The United States Postal Service is full of opportunities, and Ashley Hamilton has taken advantage of them since she started as a part-time clerk in Williston in 2006. In her 16 years, she has held more than half a dozen of job titles within the USPS and is still far from seeing it all.
“La Poste is not just about delivering mail and selling stamps. There’s so much to offer once you step foot in the door,” says Hamilton. “You can work in management, accounting, IT, sales, marketing, maintenance, security, training and the list goes on…”
As a government employer, the USPS has more to offer than most of the private sector in terms of job security and benefits. Besides comprehensive health, vision, and dental coverage, perhaps one of the most notable benefits of the Postal Service is the extensive vacation and sick days. After three years of service, the annual leave increases from 13 days to 20, and increases to 26 after 15 years. This is in addition to four hours of sick pay each pay period for full-time employees.
Those who make the USPS a career will only continue to reap the rewards long after they’ve finally hung up their uniforms.
“I have no worries about retiring,” Hamilton said.
And why should she? In addition to Social Security, when Hamilton retires, she will be able to collect from her federal pension, as well as a savings plan, similar to a 401(k). The Postal Service matches employee contributions up to 5%.
“You double your money right away,” says Hamilton.
Within five years as a clerk, Hamilton was responsible for post offices without a postmaster and was officially promoted to supervisor in 2013. In 2015, she took up a position as distribution manager at the processing center and distribution of Burlington. Then, in 2018, she decided it was time for a new challenge and to learn something new, taking on the position of operations specialist at the same factory.
Hamilton isn’t the only example in his family of the possibility of upward mobility with the USPS. His sister and son also took advantage of the opportunities.
“My sister had a job at a bank, 20+ years of experience, and they downsized,” Hamilton said. “She took a job as a postal support worker, and three years later she’s in management.”
As his son illustrated, the postal service can also be a great career path for those without a post-secondary education.
“My son finished high school and didn’t want to go to university. He was hired as a mail processing assistant. Within six months it was converted to ‘career’ status,” she continued. “Two years into his ‘career,’ at age 21, he’s earning $42,000 a year with federal health insurance, and he’s started his Thrift savings plan and gets another 5% added to his retirement.”
Of course, wherever there’s a need for mail, there’s a need for the USPS, which employs 600,000 people nationwide today. This provides some flexibility in their career without having to sacrifice the rungs of the ladder they have already climbed.
“You can transfer anywhere in the United States,” says Hamilton. “During big snowstorms, I always look in Hawaii, and there are always jobs posted!”