It was with some odd excitement that I returned to working for the U.S. Census today. Technically* I work for the Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and the division is...I don't know, Census 2010? I'm out of practice remembering all the whozeewhatsits and whatchamadiddles.
I can't really explain why, but I enjoy this work. There's an aspect of problem-solving** that's a large part of it - something I enjoy. I've met some good people***, both in the office and in the field. The pay is quite good, even if the benefits are...to put it as nicely as possible...non-existent.
I won't go too deeply into what I'm doing; I take the privacy aspects of the job seriously. I won't trash the work (as another Cali blogger did last spring) because I enjoy the work. Oddly, I think a big part of why I enjoy it is because of my innate political junkieness.****
The U.S. Census has been around longer than modern political parties. Created by the Constitution of the United States, it is how we allocate seats in the House of Representatives - the more people in an area, the more seats they receive. It is also helps determine how states, counties, cities, municipalities, townships, and neighborhoods receive federal funds. It is a necessary part of how our government works, and I'm happy and proud to be part of it.
Keep in mind: the people who come by and ask you Census questions aren't doing it to annoy you; they're doing it to make sure that the area where you live gets all that is coming to it. I can assure you that the vast overwhelming majority of people employed for us are working with that goal in mind. The Census is not trying to locate your hidden stash of guns, take note of your activities for the New World Order, or trying to make a list of dissidents. Anyone who believes that needs their medication adjusted.
(On that note, let me remind you that that Congress' Midwestern court jester, Representative Michelle Bachmann, has given the Census most of its recent press with her wonky, "Don't let them write you in the books!" prattle.***** Having an elected representative say that is tantamount to having your governor telling the 18-year old young men to not register with Selective Service, because it's a ploy of the Party in Power.)
This is going to keep my brain occupied a while - hopefully give it a bit of a recharge, too. I'll probably post a few odds-and-ends about the Census, but no dirt. I'm not going to trash it or the people working for it. It goes against my nature to do so. I hope y'all will put up with this for a few weeks.
**Boy howdy, is there problem-solving.
***Some dirtbags, too.
****Another thing I enjoy is that Census workers fall all over the map politically. As far as I can tell, we have some of the most fervent, yet good-natured arguments I've ever seen. One of my favorite people, who shall remain nameless, is a hardcore conservative, and I absolutely love chatting (arguing) with her.
*****A statement which caused even some of her most ardent supporters to say, "Congressman... Michelle... darling... honey... sugartits... shut the f*** up."