my new job


I started a new part time job Monday. Working for the US Census. I am NOT counting people although I loved doing that in 2000. I am part of a special division that runs surveys of all of us and issues statistics. You hear about how things are for our nation economically – I will helping to gather that info.

I loved the census work I did ten years ago when I was a counter. What a great time! Gives you the excuse to visit your neighbors and find out what’s up. Although to tell you the truth, after a day of going door to door and filling out those forms, I could not remember who was what.

Census workers face heavy fines and jail time (5 years!) if they break confidentiality. But I gotta say, who could remember who said what? I thought when I started, I would be able to keep in mind a few things, but nope, everything was  a big scramble.

I did remember when the owner of one house pulled a gun on me – he had illegally converted his basement into a hellhole of cubicles for illegal immigrants. And he would not believe that ANY data I collected was privileged. Although even then I couldn’t remember which house it was because the block it was on was very cookie-cutter in house design.

I can tell you that if your neighbors are mad at you, they will tell an official more than anyone ever needs to know. In 1999 I worked as  an address confirmer (I’m sure the census has a more official title, I just don’t remember it either) and it was considered okay to ask neighbors about whether the house next to them was occupied.

If the neighbor was angry, I would find out about the wild parties, errant children, possible drug use, and bad yard maintenance (that was the greatest crime).

I would eventually learn to back away and mutter things like “I have to finish this street today” or I would hear about the sins of the fathers and grandfathers. And the grandchildren of dubious parentage.

There is no moral in this tale – just to trust us census workers; we not only face fines and incarceration but we are tired and our feet hurt and we really won’t remember you or your facts of life tomorrow.   And to try to keep your yard maintained nicely or your neighbors will never forgive you.