USPS RCA: Rural Carrier Associate of Postal Experience

By Gavin | December 07, 2017

USPS RCA: Rural Carrier Associate of Postal Experience

I was working construction as a bricklayer and I kept getting laid off all the time.  

I had degree in the sciences, but there was no work to be had.  

I wanted to do something with my life so i could have a career for the future and retire eventually.  

I was looking around and i found a great opportunity at being at the post office.  

I went online and looked to see what was open and they had a few slots for rcas open.  Rca is a rural carrier associate.  Basically, we're substitute carriers for the regular carriers.  

They call me a sub.  a rural carrier associate fills in for the regular rural carrier. If they are off for the day or if they're taking vacation or even if they're sick, we fill in because the mail has to be delivered every day.  

I thought it was the easiest job. but when I got here, I find out it was not as easy as i thought.  It's a rough job.  Seeing as you're a sub starting off, you have to help out a lot. You don't have a time-off!  They rely on you. You have to be there. You have to be ready to go.  Sometimes you have a day off and then the next thing you hear is the phone ringing.  So, you need to be able to pretty much drop whatever you got planned that day and be able to come in and carry the route.  You're working anywhere from eight-hour days to 10-, 12-hour days, depending on what season it is.  There's a lot of challenges.  The weather.  You're going to be cold. you're going to be hot. And you're going to get wet.  Getting used to all the different seasons and working in them every day. 

There are some days when it's very, very cold.  And in the rain you got to wear rain gear so you don't get soaking wet and try and keep the mail dry as well.  It's very strenuous. It's hard on your body.  There is a bit of walking. Sometimes you may have to do multiple flights of stairs. You get a little winded.  You do a lot of lifting, a lot of reaching.  Getting in and out of a truck a lot if you're doing a business route.  And then you get heavy boxes from time to time.  You get in shape in this job!  

When I first started, I weighed 20 pounds more than what I weigh now because you are moving all the time.  Anyone can do this job. But you have to be dedicated. You have to be determined.  Yeah, there were some days that I -- I was just gonna quit. I was like, okay, this is not for me. But then I looked to myself and I said, if I'm here, if I get to here, why I'm going to say no now.  I kept telling myself, you can do it.  If I can do it, you can do it.  Actually the first couple of months are the toughest. If you can make it by then, then you'll probably be just fine.  Oh, yeah, it gets better. Just takes time.  I love it. I enjoy my job.  

Well, there's actually quite a lot to like. one of the -- the biggest things is really being able to talk to the people.  It's really cool because you become really close with these people. They see you almost every day and sometimes they give you like cold water if it's hot outside. They may leave a little thank you note inside the mailbox, you know. Really nice people.  They pay you well.  Once you make regular, you got good benefits when you retire. And it's actually a lot of fun. you get to be outside.  the freedom. I've had a few jobs where the supervisor, the manager is always right behind you saying, you need to do this, you need to do that, and there's no freedom. But here there is.  I would tell you to hang in there. It will get difficult. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it and say it's not. 

It's tough at first, but once you know it, I mean, it's actually really an easy job once you've done it long enough. Everyone when they start out struggles at least one time. But stick with it because it pays off in the future. That's what I believe everyone should know.