William Faulkner Works as Postmaster of the University of Mississippi

Faulkner’s most notorious stint as a working man was his role of postmaster at the University of Mississippi post office, which incredibly he held for nearly three years.

By all accounts, he was a terrible postmaster — he would ignore patrons calling at the window, he delayed taking outgoing mail to the train station, and on occasion he even threw away mail. He spent much of his time in the post office writing, and other times he would play bridge and mah-jongg with friends whom he'd appointed as part-time clerks. When a postal inspector came to investigate, Faulkner agreed to resign. Later, Faulkner said about his experience: "I reckon I'll be at the beck and call of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won't ever again have to be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who's got two cents to buy a stamp."

More settled employment came in December 1921, when Faulkner became postmaster of the university post office in Oxford, a position that he held for nearly three years, despite complaints of inattention to his duties while he used working hours for his own writing. In 1923, the Four Seas Company in Boston accepted a volume of Faulkner's poetry on the condition that he pay the costs of publication, which he was neither willing nor able to do.