WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A POSTWOMAN?

Translated by Herbert Meck

In our new series, club visitors tell us about their everyday work. Today, Ines tells us about her work as a mail carrier in Munich.

1. What do you do for a living? How long have you been doing this job?  I am a postwoman by profession and I have been doing this job for about 2 years. 2. How did you get into this profession?  

The reason why I chose this profession was a colleague of mine. I used to work with this  colleague as an outpatient care assistant and then she started working at the post office.  She then told me that she liked the job at the post office more because you get a higher  wage and you are out in the fresh air, which I really liked. In the end, I decided to work at  

the post office because I didn’t really like my job as a nursing assistant and I wanted to  try something new. Physical work is also close to my heart. 

3. What does your normal working day look like?  

It all starts with sorting the mail. In winter we start work at 6:45 am and in summer at 7:15  am. We are inside the post office for the first two to three hours. Each staff member has a  suitable box where all the letters and parcels for their district go. At the beginning, all the  parcels and letters are not already sorted by district, no, everything is mixed together. Our  task is to find the letters that belong to our district. You have to be careful if someone has  moved and now has a new address. Once you’ve done all the sorting, you get your bike  

and go out to distribute the letters. You can sometimes get stressed if the residents are  not at home and the neighbours don’t want to accept the parcel. Then it takes a bit longer  and sometimes you can’t finish your district on time. 

4. What other tasks do you have to do at work that are not normally associated with  your profession?  

People know that the postmen and women work outside, but I don’t think many people  think about how exhausting it is to work in the rain and snow. I never thought about it  before. I only became aware of it when I started working at the post office myself.  

What many people who get angry when their parcel arrives late don’t know is that we  have to visit a lot of houses in a short period of time. And sometimes it can just take  longer because we are only human and we need breaks from riding our bikes all the time  and running up and down stairs. In the end it is a bit sad or demotivating when the  residents are only annoyed about the late delivery or don’t say thank you. 

5. What do you like best about your job?  

I really like the fact that I work outside in the fresh air. 

I like that I work alone and independently. I think I perform better when I don’t have the  feeling of always being controlled. It makes me more relaxed. When I work alone, I also  get to make all the decisions myself and don’t have to find a compromise, which would  be the case in a team. When I am alone, it means that I am not allowed to work  

irresponsibly. I am already aware of my work duties. 

I also really enjoy getting in touch with my clients. Many people are very happy when they  see a postman, especially when they get the parcel they have been waiting for. Also,  when you work in a district for a longer time, you know each other better and even by  name, you always greet each other. I really like the little things like that. 

6. What do you find exhausting in your job?  

What stresses me out about my job is that we simply have to do too many tasks in very  little time. Munich is also very big and so are its districts. What I personally find very  stressful is that there are a lot of “Steighäuser” in Munich. You have to go up every single  floor and leave your mail in front of every door. Before Munich, I worked in Constance on  Lake Constance. There, the post boxes were simply in front of the Steighaus and you  didn’t have to go inside at all.  

Even though I basically like working in the fresh air, it is exhausting when you have to  work in snow, rain and very hot weather. 

7. Do you think you earn well and sufficiently for your work?  

I am generally satisfied with my salary. I know that in Slovenia, my home country, I would  earn much less for the same job. A postman also earns more than the minimum wage in  Germany, so I personally can’t complain about that. Of course, it’s always nice to earn  more, but it’s enough for me at the moment. 

8. Would you change your job if you had the opportunity?  

I would love to change jobs if I had the chance. The reason is that as a postwoman you  simply have too much work to do in too short a time. In the end, you always have to work  overtime because the mail has to be delivered at some point. If not today, you have to  work overtime tomorrow. 

9. What do you want for your professional life in the future?  

My wish for my future is to finally find a job that makes me happy. Where I go in the  morning with pleasure and passion. I don’t want to work just for the money. I think  working with animals would be a lot of fun and I’m trying to find a job there too. But it’s  also ok if I find another job that will make me happy. I am still looking.

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