Carriers actually begin their day inside, helping to sort the mail that will be on their route. They pack up their carts and trucks with mail and packages sometimes weighing 70 pounds, and then they hit the street for up to 10 miles a day.
Lidduck likes the solitary nature of the job, but admits some new recruits are still surprised by the conditions they are expected to work in.
“We’ve had new hires say, “It’s raining.” Yeah, we deliver in the rain. Or, “It’s snowing.” Yeah, we deliver the mail in the snow. So they are not used to working in the elements,” Lidduck said.
One of those elements might drool on you, or worse. Each carrier is supplied with a dog repellent spray. Yet Lidduck said, use it at your own risk.
“People have given me stories where they spray the dog and all it does is agitate them,” Lidduck said.
While the Postal Service has been taking some massive financial hit in the past few years, the job is still needed, and there is an older workforce now that is retiring at a quick rate.
USPS spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz said the jobs are secure.
“When you get into carrier positions, it is a very secure job, as a matter of fact, we just converted in this office alone, 12 non-careers to career positions,” Mazurkiewicz said of Harrisburg’s 7th Street location.
No one likes bills, but Lidduck enjoys being the one to deliver many of the things that make people smile like packages around the holidays. Yet this job can take a toll on the body. He admits some co-workers have hip replacements, knee replacements and shoulder replacements.
If you are ready to deliver, here are the numbers:
Non-career employees earn $15.30 per hour.
Career employees start at $30,000 a year.