In Conversation with Atul Ray, Postmaster, Government of India

Atul Ray (Postmaster, Government of India)

Insights

  1. Government sector gives you a pretty good remuneration and also has a lot of job security and also gives you a lot of free time to pursue your passion.
  2. At times the post office can be really monotonous as you are confined to a room from morning to evening. Plus, there is not much fierce competition, so you don’t get to grow and learn in the process.
  3. The profession offers you a stable and secure job with fixed working hours and can enjoy a lot of holidays
  4. Getting into Government jobs is not easy these days. So, start preparing early and try to have a backup option if you don’t get into the Government sector.

Personal Details

Name – Atul Ray

Profession – Postmaster, Government of India

Age – 52 years

Gender – Male

City – Kolkata

Industry – Government

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in a small town near to Sundarban. We lived in a lower-middle-class family. We had a small family consisting of me, my brother and my parents. My father was a high school teacher and my mother was a homemaker.

Who had the most influence on you?

This is indeed a tricky question, which I had faced many times in my life and not even for once I could answer it well. I never had a role model and I think it is okay to not have a role model. I always wanted to be myself may be a better version of mine. I was mostly inspired by the situation and circumstances more than human figures.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I chose science after my class 10th. I was interested in Chemistry, so I decided to do my (Hons) graduation in Chemistry but I did not want to continue with my masters because I wanted to avoid getting into the teaching profession at any cost.

After my graduation, I started preparing for a variety of government exams be it banking, railways, and stuff.

Finally, I cracked and got into a decent job in the post office. And this is when I also started taking up tuitions for extra money and that is when I realized that teaching was something that ran in my genes. I really enjoyed teaching kids, nurturing them.

What have been your educational qualifications? How would you define your journey of becoming a Postmaster?

As a kid, I was always very confused about what I wanted to be in life. I chose science after my class 10th because I was told to take that up.

Back in those days, students who were above-average in studies were pushed to take science.

My journey has been unique because I never wanted to get into teaching and had always dreamt of getting into a government job.

But today I feel very contended because I think I have been able to continue both my job as well as contributing something to the society.

Which institutions are best for the entry-level courses?

There is no particular institution if you want to get into a government job. You have to have specific educational criteria for various posts and you just need to fulfill those.

For clearing the entrance exam there are a lot of coaching institute these days which can help you prepare for the exam.

What has been the approximate costs involved in pursuing the profession you are in?

For your graduation, you can go to any college that suits your financial condition as well as your qualification. For studying in the coaching institutions that prepare you for government jobs are not very expensive and cost around 15–20K for their package.

What is the remuneration one should expect while starting out in your field/career?

While starting out in this career, which is a government sector, income follows a fixed scale and is around 22–25 K INR pm. As you get the promotion, salary increases and that goes same for teachers.

The average scale is something like below:

Starting Out — 3 to 4 Lakhs INR per annum

5 years’ experience — 4 to 6 Lakhs INR per annum

10 years’ experience — 8 Lakhs INR per annum

Please describe your work as Postmaster.

Being a Postmaster and a teacher my daily schedule is quite simple and busy at the same time. My first batch for tuitions comes around 7 am and that continues till 9 am. After which, I get ready for my office.

Since I am the postmaster, I need to sanction and work on a lot of government schemes. Apart from that, as I am the postmaster, there is a lot of paperwork that I need to do. Since it is a government job I don’t undergo extreme work pressure.

I come back around 5 pm. This is when my next batch comes. I teach maths and science till class 10th standard. By the time my batch ends its 10 pm.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

I feel this is not a job for people who have high aspirations in life. It’s for someone who wants a secured life. It is easy and does not incur a lot of pressure. As for teaching, the only requirement is the passion and the patience to deal with kids. It also becomes your responsibility. The tutorial is very much different from the classroom teachings. In tuitions, it’s all about concentrating on an individual basis.

What are some of the positives that would encourage someone to take up this job/career?

  1. Firstly government jobs are pretty easy going. At times there is a lot of work. But mostly it is easy.
  2. Remuneration is not bad at all considering the work you do. It is a secured job. You don’t need to worry till retirement and also after retirement because you get pensions.
  3. With teaching students, one feels so much accomplished on how much they contribute to the society. You almost feel like their future is your responsibility.
  4. Government jobs also give you a lot of free time where you can pursue your passion or anything else that you one to do just like I get the time to teach. We also get quite a lot of holidays so one plans a good vacation.

What are some of the challenges one is expected to face in this profession?

  1. Ok, if we talk about challenges the very first thing is in today’s date securing a government job has become really difficult. There are times when even if you clear the exams you don’t get your call letter. A lot of internal politics involved.
  2. Government jobs especially like in post offices are not for someone who aspires a really bright future. It is more or less stagnant because there is no much fierce competition and you don’t get to learn a lot of new things
  3. Post offices are now almost a thing of past. Hardly people use them in this modern era of emails and high tech world. So it is mostly outdated.
  4. Challenges in terms of teaching are there are times when you put in so much of efforts and the student does not do well you feel like as if you have failed.

What are some of the skills/technological advancement one is required to possess in your job profile?

You have to have a fair idea of computers.

Given a choice, if not a Postmaster what would you see yourself as?

I don’t know. I have in fact never thought about it. But whatever it is I would have been into the government sector.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

If you want to start your career in the government sector, start preparing for the government exam early. So keep in mind this is not easy to achieve in today’s scenario. So always have a backup plan.

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