Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome to Nerf University

Day 1 of Census Enumerator Training:

The Census, as you know, brings us closer to Jesus. Apparently there's some question about whether Mary and Joseph were really headed to Bethlehem, from Nazareth where they'd been living, to be counted among the descendants of David. That's supposedly how they found themselves at the inn (no vacancy) and subsequent manger. But I'm told that might not be true. Shocking.

Fast forward about 2,014 years, and here I sit at the Wyndham Garden Hotel conference room among 14 other Parkwood-ites, training to come count you. No mangers necessary.

The operation--non-respondent follow-up--is known as NRFU or "Nerf U." Rock on.

Here are some things that surprised me on day one:

... Today is all paperwork and fingerprinting. We completed 23 forms between 9 and 11:15. The afternoon is dedicated to finger-printing us--each of us twice in hope of getting clear prints. This is the fourth-and-fifth time I've been fingerprinted. I wonder if that's weird.

... Census enumerators complete DAILY timesheets. An entire page--two copies--every day, every employee. They are paying for our mileage and our time to commute to and from this training. I made $13 just by showing up.

... I have been given a card that says, basically, "I am with the census--is there someone here who speaks English?" in 51 languages, including all the ones you'd expect, but also Navajo, Nepali, Somali, Swahili, Ilocano, Urdu, Tigrinya, Pajabi, Dari, Dinka, Hmoob, and others. Burmese looks like a language of entirely backwards Cs, Laotian looks like Barbie handwriting, and Malayam looks like lace.

... I have been given a very nice U.S. Census Bureau tote bag.

... The Census is conducted by the Department of Commerce. Why?

... The Durham office employs over 1000 census workers.

... My safety is of the utmost importance to William W. Hatcher. One safety tip: Be on the look-out for deer, moose, and other animals. (No mention of tigers, leopards, or other exotic animals that are perfectly legal pets in NC).

... There is no limit to how many times the Federal government will ask you to print your name on a single sheet of paper: to attest that you have received something, that you read the something, that you understand the something, and that you will act according to the something. Then, before you sign it, you have to print your name legibly, so they know it's you. Or something.

... My 7s look funny.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yeah. Those North Cack Moose are vicious.