About seventeen years ago now, I worked for Royal Mail.
I started as a humble postwoman, where I used to cycle in all weathers – snow, rain, ice, sleet, and when it was sunny. Back then I got up at four in the morning to get into work for five. We were out and posting letters by seven am. Different to how it is now, where you are lucky to get your mail in the afternoon.
Raising in the ranks I became a postwoman higher grade. My job? I put the little blue dots on the letters so that the machine could read them. I could type three thousand postcodes in one hour. Nobody liked working next to me, because I was often finished before they were.
I worked in quality control, in more of an office setting. Part of my job was ringing around the local firms to see what they were sending in. Another was driving around in a van posting letters to see how long it took to get there.
I left to spend more time with my son, who was seven at the time. He was diagnosed with autism when he was two. When redundancy was offered, I told them I wanted to leave. They were reluctant, as I had been working there for eighteen years. One un-interview later I was able to leave and work more child friendly hours.
Every year I got a pack of stamps worth five pounds, but they were a lot cheaper to buy then. They were extremely handy when sending out Christmas cards. Now I have to buy my own and from twenty-nine pence 17 years ago, they are now 76 pence and apparently going up to 86 pence in January. I always send mine second class anyway.