Hand-written letters sent by post have long become old-fashioned to many people who often refer to regular post as “snail mail” (Henkin IX); however, for some individuals there is nothing more exciting than finding an envelope with a neatly written letter in their mailbox. The very hand-writing and the paper chosen by the sender become the embodiment of one’s care and gentle presence. What used to stand behind such letters is some meticulous work of hundreds of people from the U.S. Postal Service processing centers and the very postal offices. Today, the situation is changing dramatically with the advent and intensive development of computer technology. On the face of it, the latter has become a more efficient and faster substitution of human labor in the domain of postal services; however, it might affect the stability of employment of thousands of people.
I have recently found out that the people I work with in the processing center in Gaylord, northern Michigan, might suffer from the outcomes of technology development affecting the routine of postal services. The U.S. Postal Service plans to close or merge the department in Gaylord with the one in Traverse City. This means that more than one hundred people, including me, risk losing their jobs. There are twenty people among these that I have been working with very closely. The cooperation, mutual respect and efficient work habits developed over time in our team and helped us become a small tightly-knit community of those united by the common goal of performing the necessary tasks to satisfy the needs of population. Moreover, Gaylord, the town of only three thousand and six hundred people does not offer many job prospects for the local population. The jobs available at the processing center provide great opportunities for a significant amount of individuals.
Over the past years, the situation in the department of Postal Service has been changing due to the fact that first-class mail services are declining thus becoming less prestigious and profitable for the Postal Service itself. The decrease in mailing volumes in the United States is quite drastic. The peak of 213 billion pieces in 2006 led to 177 billion pieces in 2009 with a further projected fall to approximately 150 billion pieces by 2020 (Crew and Kleindorfer 140). The revenues are plummeting, and the process of delivery is supposedly losing its efficiency. This is the reason why more than two hundred processing centers have already been closed or merged with other units nearby.
The situation is quite a controversial event for me as a person who works for the processing center and a student who majors in computer science, and thus promotes the escalation of modern technology within the scope of providing modern services. As a customer, I use paperless statements, online payment functions, a number of online services, and the means of electronic communication. All this has contributed to an intensive development of technology and the amplification of the role of the Internet for people not only in my country, but also around the world. Moreover, it appears that I am partially responsible for the fact that the services of the U.S. Postal Service become less sought-after in the modern world thus leading to more units in the structure of the U.S. Postal Service being closed and merged. Despite the fact that I am fully aware of my contribution to such state of things that affect me and people around, I continue studying computer technology to use my knowledge and proficiency in the future. Moreover, I also appreciate the efficacy of modern technology and the services it can offer.
The situation my colleagues and I might face by losing our jobs because of escalation of computer technology can teach us quite a valuable lesson. The actions and decisions we make always presuppose the existence of long-term consequences. In some cases, we do not always think through and predict the full extent of adversity of certain steps taken. On the other hand, we might be aware of the complications to follow but still pursue what has been started.
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