I Want Your Job: Postman

'We sing along while we work'


Peter Asagba, 38, is a postman who works in Peckham, south London. He won the National Bravery Award at the Royal Mail's 1st Class People awards.

What do you actually do?

Being a postman is a public service. It involves working in the delivery office, sorting mail into general and individual sections for each postman to collect. While we work, we sing along to the radio, tease each other, and talk about things like football. It helps us to get the job done. Every postman has his own area of several hundred addresses that he covers. Once we've sorted the mail, we head outdoors and deliver it.

What's your working schedule?

I start work at 5.30am, although officially work starts at 6am. I sort my mail first, according to the exact order in which the streets are arranged, so that later I won't have to search for a particular letter or parcel. I have my customary cup of coffee, and then at around 6.30am I do some general sorting. My delivery round starts when we've finished sorting, depending on how much mail there is – usually 9am to 10.30am. Most postmen finish by 2.30pm, but I often don't finish work until 4pm as I have a very heavy round, and want to make sure every last parcel has been delivered. Then I head home and doze off in front of the television.

What's the best thing about it?

I really like meeting people, and now that I've been doing the same round for three-and-a-half years, I see lots of familiar faces. People smile when they see me coming with their mail. I've made a lot of friends.

What's not so great about it?

Barking dogs can be very unpleasant, and there are certain buildings where I have to lock up my trolley. I've had it stolen three times. The third time the police caught the people who'd stolen it – but as they were being arrested there was a violent scuffle, and I had to intervene to help one of the officers. I was recommended for a bravery award after that, but I felt I was just doing my job. I feel responsible when people's property is stolen.

What skills do you need to be a great postman?

You need dedication, patience and social skills – it's all about public service. Sometimes I have to work beyond my actual finishing time, and my patience can wear thin when I'm out on my round and someone spots me and keeps asking whether I have a letter for him. Not every postman is that sociable – some just want to get on with the job and won't give anyone a whiff of a smile. We're trained in how to sort letters and parcels, and how to write delivery cards if someone is out.

What advice would you give someone who wanted your job?

When I applied to work in the post office I did it through the post. Now I'm told it is done through the internet. The job has got more difficult, because there are too few people doing too much work, and I've suffered a back injury from bending down when letter boxes are at the bottom of the door. I would ask a postman whether you can accompany him on his rounds for a couple of days, to get a feel for whether it is for you. You have to get used to getting up early – I never was an early riser, even at school.

What's the salary and career path like?

You could progress from being a postman into management, with experience. The starting salary is roughly £15,000 a year but that rises quickly. If you're working in London, you would usually earn more because of the cost of living.

For more information on working as a postal delivery worker, visit the Royal Mail website at www.royal mail.com; or the Postal Services Commission at www.psc.gov.uk.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Science Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Sc...

Teacher

£120 - £131 per day: Randstad Education Group: The role will involve teaching...

Drama & Media Studies Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Dr...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice