In every job, you discover some surprising problems you wouldn’t expect from the outside. Here’s some I’ve had in my 2+ years as a letter carrier for the post office.
1) The wildlife. We’re warned about dogs constantly in training, and bees get a couple mentions for those that are allergic, but whatever. I’ve as yet only been bitten once where it wasn’t largely my fault (as in, a dog was barking behind a fence, so I reached my hand over to see if it just wanted to be petted). Much worse are the various bugs out there. I’ve gotten three tick bites since I’ve started here (thankfully all wood ticks, no lyme disease for me unless it turns out I’m a dumbass that doesn’t actually know how to distinguish between wood and deer ticks), stung once each by a bee and a yellowjacket (yellowjackets hurt so much worse), and worst of all, in the summer months I walk into anywhere from 10-20 spiderwebs and spiderstrands each day. Yeah, it may not actually hurt, but it’s fucking gross.
2) The stress. This is the most fast-paced and physically demanding job I’ve ever had by a pretty wide margin, and it has stress levels to match. And EVERYONE is under too much pressure, including the bosses, so they’ll frequently wind up giving you more work for the day than you are physically capable of getting done in time, and will then try to discipline you when you inevitably fail. Added to that, for new employees like myself, it’s a total crapshoot as to how quickly you will progress to becoming a regular, full-time employee, as it’s entirely reliant on the office you’re assigned to. My office is large enough and has a high enough turnover rate that I will likely be made permanent in about another year, so it will have only taken me roughly three years. I just read an account from a guy in another state that finally quit after working for 12 years and never becoming a permanent employee.
3) People answering the door naked/in their underwear. Oh yeah, that whole porn myth is partially true. Unfortunately, the people that tend to do this aren’t sexy coeds trying to make my day better with tits, but are instead 60- and 70-somethings trying to have one last thrill by burning images into my eyes that I can now never unsee.
4) The dirt. I’m fucking filthy by the time I finish the day. Seriously, I can get the sweatiness and the various bits of grime from the mail itself, but I get home and there’s like an oil spill around the shower drain. If I swipe my hands along my neck or forehead or behind my ears or something, there’s so much grit there that you’d think I had just been caught in one of those sandstorms from Interstellar. Or, you know, one of those sandstorms that happens in real life.
5) The chafing. Here’s what winds up happening all summer. It’s fucking hot out, so I sweat a lot (I’m so attractive, I know), so wind up with the area around my crotch all nice and swampy, and then I’ll wind up having to venture into air conditioning, or spend too much time in the truck, or the wind will pick up, or something, and the sweat will dry, leaving the grainy bits of salt on my thighs and scrotum but no moisture, so when I get moving again I have teeny little sharp grains of rocklike material digging into my flesh each time I take a step, so that I wind up duckwalking around by the end of the day as though I was away on vacation and just got railed by a guy with a giant cock. As a result, I have to make liberal use of baby powder and vaseline to try to salvage what few layers of skin I have left down there (this is also a winter thing, by the way, with all the added layers of clothing causing the same problems while simultaneously making it even harder to apply any powder or vaseline to save myself during the shift). So anytime you see your letter carrier disappear into the back of his truck, please don’t walk up and bother him. There’s a good chance he’s not just jacking it to your Victoria’s Secret catalogue.