Friday, August 27, 2010

Are postal employees smarter than average?

Forbes magazine recently printed an article called  "Keep genuises out of the Post Office." It's a rambling piece on capitalism, government control of assets, and properly using resources.

The author of the article says this, "A friend of mine is a psychologist who has done extensive IQ testing on postal employees. His testing found that the average intelligence of postal employees is significantly higher than the public at large with some in menial jobs having genius level IQs. This is not by accident, it is because the post office has high admission testing standards that select the best and brightest."

So, what do you think? Are we the best and brightest of society?

You can comment here, but remember to be nice!

28 comments:

Exhume said...

Eye due knot think they tested anywon at hour ofise.
While it may be true that we can pass the Postal Entrance Exam it does not guarentee our success as a whole. Nor eliminate us from failure just because we have some individuals that are more mentally capable than others.
Without being duplicitous or using words that may seem esoteric. I would have to say given our current situation as a struggling entity our intelligence is not showing as brightly as hoped. Sometimes the intelligent tend to over think a situation. When all that is actually needed is "Common Sense" and with that being said I submit "Occam's Razor" - "When competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selection of the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities while still sufficiently answering the question".
In other words..."The simplest is often the correct one".

Anonymous said...

Well... when they passed around the "best and the brightest", I think the office I work in got shortchanged :)

Anonymous said...

Those bright people MUST not be in management or even the higher ups in Washington DC who have made some of the dumbest decisions lately. And like the first comment definately not in my office. Yeah it takes a little bit of intelligence to pass the test BUT we have also let some veterans in that, yes they have taken the test, but have scored a heck of alot lower than some other people. We have thought and mulled over what we need to do BUT the situation STILL isn't fixed. If the Postal Service was a corporation in the hole like we are the Postal Service would be out of business and we would all be looking for jobs.

Anonymous said...

They got rid of alot of the smart ones in Oct 2009---taking the $15000 incentive to get out of the rat race!!! Left some pretty incompetent workers to try to manage the offices......really a sad deal for the customers!

MailDragon52 said...

Oh I love this, one intelligent comment and then we have a bunch of snipes, Forbes may be right, in a way, that the Post Office hires individuals of higher IQ than the outside companies and that is due to the Postal requirement that individuals have accurate recall for schemes and memory items that is not required in the civilian community. The Post Office also expects a commitment and perfection of their employees that the civilian companies do not require and it takes a certain type of individual to attain that level. These tests help the Post Office acquire these individuals and unfortunately having a lot of them working in one location we have to deal with a lot of ego issues. As for those individuals who feel that Management is less than ideal in the intelligent department by all means throw your hat into the ring and let’s see how well you fare in changing the system that is in place. We have a lot of changes coming up and it is going to take a concerted effort from all of us to see them through from Management and Craft. As for the individual who feels that the intelligent ones are the ones who left in October and left the incompetent ones to run the place is either one of the individuals who left or someone who does not think very highly of themselves. So goodbye or shame on you. We need to work together to get this Company back on it feet and running as it should be so quit sniping and be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

INTELLIGENCE is a God-given ability to figure things out....be it reading, writing, math, or in our business....handling the mail, in whatever capacity we are working in at the USPS.
Above all else....it is an individual "thing"...this intelligence, and we are a company of deversity, and equal opportunity. So, let's us our God-given ability to work together, diversly and equally to find our way out of this "slump" we find the business in at the present time...and let's do it INTELLIGENTLY, and RESPECTFULLY of one another.
Wanda Frasier, PM
Burr Oak KS 66936

Anonymous said...

The funniest part of the article is it suggests that we should deliberately dumb down to solve all our problems!

Anonymous said...

How many of you actually read the original article..?
http://blogs.forbes.com/investor/2010/08/18/keep-geniuses-out-of-the-post-office/

If you did,and understood what it said... it all makes sense doesn't it.
If you couldn't finish the article,or got lost in the translation..you probably needed your veterns/disabilty points in order to get your job.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me Sir,
"If you couldn't finish the article,or got lost in the translation..you probably needed your veterns/disabilty points in order to get your job".
Your jab lost a little when you failed to spell "veterans & disability" correctly.

MailDragon52 said...

How can I put this a little more simplistic, the question is, are we the best and brightest of society? Or are postal employees smarter than average? That is all Benny asked about from the whole ludicrous article written by Robert Lehmann. Not the rest of the fantasy tirade that Mr. Lehmann goes through on his delusional excursion about the Postal Service, its operation or how the Postal Service actually receives its money. Benny didn’t even talk about individuals with disabilities or the fact that some actually proudly served this country that we have the honor and privilege of living in. Do we have to be as pompous as Mr. Lehmann and tout our own agenda without answering a question? Let’s stop playing the blame game and start looking at what we can do for each other instead of to each other. So answer the question and move on. I still think we are a pretty smart bunch of individuals and when we put our minds together we are scary awesome. Some just have to get off their own soapbox for now and be a part of the team.

Merk said...

In some respects, yes, postal employees are smarter. The exam rates how well the applicant can recognize differences in addresses and names, spelling (though you wouldn't know it from the poor spelling and grammar often used here - but that's more an effect of computer-age writing), and some math skills. But we may not be as bright in other areas, for instance mechanical knowledge or history. I have worked with a lot of bright or educated employees - many with degrees- and I've been amazed that some employees I've worked with actually did pass the exam. It also seems the postal service attracts former teachers and other educated individuals who are burned out at jobs that probably don't pay as well or have the benefits of postal employees. And who can forget the postal employees that have done very well on shows like Jeopardy? As far as our smart employees in menial jobs, I don't really think we have a lot of menial jobs. The public doesn't realize the knowledge we have to have to to our jobs - math skills, people skills, knowledge of the many services, classes of mail, rates, schemes, hazardous material, remembering names and addresses, how to perform audits, the many regulations and laws we must follow, and on and on. I would love to have the professor who did the study and the author of the article come and work for the postal service for a few months - maybe spend a couple weeks in each position and see how they fare. It's not uncommon for newly hired people to quit after they realize that the job isn't as easy as they thought.

Anonymous said...

There are book smart people (which we have based on test scores) and then there are the common sense smart people (can past the tests and can apply common sense to situations). The postal service has both and in my humble opinion it is the book smart that are in management. They don't always have a way to deal with people or processes but they can tell you what the book/manual says. Merk...other than the entrance exam, what kind of special skill does it take to push a broom, empty a garbage can and clean a commode? I am very grateful to the vets that served our country but that was their choice so why do they need extra points on a test that is general knowledge and supposed to put everyone on a level playing field? Some of them wouldn't be working for the postal service without those extra points because they couldn't score high enough on the test. I don't think we are any different than any other business when it comes to the quality of people we employ. It just pays better with better benefits than many other jobs. Just ask the workers with Masters degrees or higher why they work here....less stress, more pay.
I am very thankful for this job and I don't look at whether we are the brightest or the best. Hopefully we can continue to work together to keep this business going.

Anonymous said...

I have always been very aware that the people working with me and around me are of the best and the brightest. I am really glad that there is research to back up my testimony.
Being one of the best and the brightest is one of the reasons that I am proud to work for the United States Postal Service

Anonymous said...

Kudo's to MailDragon 52. It's apparent there is a definite theme in what craft and management think of this little diddy of an article. I read the entire article and I found it rather amusing. Perhaps we should take this with a grain of salt and appreciate the references to how smart Postal Employees are rather than distinguish the separation in craft and management smarts. A little Common Sense folks.

Anonymous said...

I think we have a lot of very intelligent people working in the small offices, and these people have some really good ideas for advancing our business. Unfortunately, the ones at HQ who make all the decisions don't draw on this particular resource when they are enacting policies and making changes to the way we are to do things. If they consulted us in the first place, it might work out better in the long run.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine has a middle school aged son with a learning disability that causes extreme difficulty reading. Last year, her son's teacher called with the results of his aptitude tests to tell her that her son had tested at genius level. She thought there had been some mistake, as did the teacher, but no, that was really the result of his tests. She asked him how he arrived at the answers he had put on the tests, and he replied that he just filled in the dots in a pretty pattern. That was how he arrived at his genius level answers.
My daughter was a jr in high school last year, and chosen to participate in several different scholastic contests. Although she made a 28 on her ACT test, her low score is in science, and her science teacher isn't the best. He's put chemistry formulas on the board incorrectly, that she's corrected him on. She doesn't learn much in that class. At one of the scholastic contests, in the chemistry test, she had no idea what part of the answers were as it was over material that they hadn't covered, so she put C as the answer for everything, based on the probability of how many correct answers were C. The other girl chosen for that test from her class did random A, B, C, D answers, because she didn't know the answers either. My daughter got 15th in the state on the chemistry exam, the other girl got 44th. I don't have much confidence in any kind of aptitude or intelligence testing. I didn't bother to read the entire article because it sounds like a bunch of hooey.

grannybunny said...

Postal employees are more intelligent than the average American. Most people could not pass the exam required of carriers and clerks, the address memorization part, anyway. However, raw intelligence -- by itself -- accomplishes nothing. All of us have seen far too many USPS employees who don't care about doing the right thing, are whiny slackers, etc. We need more EQ -- Emotional Intelligence -- to go with our higher IQ's!

Anonymous said...

The best and brightest of society? Maybe, maybe not. For a change, postal employees were given a positive profile rather than a negative one, can't we just accept that and move on? If we aren't the smartest we are certainly the most dedicated to our chosen careers!

Anonymous said...

We MAY be the brightess... BUT you sure can't tell it from my co-workers !!!

Anonymous said...

Having been in Postal management since 1987, I am not at all surprised about the survey results. I have worked with many well-educated employees who have a great deal of knowledge (and membership in Mensa)and also many less-educated employees that have a great deal of common sense. I am thankful that someone has finally discovered what I've known for years!

Becky Rue
Postmaster
Mount Sterling, KY 40353

Anonymous said...

From what I have noticed about the people I have worked with over the years, the postal exam favors a certain personality, not necessarily smart people. I am not sure if this was done on purpose or not, but the personality that usually passes the exam is the one that is very orderly and precise but is often caught up in minutia. This bites the PO in the tail because this personality has a serious problem with ever thinking they should retire among other problems they exhibit. All my humble opinion, too!

Anonymous said...

in reply to one of the comments above - what special skills do custodians need? They have to be aware of the chemicals and the equipment they use so they can work safely and prevent hazards for other employees. As for veterans, I'm a vet and scored a 97.5 on the exam and one of my roommates in the Army scored a perfect 100% - and those scores were BEFORE the additional points for veteran's preference. Yes, we volunteered but remember, if the military doesn't get enough volunteers, people like you would have been drafted.

Anonymous said...

I think the postal employees represent a cross section of America. In all facets of our econcomy, we have intelligent people and some not so intelligent. Take a look at the show "Third Rock" all of those guys are "intelligent" but lack common sense. The true test of intelligence would be...can you idnetify the problem, come up with some solutions, solve the problem, and then go back and reivew the decsion to see if it's the best possible resolution. If you take the easy way out and don't care about the result.....then I would say you lack the intelligence required to live.

Anonymous said...

Why not give veterans preference points? If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have a job or a country!
Thanks Vets!!

Anonymous said...

Here here!! Remember that it's not just a USPS policy..all federal jobs give vetrans preferences. This benefit stems from WWI to present. You want the point? Join up and serve. If feel that the preferences are unfair or not right.....quit and go work for the state or a private agency. I hear UPS is hiring!

Signed......A VET!!

Anonymous said...

Here here!! Remember that it's not just a USPS policy..all federal jobs give vetrans preferences. This benefit stems from WWI to present. You want the point? Join up and serve. If feel that the preferences are unfair or not right.....quit and go work for the state or a private agency. I hear UPS is hiring!

Signed......A VET!!

Anonymous said...

Yes we are intelligent workers. We have book smart wokers and common sense smart workers, that is how we've been able to stick around so long. This to shall pass and we will be better and stronger for it. Never under estimate us, we are surviors.

Anonymous said...

We may have smarter workers who passed the entrance exam, but all businesses are hurting in this economy! I do believe that management at HQ are smart enough to help us pull through this. We have been in business a long time and aren't going anywhere. Have faith in yourselves, your bosses, your country, and God!