Is the Mail Dead?

While on my quest for my next job, I received some rather interesting advice from a trained professional.  Write a letter to prospective employers and send it to them in a hand-addressed envelope via the U.S. mail.  The idea makes sense, doesn’t it?  After all, who doesn’t like to get a personalized letter?

For quite a few years now, political campaigns have sent out mailers, which appear to be handwritten even though they are simply printed that way.  Sporting several colors of ink, using font that isn’t nice and smooth, both of these tactics serve to draw one’s eye and make you think that the letter is actually something important, something special written just for you.

Therefore, in late January/early February, I sent out about thirty of these letters hoping to find the next step in my career.  How do you think this project faired?  Well, I assume you’re guessing not that it was not very successful given the title of this article.  And you’d be right.

Of the thirty, one was returned to me for bearing an incorrect address.  One group politely declined via email and yet another responded with a return letter in the post.  That was it.  Of the supposedly successfully delivered twenty-nine, only two resulted in a reply.  This low level of success coupled with a handful of other factors is making me wonder, is the mail dead?  Has the U.S. Postal Service run its course and now serves little purpose in the electronic age?

After all, what kind of mail do we mostly get these days?  Junk mail, right?  Letters offering us credit cards, imploring us to donate to charities we’ve never heard of, catalogs from LL Bean and Lands End, and boring pages from politicians.  Okay, so maybe only political junkies like myself get too much of the last kind.  But if you go to your mailbox, certainly the bulk of it is just like I describe, right?

Sure, we do get an assortment of important mail too.  Every month we get our bills: credit card, electric, sewer and water, cable and Internet, car, and phone service.  But can’t we pay most, if not all, of these monthly expenses online?  And don’t these companies keep encouraging us to “go green” by ending our paper statements through the mail?  Heck, I haven’t paid either my cell phone or credit card bills via the post office in years.  Ever since one of my credit payments got lost in the mail and Capital One stuck me with a rather unpleasant late fee, I’ve sworn off this less than reliable method.

But what about packages?  Certainly the U.S. Post Office is still useful for sending packages?  Although it’s true that I’ve sent multiple items via the email over the years, I must confess that I’ve never sent anything too valuable.  For important stuff, I always use UPS or FedEx.  Sure, it costs more to do so, but unlike the USPS, with either of these two companies I’ve never had a package mysteriously disappear without a trace, never properly compensated for its loss.  Sure, the post office is much less expensive, but how large is the hidden cost of subsides courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer?

Getting back to my own personal saga of job hunting, I decided to send the very same letter to the very same people via email over the last several days and weeks.  Any guesses on the response rate this time?  About 75%, which is far higher than the post.  My only guess here is that most people these days don’t have either the time or the interest to going browsing through their stack of mostly worthless junk mail.

So is the mail dead?  Has email and the Internet now completely supplanted the old communications methods of our fathers?  And, if so, should we continue to subsidize a dying industry when its cheaper, faster, and more convenient replacement lies at our fingertips twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?

As more and more Americans digitize their lives, maybe it’s time to set the mail free from the government and see if it can survive in the free market.  Will such a suggestion result in the death of the mail?  I’ll admit that it is quite likely.  But if it serves little purpose anymore, other than supporting philatelists and a legion of government workers, don’t you think the best course of action is to let it die with a quiet dignity and fully embrace the technology of the 21st century?

Why Don’t You Get A Job?

When I think about getting a new job, I can’t help but think of the first three lines of the song “Rock’n Me” by the Steve Miller Band.  The lyrics are right; it is very tough to find good employment these days.  Now, that’s not to say that I’m not presently employed.  I’m grateful for the work I have, even though I’m underemployed, but unfortunately my work has nothing to do with the field of politics.  As I’m sure you can tell from reading this blog, three of my greatest passions are: advancing my political ideology, learning about politics and relaying such knowledge to others, and writing.  I’ve been constantly searching for a job that encompasses one (or more than one) of these areas.

I’ve applied to positions as far away as Sacramento and Fort Lauderdale as well as peppering Virginia and the regional states.  Alas, the tree of success remains barren.  In addition, for some reason, communication from potential employers continues to be poor.  On several separate occasions, a person or organization has either set up a date for an interview or planned to make an offer, only to completely cease all contact instead.  It is horribly frustrating.  I understand that circumstances change.  Perhaps you found a better candidate.  Maybe you are in a hiring freeze.  Regardless, I would appreciate the common courtesy of a phone call or an email to relay this information.  If you happen to be a person who engages in such behavior, don’t worry.  Unlike Conan O’Brien, I have no plans of calling you out on this blog or elsewhere, but for goodness sake, couldn’t you show at least a nickel’s worth of respect?  Imagine yourself in my shoes.  Wouldn’t you deserve the same?

Now I know that this blog is a double-edged sword.  Although it has greatly increased the circle of folks that know both my politics and myself, I’m sure it has offended some people as well.  After all, it is a rare occasion when two people can agree completely on every issue.  Nevertheless, I make no apologies for any of the stances I have taken.  Every true, limited government, conservative could find more than enough common ground with this blog, and hence, with me.  Now I know what a few of you will say, “But…but…but, the war…”.  Sure, if you are a PAC, politician, media outlet, or another related organization looking for employees whose sole or primary task it is to promote the conflict in Iraq, you’d best look elsewhere.  On the other hand, if you are looking for a zealous pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-10th Amendment, pro-right-to-work, pro-Judeo-Christian values kind of guy, then I’m your man.

Well, I’m sure you came to this blog to read my articles, not to find a want ad, but I’m afraid we live in troubled and uncertain times.  Should you or an organization you know be in the market, send me an email.  Writing and politics are my life; I’d just like them to once again be my job too.

Thank you for your time.