Sunday, February 22, 2009

Working for the Census

I'm modifying this post at the suggestion of my HR director. It's good advice. He suggested that I simply direct folk to the census website. That's much more practical as I'm not the Census Bureau and don't want to say anything that might cause someone to think I am. Most of the article is still in tact. What has been deleted is the stuff that you can find on the Census website.

It's been almost a month since I started working for the Federal Government and the 2010 Census. The hours are good. The pay is decent, steady, and on time. The work crew is friendly and feels like a team. I couldn't have asked for better. The only things that are a downer to this job are: 1) it is designed to be temporary; 2) you don't get benefits. That's okay, I'm delighted to have work of any length and the skills I'm gaining will help the resume look better for the next job search. The lack of benefits I can handle through other resources like the VA and my bank.

I got hired just before Martin Luther King Day. The first thing that happened, after I'd been through the 1.5 days of training, was that I monitored the phones. That meant I was helping people apply for the job by scheduling them to take the mandatory employment test. For a first experience in customer service it was great! People really want jobs. Anything I told them about the process was important to them and they were very grateful. One guy even said so to my boss. I found that I was pretty good at phone work. It wouldn't be my dream job or even a favorite chore, but that I come across as friendly, caring, and helpful is a good thing to know about myself. That will definitely go on my resume.

Then I went and worked the data entry section. There we key in all the stuff from the applications, and if something is missing or confusing we may call to clear it up. That's an area where you have to be very discrete. Nothing that you learn about someone can be shared or even left where someone else could see it on your desk. This too is good experience because you learn how to handle sensitive issues and information.

While working data entry, I revamped some of my Excel skills and now create a report from other types of data (not personal) that I get to enter. I've signed up for "finger printing" and "advanced copier" training. These will all be handy at some point in my life and the training is free. Yay! More skills! Even better is the knowledge that I'll get cross trained in every position in the office. This cross training is vital to census operations running smoothly. It's even better for my resume.

This past week I put some budding coordination skills to work. I'd helped coordinate an event at my church once. On Friday at work, we held a "Jason's Deli" day and I was the mover and shaker on that. I'd driven past the deli along Loop 410, saw the sign, and was suddenly really hungry for a muffaletta. So I asked around to see if anyone was interested. Then I got the permission, requested a menu, and started taking orders. It went over well and I'll hold another in about a month. Folk were grateful and several who didn't participate will probably be ordering the next time. They kept sniffing and commenting on how good the food smelled as they walked past. LOL

One of the nice things about working for the Census is the job is flexible if that is what you need. I know that lots of us hold down more than one job, take care of kids, or go to school. If you need part time work you can do that, instead of full time, and flex your hours around your life. Everyone who's commented on my post, "Suddenly It's Raining Jobs," has said that this was the better choice. I couldn't agree more. And I want others to have the same opportunity that I had.

We have a website. Click here. Or if you need to write it down and give it to a friend the web address is When you have reached the website, click on "Become a census taker". That's where you can read all about the job, the requirements, the nature of the work, and find the forms to fill out and where to call to apply. There is even a practice test. You will turn in your application at the same place you take the employment test.

Right now, the 2010 Census is happening in the U.S.A., and we are at the very beginning of a year and a half long project of conducting it. If you live in another country, I'm pretty sure that your country does the same sort of thing. I just don't know the census cycle over there, but you probably do. Census work is important because it helps your government put money and resources where they are needed based on population and area income. So, if you need a job, apply for a census one. It's worth the time it takes to apply in skills and income, and it will help your government put that economic stimulus package to work where it is needed the most. By applying you become a part of the biggest job creation project going on at the moment. Good luck!


Unknown said...

a great post- tons of info-
Lisa xx

Sandi McBride said...

Wow Lee, you've just helped more people than you will probably ever know. The info is direct, concise and laid out there in an easy format. Great post!

Lee said...

Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad you found it informative.


Lee said...

Thank you, Sandi! I sure hope so. It's scary not having work.


Tess Kincaid said...

I've found a lot of valuable genealogical info on old census lists.

Palin-Berry 2012 said...

Congratulations on your new job. I don't want to sound negative in the wake of your success, but I have a couple of questions about the Census and other "stimulus created" jobs. Pardon my skepticism, but is this where the 4 million jobs from the stimulus package come in? The expansion of already existing government bureaucracies?

And if so, what is the purpose for such a huge expansion of the Census. Also, what affect will the change of hands from the Commerce department to the White House have on your job at the Census? Do you support or oppose the change?

Like I said, I'm not trying to rain on your parade and I truly congratulate you on this blessing. I'm just trying to objectively figure out what direction the Obama admin is going with this growth of government and what the purpose is of transferring control of the census.

Thanks...and congrats again. I wish you continued blessings.

Laila said...

Great post, my husband was laid off in December and is still trying to find a job, I will send him this link. Thanks for the info! :)

Even temp jobs are good, at least there is some income rolling in while you can still keep searching for that perm job with benefits :)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You are funny. Thanks.

murat11 said...

Lee: Not looking for a job, but for anyone who is, this was an awfully nice walk-through. Another of your skills: clarity regarding process.

Lee said...

Hi Willow, I heard that you could find stuff there. I've never done genealogy but I'm pretty sure census files beat digging through country records.


Lee said...

Hi Lalia, I hope the info your husband finds on the website serves him well. Good luck to him.


Lee said...

Hi Beth. Thanks


Lee said...

Hi Paschal! Wish I could have kept it in tact but wiser heads than mine had good advice. Sigh! Well, I guess that folk who are good at gleaning info from the info provided on the website will get the same basic info and experience it pretty much as all hiring processes go.


Lee said...

Palin, Thank you. I'm as glad as anyone that I found a job.

I can't answer your questions. I know absolutely nothing about what you're asking. I think you're mistaking me for a politician or a policy setter. I'm neither. I'm just an office clerk who found a job and want others to know where to look for the same info I was fortunate enough to find.

Thank you again.


b.q. said...

Hi Lee ~ found you thru Blogs of Note. Nice to see positive helpful blogs during these tough days. As I was born in '51, it's great to read your thoughts. I blog with one of my daughters - take a peak when you have time. I'll stop by again & look back at your previous posts. Much luck with your new job.
Take care!

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Deepanjan Ghosh said...

Hi Lee. Thanks for a very readbale and informative post. In India, where I come from, Census I think is a full time job, and the staff are all permanent. Plus, it involves way too much leg work for me to like it, and the pay isn't that great either. But I guess things in your part of the world are very different.

Lee said...

Ah, bq, a friend of my generation! How nice to see you here. I'll be sure to stop by soon. Thank you for visiting and I'm glad you think my post is helpful. I hope someone finds a job from it.


Lee said...

Hi Dolphin,

Yeah, census work isn't for everyone. There are permanent jobs at our Census too but they are mostly statisticians who use the info after it is all collected and entered. I don't have the work experience to qualify for those jobs although they would be great and pay very well. I'm sorry it isn't the same in your country. Hope you have a happy work situation if you need it.


Jinksy said...

I enjoyed taking a turn on the switchboard, too, when I worked for the Inland Revenue - you certainly learn a lot about people!

Fred Smilek said...

Wow. This was a really good post. I see alot of people benefiting from what you had to say.

Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan.

Anonymous said...

thats intresting to know..i referred a friend to take a job in the census. this job i believe is a little different from yours its demographical, they have to collect information. this really helps, so many people losing jobs now.


Lee said...

Hi Jinsky,

You sure do learn a lot about folk. Sometimes the stories are heart rending. I'm glad to be working the computers now. It allows me to be trained in other areas more frequently.

Lee said...

Thank you Fred. I sure hope so. I think lots of animals and the whole world will benefit from what you hope to accomplish.


Lee said...

Hi Nicky! Nice to know I'm not the only one spreading the word. Yes, there are many different types of jobs for the census. Office Clerk and Enumerator are just a couple of them.


Binoy Mathew said...

"By applying you become a part of the biggest job creation project going on at the moment. Good luck!"

I am from India, and I am surprised to see the civilan values you people cater. In india, these kinds of works are done by govt officials only, as no youngster would ever be ready to take up such jobs. Its a herculian task, which I have seen and been part of too. That was a great post...

Lee said...

You're perspective is interesting, Binoy. We do have a few "youngsters" but they are all college students or a little bit older. Most of our incoming talent is from the ranks of the retired. They have years of experience and simply want to keep busy or enhance their circumstances.


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San said...

I'm glad your work continues to go so well. Muffaletta detail--is that in the job description?


Crystal Lynn said...

I started working as a Crew Leader Asst. two weeks ago. The census jobs are planned and budgeted years in advance and not part of the stim package. I read an article in Parade Magazine that stated the price tag is $14 Billion to do this! None of the jobs are long term. My gig ends in June. Could be picked up again, and then maybe not. Going door to door to update maps is rather interesting..... some doors you just don't want to go to!!! If it barks or growls (man or beast) I just keep going!

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