Apr. 28th, 2010

So shortly after writing yesterday's post, I got an email from my Census boss saying that those of us who didn't get enumerator jobs could maybe do some clerical work this week since it is OMGWTFBBQ week preparing all of the casebooks for everyone who didn't mail in their forms. He gave a phone number which ... didn't get answered by a person and the voicemail was ignored for at least an hour. I then made another one of those bold decisions that I've become capable of, that since I know where my grandboss sits I can go see her even though if I don't know the number of her direct line. The worst that could happen is that I get escorted out by security.

The best that could happen is what did happen. I said "I heard you need help", thinking that she'd tell me when to come back. She brightened and said "let's find you a chair!" and I spent twelve of the next thirteen hours working. And and my chair turned out to be right next to the superboss who was the most capable of being concerned about my falling through the cracks and working to get me into the final round of training next week when all this dust has settled. That's no sure bet, but at least this time I'll know. But at the least, making the decision to seek my fortune instead of waiting by the phone probably made me nearly a thousand dollars in income this week alone. There's probably a moral in there somewhere.

The work itself is routine office work with the printing and the collating and the cross-checking and the metric-keeping. But it's fascinating to be there. First off, during a recession, Census workers turn out to be the cream of the unemployed crop, so everyone is a caterer or a masseuse or a retired businessman with a lifetime of world travel. Plus we all get to comment on how inefficient the work processes we're doing are, and how we'd do things differently to make the work easier for people in the field. And I even get to share my bounty of Excel wisdom with a cow-orker who needed to make a spreadsheet report. So that was my lesson for the day, both in my work and in my work outlook: to find the awesome you've got to penetrate the corporation and meet with the people. They're awesome and smart even if they look neglectful and ill-conceived from a distance.

Also, holy cow I don't know for certain, but I think I printed out and ran my hands over 7000 pieces of paper yesterday. I'm not sure I've ever done that in a month before now. Now I've got to go make lunch and head back so I can collate and punch holes in those papers I think.

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Matthew Daly

December 2012

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