Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why I quit working for the Census

They need to speak to their mid-level supervisors about making giggly remarks when “they” instruct a trainee to fill out pay-forms to reflect what hasn’t actually happened, just to make it line up with the state work laws. If the people in the offices back east make mistakes about mileage and time in rural areas, they need to work that out, not encourage employees to cheat on the pay-forms.

Signing up to work for the Census was me overloading myself again, when I have prior commitments (like my intern in July!), and having to back out before both jobs go to pieces. And I have these books to finish processing — and I can’t take forever on that, either.  It’s got to get done sooner rather than later.

Dan doesn’t know I’ve scheduled three more chickens for the back coop.  Sorry, but when one can trade eggs for salmon and elk-burger, and the co-op is asking for eggs, ya just gotta go for it.  He did tell me yesterday he'd never had such big, rich eggs in his life, that they were better than the ones his grandfather raised -- with the reasonable caveat that hens and feed were probably better today.  He did admit Red and Black are pretty spoiled chickens.  Pets, that's all.

Pet pigs, pet lambs... it's how they're treated and raised up here.  We're eating ground beef from Triple Nickel Farm on Highway 112, out of a bull the owner said, "He was my pet -- but his calves killed six of my heifers."  They were too big.  But he was a food animal, and they had to eat him. 

Anyway, the Census wasn't paying enough to make me cheat on my pay-forms, possibly get no pay for hours worked, or send me up dirt roads to find people with shot-guns.  Admittedly, they pay for all injury and hospital time -- but when one of their safety instructions is "Wear comfortable shoes, in case you have to run" (it's in their handbook!) it does tend to set off alarms.

And this on-line book thing is working, as money trickles in from all sides.  Not a huge amount of money, but certainly enough to take care of things.  Not spending money is the same as earning it -- and when, like yesterday, you run into a paint shop that is clearing for inventory and gives you enough paint to finish the inside of the house -- "Free!  Just get it out of here!" -- that's the same as making a lot of money.

I made more money in ten minutes getting free paint than I'd ever make on another job.  "Poverty is a full-time job" can be rephrased as "Independence is a full-time job." Depends on what you do with it.

Note:  new Census rule.  A "lot" (supervisor quote) of people up to no good have been impersonating census workers. If the Census worker is NOT wearing a bright-orange vest with green fluorescent stripes that say "Census bureau" down the front and on a green fluorescent patch on the back, CALL THE POLICE!  If you invite them in and they do -- it's not a census worker.  The new rule is:  NO going into anybody's home.  If they ask to come in -- CALL THE POLICE!

On the way home, I helped several people with census questions.  One guy in a business which -- admittedly -- a lot of folks with warrants patronize, was looking at his form and said, "I don't know if I want to fill all this out."  When I told him the punishment for a census worker who revealed anything about personal information was 5 years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine, and that a CW could be waterboarded before they'd give up that info to anybody, including the sheriff or the IRS, and that NO information could be released for 72 years to ANYBODY, he went ahead and filled it out. He can help out his more nervous customers, too, now.

For every census form filled out, a community brings in on the average $1400 of gov'ment money.  It's about cutting up the pie  we all pay into-- they can't come fix your roads if they don't think anybody's living up there.  Our library has been closed for a week at a time up here.  It's a lifeline for a lot of locals -- knowledge that we have so many people here will help with funding.

The numbers the census collects goes into a pool. They don't look like "The Hernandez family with six kids lives here."  It looks like: "This area is 15% Hispanic."  And that, by the way, is how you get listed -- the way you insisted on writing it.  Evidently people have put down race as "non-white" and "German." I put down "Vaguely Ethnic" and "American Mutt." If Obama can call himself a Mutt, so can I. 

Dan, who is 1/8 Wyandotte and living here where "American Indian" can bring in nice funding, listed himself as such.  It's not about the little box you belong in permanently -- it's about where people are in their lives for this decade's funding and numbers of representatives in the House of Representatives.

I asked, "What if a gay couple puts down 'husband or wife?' Is it based on laws or society?" and was told, "Put it down. It's what they say they are. Don't argue."

Thomas Jefferson said we have to do this if we live here, so might as well do it.  But -- if you got a problem, call the Census office.  They're actually pretty helpful. They just want to get this job done.

1 comment:

Vik-Thor Harrison said...

I'm actually one of the households that sent it in the day after we got it. I've been seeing the notices on doors here in the apartment complex, presumable where the resident's didn't send theirs in.

Jos and I checked white, then put American on the race section. After all, after the first 3, they are Nationalities. (Chinese, Japanese, etc.)
(Don't remember how we answered the marriage part. Something unconventional I think.)