Not long ago we told you about Ryan Bradford, a mailman and writer in sunny San Diego, California who photographed and blogged about all the snarling, chompy-ass dogs on his delivery route. Yes, well, he won't have to worry about those dogs anymore.
Bradford's received a hand-delivered letter from the U.S. Postal service charging him with "unacceptable conduct/failure to follow instructions." The list of offenses Bradford's committed include::
- His ascent to the status of "Mailman Meme," the title of an article that appeared in the San Diego Citybeat alt-weekly
- His failure to seek and gain authorization to speak to Citybeat as a postal employee
- His authorship of a work titled Slave Labor Makes You Look Great! A Brief Memoir of Carrying Mail in San Diego, which USPS found "prejudicial"
- Photographing dogs while on the job
- Not carrying dog repellant spray as required
- Having troubling "behavioral and personal habits," as exemplified by all of the above
Bradford's pretty convinced that his biggest "sin" was being too critical at a time when the postal service is making no money and therefore extremely vulnerable to padlock-wielding government thugs, resource reductions, and worse (like having all the management being thrown to those damned dogs):
Apparently, what reeeally ground their gourd, what reeeally ruffled their tail feathers, what reeeally burned their britches (and the main reason I was removed from my job, my livelihood) was a case of hurt feelings. [Area Manager Victor] Martinez' "main problem" with me does not appear on the official NOTICE OF REMOVAL. He even went on to call me – and I kid you not – an "injustice to the postal service"… which is going on the cover of every book I write from now on.
It seems that despite all the wild animal attacks, lack of lunch and bathroom breaks, and other issues he had with his job, Bradford truly enjoyed delivering mail. Maybe he should have blogged and talked about that instead.
About his unauthorized interview with the press, he says he never signed a non-disclosure agreement, adds that "nothing" in the USPS Labor Manual prohibits workers from speaking to the media, and asserts that he spoke with Citybeat "during his lunch break." Breaking: many workplaces nowadays prohibit employees from publicly criticizing them, even if everything the employee happens to say is true. Bradford's firing is about as surprising as hearing that a dog barked at a mailman.