This story is taken from a recorded interview and is transcribed with very little editing to preserve the details.
My name is Andrew James, I work at Royal Mail Brighton. My job title is Indoor Postal Worker. I’ve worked here for 37 years, I suppose because my dad was a postman, it put the idea in my head to apply.
I work indoors in the delivery department, my duties are dealing with special delivery items that are going out everyday for the east 1 and 2 section of Brighton.
If I were to describe my job to a child, I’d say I deal with mail that has got more important stuff than ordinary envelopes in it, people pay a lot more money to have it delivered and usually it’s valuable things that need to be dealt with the next day.
I work 5 days a week, and a 6th day as overtime. My hours are 6am till 2:15pm.
I walk to work, takes me about 15 minutes to walk down in the mornings, it’s quite a direct route straight down the hill. It’s not too bad in the summer, it’s nice and light, but once the nights start drawing in and it’s cold and dark in the morning, it’s sometimes a bit of a chore to get up and get out in it. But I’ve done it for so many years, you know, it’s fine.
You always get people that are not very happy with the Post Office. I suppose most people value the postmen. Since its been privatised, whether people will value you as much as they did before, I don’t know. Over the last few years a lot of changes have been made and people are receiving their mail later. I don’t think they value it as much as they used to.
I have valued my job, but at the moment I don’t value it that much because I know it’s coming to an end. Through the years I’ve said to myself, “you’re lucky to have this job, because its steady money and the overtime has always been there”.
I suppose it’s something that you need to do to earn the money to live. That’s the way I’ve looked upon it all of my life, my parents did as well. You need to go to work to pay rent, to buy food. It’s a means to an end isn’t it? It’s something you do unless you’re lucky enough to do work that you enjoy doing that’s not exactly a chore.
I enjoy the chat with the guys at work, that’s probably what I’ll miss when I go, is talking to people at work, but, that’s about it really. The work I do is not particularly demanding, it’s a chore, it’s something you go in and do, you come home and get up and do it the next day.
Now I’m facing retirement, I would like to find a little part time job, just to keep me occupied more than anything, but I’m not worried about finding another job because I will be financially ok with what I have. If I do find something I’ll be pleased I can just find something for a couple of days, just to keep my mind occupied, and to get me out, to do a little bit of work.
Beyond Work is a project by Curtis James and documents humans at work using words and reportage photography, with no judgement or glorification. It’s an attempt at unearthing the social, cultural and functional world of work that’s invisible in everyday life.
This work is about looking at and observing everyday life, and in turn inspiring people to be more aware and sensitive to the needs of humans at work.