29 comments on “My month at Canada Post part two: it all goes wrong

  1. thanks for the info. I’m in the middle of the hiring process (driving test next week). Your story is a little daunting but I figure ill test it out an see if it works for me.

    • Finish the hiring process and work a week on your own….then the story won’t seem so daunting. Good luck 🙂

  2. I came across this by chance. I would like to thank you for a good laugh! Not at you at all, but at your bang on description of the hiring process, training and what actually happens when you start delivering. I’ve been an on-call letter carrier in Ontario for about a year now. Believe it or not it does get better. That said, now and again I still have days like you experienced in your first week. Personally, I love the job and the flexibility of being on-call as it truly is my side job as I run my own full-time business. All the best to you and thanks again for writing about the reality of being a letter carrier. Believe it or not folks, it’s not just “walking around for a couple of hours a day.” 🙂

    • Casual for almost 3 years here. I related to so much of this post from my early days. I agree – it does get better. But even after nearly 3 years I STILL sometimes have days like this! And I’m pretty sure I know all the tricks now. 🙂

      Then again, occasionally I now get a sweet 4 week assignment that has me finishing early every day after the first day. So to any newbies (and with one year in, sorry, you are still new – good news it will get even better!) it most assuredly does get better the more you learn and improve. If you love any part of the job, keep at it! I truly believe it is worth it. The days in spring/summer when it is beautiful outside and you have a walk you know – you will have a moment where you appreciate the value of this job – and those moments will become more frequent the more time you put in. 🙂

      • Thank you Danny. I have been a Carrier for 10 years and many comments have been made from customers who really have NO IDEA how Life Consuming being a Carrier really is and put us down. I absolutely love my job and most of my customers & thank you for acknowledging our worth. <3

  3. This story almost sounds identical to my situation, my first week was a business route, which I had zero experience in delivering. It was also a drive and deliver which means no park and loops(figured this out on day 3). I locked my keys in the truck on my day 3 portion and then it snowballed out of control! I figured i could make up the mistake, but then I didn’t get out til 1pm leaving me 3 hours to do 5 days worth of mail.

    I almost had a nervous breakdown I think but I made it through so far.

  4. Oh my God I don’t recall the last time I laughed so hard!!! I am in week one of training and start the job shadow on Tuesday. I pretty much get all of it but I can’t sort to save my life (only at 44 after a whole week already). I’m pretty sure the sorting will be my demise which will point to the exit sign…..but the way I see it, if sorting takes me out at the knees, it wasn’t meant to be. Thanks again for a great laugh. I’ll be bookmarking insane I need a laugh in the future.

  5. I’ve been a postie for about 15 years. I doesn’t get any easier. Sadly you learn to live with it, and the customers can certainly put a smile on our faces.
    I wish that many of the decision makers would spend a month doing our job. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I related to your pain and went through almost every difficulty (I had to laugh about delivering menus to restaurants) , I have several hundred hours put in as a term, it can be the best and worst job ever, depending on the day…Toronto is the same, bent keys, hurting vehicles, scanners, poor instruction/training, starvation, dehydration, bad dreams, impossible demands…

  7. You are right on with your story.I retired from Canada Post after 28 years and the last 5 were the worst.Supervisor that were clueless to what you’re day was like and like you said ,treating you like a 5 year old child.No respect from management put me over the top.I wouldn’t recommend any body to a job at Canada post until they change the way they treat their employees.

  8. It’s nice to hear this story. The public should be aware of how hard it is to be a postal worker these days and That we are actually UNDERPAID and not overpaid like they think. I’ve been delivering the mail for 7 years now and I never imagined a job that cuts your benefits and wages would actually get harder. Canada Post continues to CUT CUT CUT and give us MORE work and shittier conditions (dark- I’m also on wave 2 with CPU and SLB). My route was a foot walk before restructure last September with 950 POCs, no truck and no parcels. The same route after restructure, I now have a truck, minimum 35 parcels a day, 4 daily sets of flyers, 1300 POC and 11 SLB clearances. My route went from 630 am start to 10 am start and my customers wondered for the longest time why I was showing up so late until I explained the route now starts almost 4 hours later with an extra 4 hours of work. WTG CPC, you sure know how to be ‘Canada’s “best/top” employers’. It’s a shame. This used to be an amazing job and a great corporation that cared about its customers. The only care here is bonuses for 22 VPs and management. Somehow with all the dollar signs in their eyes, they were blinded and forgot that if the people at the bottom didn’t get their job done, they wouldn’t have a paycheque.

  9. I’ve been a temp letter carrier in a small town/city for the past 6 years and was thinking of transferring to a larger depot (Ottawa or Montreal). Done several jobs in my lifetime and people I know can’t comprehend the fact that the letter carrier job is by far the most physically and mentally demanding one i’ve had! I guess you only learn when you actually ‘walk the walk’!!

  10. Like someone above, I worked there for just over 30, but the last 7 were just despicably horrible. I’ve been out of that hellhole for almost 6 years, the best 6 years of my life on many levels. The stories I hear from friends still on the Titanic are beyond the hideous, closer to absurdist drama actually. And to get condesencion about something like keys from some twit who probably couldn’t deliver 2 blocks for their life is even more galling. The day they started hiring chump supervisors who knew nothing about the job was just the start of the decline, taking what was one the best jobs in Canada to the point now at which I just tell people outright that in reality, they should try all other avenues of employment before resorting to working at CP. Imagine having a CEO who sounds about as intelligent as someone who would vote for Trump or Carson.

  11. Very realistic take on what new hires have to go through. You have the least seniority, so get the worst pick of assignments. No amount of training is going to prepare you for what you will face when set loose on your own. Good for you for hanging in as long as you did. Back in the day, the regular employees tried to help the temps, now there just is no time to help anyone. Good luck in your next adventures.

  12. It is interesting to read your take as a new hire. I would assume you have youth on your side. Many clerks have lost positions over the last decades and crossed over to letter carrier positions. We have all lived the difficulties you describe, add to the insult the injuries. Older you get the tougher the going. Takes more than a month to become the tuned up athlete the job requires a body to be. My kudos to many an old gal that has the tenacity to tackle a cross over. Then factor in the slips trips falls and wear and tear on the joints. Loss if sick time, screwed up disability, return to work policies, and forced over is a burden that is crippling the aging work force. So instead of filling vacancies and hiring permanent staff, the Corp. continues to abuse workers old and new. The goal to reduce the corporate liabilities (workers shielded by contract) and increase assets, vehicles, CBM’s and facilities with robo technology is in the bigger picture. Having a system that is failing to provide a standard of service that Canadians expect is setting us all up with a do as you want attitude. Here’s hoping the new Year and the contract negotiations will provide some relief, some security and fair and equal contracts. I retired last April after 34 years. as the tenacious old gal that crossed over. Injury did get the better of me as a carrier, but it was the antics of the Corporation that drove me out.

  13. Worked for 3 months. Similar issues. Brutal supervisors and support. Got better as you get used to a route day 10 on a route is for sure easier than day one. But then your onto a new route same issues. Best of luck. Loved the animals

    • 33 yrs and I couldn’t stick it out for the 35 due to the stupidity… The last 3 years were the worst and I don’t hear anything better is happening right now… The job used to be great, enjoyable, everyone helping everyone….but now the place is a mess.. If I was a new term I would look at something else and get out…the job is more stressful than anything I have ever done(the last 3 yrs before I retired)… there is no reason to cut your life short due to stress over delivering mail…you will eventually go to work hating your job and I have seen so many screaming matches with incompetent supervisors… No one listens when you have valid questions or solutions… They are wasting money on supervisors checking the new 3 day delivery model on fliers, supervisors hiding in bushes to see if you locked your door… Treating people like 5 year olds… Just let people do their jobs …everything got done before their new system and employees actually had smiles on their faces and loved their work… I don’t hear that anymore…. CPC is the worst employer ever and doesn’t care one iota about their employees… Bottom line it’s not worth it

  14. Hey man,

    I came across your blog, after it was reposted by someone in the CUPW group on FB.

    I hear your pain man….the first 6 months was a bit of a blur. Somethings to consider, the corporation failed you in two major ways, training, and empathy. Bad on them.

    You, however, didn’t have to do any overtime that you didn’t want to do. I understand though, that…we all want to prove ourselves, save our job, feel accomplished… But, I tell you…the terms we have in my station right now…they’ve got the attitude of, “Listen…I’m new, and I’m doing the best I can…deal with it.” Granted, we have really empathetic supervisors…it sounds like you were dealing with some real assholes.

    I’m 8 years in right now, and really fortunate in that I’ve been at the same depot for 5 years, and I’m a fast sorter…always have been.

    Thanks for the shout out at the end, it was nice to hear you give credit to the hard work that posties do!


    ps, I’m also an actor/postie… 🙂


  15. This was good info. Sorry for ur troubles. Lol. I was a carrier and it sacked at first. It was great after 6 months. I left to goto transit ad i was hired with benefits from date of hire. I was with CPC for about 3 yrs without benefits working full time.

  16. I’m retired after 35 plus years as a carrier and I want to thank you for the extremely well written account of your experience. Believe me, you made the right decision to quit. If you had pressed on, you would have regretted it. When I first started it was certainly tough but nothing compared to how the newbies have it now with they way they have you deliver the mail is completely ridiculous and on top of that they make about $7/hr. less than others who are typically working half as hard. I’ve had all of those bad days that you described and then some. I remember feeling like I was trapped in some twilight zone of dead endness around my ten year mark and when I look back, I have really no idea how I made it through to the end. If I could have done this part of my life over, I would have stayed in school for business and worked for myself. Good on you and go enjoy your life!

  17. Great Read:
    You did the Right Thing:
    Keep Your Sanity – or else You
    May have Gone POSTAL
    Have been Retired 8 years & Loving It

  18. Loved your post….I about to take the physical and I am nervous….my heart rate has always been high and my medication for depression does not help. Im wondering if I tell my “hiring” supervisor this or not before my physical. Ive been on this medication for over 10 years and has not posed any other problems-other than the elevated heart rate when exercising. I go to the gym three times a week and it has never left me winded or out of breath. (maybe im not working hard enough). But thanks again for the post, much appreciated.

  19. Yeah, I can absolutely relate. I’m a pretty big, fairly in-shape guy…I was in tears at the end of my first solo shift. It has improved, and depending on the route and the volume of mail, you can actually have some pretty good days, but it’s taken YEARS to get there. It’s a way tougher gig than most people think it’s going to be.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Great read!

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