August 3, 2010 by The Perfectly Imperfect One
Sometime last night or this morning a fellow postal worker committed suicide. This is on the tail end of a former fellow postal worker killing himself early in July. This makes me wonder why two people decided to kill themselves in such a short amount of time. Just over 9 years ago, I lost my cousin (14 years old) to suicide, and just about 2 months ago my mom lost one of her friends (another postal worker) to suicide.
Now, I am not blaiming the postal service for any of these incidences, because I know this is not the case. I know that people have home lives besides the post office, but I googled postal employee suicide, and this is what I came up with…
The U.S. Postal Service is a Toxic Work Environment
Posted April 14, 2010
by Dr. Steve Musacco
Dr. Steve Musacco is a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, a M.S. in Counseling, and a B.A. in psychology. He’s been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and completed Coachu’s coaching program. He currently teaches online courses with Walden University. He also work for the postal service for 30 years.
Dr. Musacco said:
Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The night before he committed suicide he told his wife he did not know if he would be able to handle his job anymore. How do I know? His wife told me this one day after his suicide. He was one of the best employees in the office. The District Manager and I interviewed his coworkers after his death, and they stated he would urinate in a bottle while on delivery route for fear he would not meet an artificial deadline set by postal management. During the interviews, one of the postal supervisors told the District Manager and me that the day before the suicide she gave a letter to all the city letter carriers in the station, noting that any future over time used for their routes would be considered unacceptable performance. The suicide at the Gastonia postal facility was the second since December 2005.
Many people have asked: Why is there so much stress and workplace tragedies in the U.S. Postal Service? The answer to these questions is because the postal culture embraces and reflects core values that center on achieving bottom-line results with little or no regard for employee participation, respect, dignity, or fairness. Additionally, there is little or no accountability for the actions of top management in the Postal Service. Many postal facilities consequently have toxic work environments, and they can be a catalyst or trigger for serious acts of workplace violence, including homicide and suicide. The associated rewards system for behavior consistent with the postal culture core values, moreover, enables systemic organizational and individual bullying of employees at all levels of the organization.
I define a toxic workplace environment as a workplace where there is a high incidence of stress-related illnesses. These stress-related illnesses are manifested by psychological and physical deterioration. In other words, these types of environments seriously erode employees’ health and well-being. The primary factors contributing to a toxic workplace environment are high job demands, low job control, and low social support. Low social support generally entails a lack of respect and validation of employees’ dignity by their “superiors”. It also oftentimes includes organizational practices and methods that encourage the bullying of employees to meet corporate goals.
Dr. Steve Musacco
Eric L. Wattree
I just want everyone to know that I am here for you. I am here to listen to you. I am here to help you when you need it. I am your friend, even if you don’t know me. Suicide is not the answer, and it is selfish. I know that the world may be on your shoulders, but you have a friend to help hold it up with you, you don’t have to do it alone.