During my last few months of college, I was hired to be an enumerator for the Census. Every 10 years, the Census, (a division of the US government) does a head-count of our residents, gets information on nationality, income, and family status to help better understand the needs of the population.
It definitely was a unique experience, as I had to go door to door and follow up with people who neglected to turn in their surveys. Most of the people I talked with were nice and accommodating, some were not, and some were just plain strange.
One particular family I remember vividly. I was invited into their home with open arms by the man of the household. He had alcohol on his breath, but was extremely friendly and not intimidating at all. He told me that each generation of his household had been interviewed by the Census (probably because they were neglecting to fill out their forms) and it was an honor for them to have me there. He gathered the whole family, which consisted of his wife, and half-a-dozen kids, and we all took pictures together. He then ushered all of the kids out of the living room, told his wife to bring us some food, and then answered all of my questions.
It was very amusing.
Soon after, I was promoted to assistant supervisor and got to oversee people who had to go door to door, and I got to hear all of their stories about the people they encountered.
After the count was complete, I was then promoted into doing office work, and got to work at the downtown offices. All in all, my time with the Census lasted about eight months. That’s the good thing about government work: it’s pretty consistent, it lasts fairly long, and if you’re halfway competent they’ll be happy to keep you employed as long as possible.
The Census is always hiring, by the way, not just for the decennial count. They’re always conducting surveys and such and may be in need of temporary workers. Check out www.census.gov for jobs in your area.
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