Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2010 Census

With no jobs in town all winter, I was looking for anything. When I called the ad in the paper for 2010 Census takers I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first thing I had to do in the interview, was take a basic skill test. I got one wrong of 30, with questions as easy as finding yourself on a map. A few weeks after the test I got a call about the job and had to turn it down because I was going to be in Connecticut. After being told there were no other training times, I got a second call telling me the opposite, and I took the job.

Having this be my first government job I had no idea how silly the system is. With our week long training we used one whole day to fill out paperwork and get fingerprinted for a background check. After four hours my hand was starting to hurt filling out what seemed to be the same document after another, asking for the same info. I don't think efficiency is a strong point of theirs.

Another four days of training let all of these wonderful items into our lives, and we finally figured out what we would be doing. We were to take a GPS point of everyone's front door, and mark down there physical address as best we could. This would enable them next year to sent the Census to everyone in the mail. The only problem in Teton County is that most folks have PO Boxes. They tell us that they don't need that info, but I know I don't get any mail that is addressed to my physical address.

The HHC, or hand held computer, the first of many acronyms I would learn in training. The training was very basic stuff and easy for me. I even had a chance to show the instructor somethings about using the GPS. I do think if the government is spending so much money on the Census that they should hire an editor for the training manual. I have never seen so many typos and contradictions in a manual like that before. It's kinda unbelievable.

Notice the small gold stripe at the bottom of the HHC. That is for the security access by fingerprint. Don't want people looking at a list of addresses now do we? The best part is the security question after you pass the fingerprint scan......talk about a secure network! I can't wait for the 2020 Census, where rumor is, they have a retina scan in the works.

As a rock climber my hands take a toll. Having just climbed on the notoriously coarse granite at J-Tree, and sharp Dolomite of Sinks Canyon, my fingerprints are going away. Also, the fine grit abuse of the indoor rock gym, really helps wear the tips down. This all leads to me not being able to log into my HHC. It rejects me as invalid user, and after 5 attempts it logs you off for 15 minutes. Then every attempt after it locks up also. This has come to be an issue, because if I reformat my computer it will erase the hours of work. I can't stand that idea, so I been playing with it. After about 30 failed attempts I got in the other day, and managed to get some work done. Now it seems to be hit or miss until I finish this area and can send off the data. But today, with 30 degree temps and rain snow mix it's okay it won't let me it!

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