Postal Worker Retires After 44 Years Without Sick Day

Deborah Ford, a postal worker, will retire later this month after 44 years without taking a single sick day. (Image credit: Elizabeth Najduch)

On Jan. 31, Deborah Ford will retire from the U.S. Postal Service after 44 years without using any of her sick days.

Though her colleagues and the local media, including the Detroit Free Press, applaud her level of commitment, Ford, 64, doesn't see what the big deal is.

Born and raised in Detroit, Ford will be retiring from her job in payroll and timekeeping management for the city's main post office.

"I was trying to do the best I could, and that just evolved into working all my scheduled days," Ford said.

Ford said when she was sick, she would simply "shake it off." For appointments, say, with the doctor, she would use vacation days.

"It's going to be tough to replace her - not only her attendance but her knowledge of the years she has done timekeeping," said Tony Carnagie, a financial programs compliance manager, who has worked with Ford for more than 15 years.

Most of Ford's co-workers knew about her track record, when the USPS awarded her for 30 years of service.

Ford said her father, who is 86 years old and never took a sick days in 30 years, also doesn't see what the fuss is about.

"It's just part of our work ethic," she said.

Ford said she is looking forward to retirement but doesn't have any specific plans, besides spending more time with her father.

"I'll rest up and see where life takes me. Do some volunteer work, take some enrichment classes - the usual stuff," she said.

For now, she is training someone to do her job, which she says, she won't particularly miss.

"You don't miss the brick and mortar," she said. "I'll miss the people, the lives you touched and the lives that touched your life."

Not taking a sick day won't be for naught.

Ford has a sick-leave balance of 4,508 hours, which will allow her a 5 percent increase in her pension.