My name is Gordon Hirata and I’m a mail processing clerk in Honolulu. I do my part to help keep the mail moving here in Hawaii.
My assignments change daily. On any given day, I might work with machines like the delivery barcode sorter and the low-cost tray sorter. Sometimes I even work with the express mail that arrives each morning. There might be Priority Mail Express packages from the U.S. mainland or even express mail from countries like Japan or China.
I’ve worked at the Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center for 35 years — practically since the day my father suggested I take the postal exam. Hiring in those days was based on your test score and the last three digits of your Social Security number. My number is low so I thought for sure I’d be one of the first people in my group to be hired, but no dice. I turned out to be third.
The job and mix of employees has changed over the years. Instead of sorting mail by hand or by mechanization, everything is automated. Mail service is now very transparent to our customers so I treat every piece as if someone is watching out for it — and they probably are!
The Postal Service offers great job security, salary and benefits. I’ve been able to care for my family, including my wife Dale, who is a general clerk for USPS, and our son, who is a certified public accountant in Santa Clara, CA. When my wife and I aren’t working, we love to travel to Las Vegas and Japan.
I may never see our customers, but they are always on my mind. Their needs are emphasized by the sheer amount of mail that comes through this building every day. I realize that by showing up daily and doing a good job, I am contributing to the larger mission of the Postal Service.