SOUTH PORTLAND – In late summer, as I approached the window at the local post office, I debated whether to vent my frustrations regarding the Postal Service (or lack thereof) of the past few weeks.

My encounters at the post office had always been friendly and courteous, so I decided to gently vent.

As I relayed the debacles of days of no mail delivery, delivery of mail that was not ours and varied times of delivery between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 6:40 p.m., I asked the postal worker if he thought the Postal Service would cut a day of delivery to save money. That would make sense to me, particularly if it were Saturdays.

I noticed the very tired eyes of the person across the counter as he explained to me how many customer service representatives had been laid off and how many postal distribution centers there were across the country and how many of them would likely be closing.

Not only had some of their employees lost their jobs — others were having to drive further to keep a position.

I have spent some time pondering the trickle-down effect of rising gas prices and their negative effect on the economy.

Food prices are higher, lines are longer in every grocery store (due to only some of the checkouts being open) and even Walmart long ago did away with the policy, “We will open another checkout when four or more people are in line.”

I suspect many customers’ blood pressure is rising along with the gas and food prices. In many stores it is hard to find someone to assist customers.

A few years ago, as the economy took a dive, while I was at a local grocery store, a customer was giving the manager some grief for bagging groceries.

They obviously knew each other and the manager replied, “I had to lay off people; we all need to pitch in more.”

We all know there needs to be job creation, particularly for a state like Maine whose well known industries are rapidly becoming extinct.

The local and national news are carrying stories of jobs that are available, yet positions are not being filled due to workers not being qualified in math skills and machinery.

There has been so much focus on high school students going on to four-year college programs, that as advanced placement classes have been increased, programs such as industrial arts have been cut.

There needs to be a balance.

Young adults need to be preparing for the work world, including areas such as technology. In addition they need to be obtaining skill sets such as those learned in industrial arts programs.

Another area of school systems that are often cut or overlooked is the arts; yet the creative thinker is what many companies are now looking for.

We need to foster students’ strengths and interests, yet also expose them to a variety of classes and skills to help them become productive members of society.

For every frustration that is out there, from “my child’s class size is too large,” “gas is too high” and “lines are too long” to “service is too slow” — remember, there is a flip side.

Mainly, it is that those frustrations are likely caused by jobs lost.

Most people are doing the best they can with the challenges awaiting them each day — that is, if they are fortunate enough to even have a job.

Let us dare have the conversation discussing this: How do we make things better? Where do we go from here?

At the very least, when ready to vent, even if rightly so, take a deep breath and remember — there are two sides to every story.

– Special to the Press Herald