Friday, April 3, 2009

The Realities of Enumerating

Well, The Ancient One has completed his first week (actually 3½ days) in the field as an Enumerator or Lister or Address Canvasser for the U.S Census Bureau and he has made some discoveries about work and life.

First, he had forgotten how much he has enjoyed his retirement where he has controlled the calendar. Although this work is part-time (no more than 30 hours per week), it's been hard adjusting to the concept of "being required" to at a specified place at a specified time. Second, it is strange having someone else as a work supervisor after several years of pretty much being his own boss.

Third, walking the streets confirming addresses of housing units is tiring to old legs, especially in this area where it seems there are not many level streets. Some of the hills are real challenges. And the amount of walking adds up. The very accurate pedometer worn on the belt is getting a workout; normal days (before enumerating) ran from the target minimum of 10,000 up to about 12,000 steps a day. On the 4 days worked this week, the pedometer tallied about 16,000 steps on 2 days and over 20,000 yesterday and today. If nothing else, The Ancient One should be in pretty good shape when the job ends in about 3 months. And there are indications that all this walking and hill climbing will also move the weight downwards. . .at last.

Most of the "counting" has been fun. I've talked to a lot of interesting people who seem to be disappointed that we aren't asking a lot of questions; only those that are necessary to make sure we are counting the correct number of housing units on a property. That can be tricky in neighborhoods where many houses have an apartment out back or above the garage. We can't miss those multi-unit properties or hidden housing units (HHUs) In some ways, I'm lucky; with the exception of one small area, almost all the housing units I have counted are single family residences. And I haven't come upon a new condominium development that wasn't standing 10 years ago. That poor enumerator had no housing units listed on the HHC (hand held computer) and had to add them all.

All-in-all, I'm enjoying myself although I'm tired. I also tried to get a few extra hours in this week since I will be gone most of next week to spend the Passover holiday with daughter Alicia in Delaware, with a "side trip" to see Bill, Melanie and the granddaughters in Brooklyn.

Now off to sleep; it's going to be a busy weekend even without counting housing units.


josie2shoes said...

Yikes, that's a lot of walking. You will be in great shape when the three months are over! I know what you mean about returning to the role of supervised instead of supervisor - it's humbling to say the least. Sounds like you have a wonderful week coming up with family, enjoy! And let's hope it doesn't snow on you back East, my family in the Midwest are still getting the white stuff dumped on them. :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

sounds like you have to balance the intersting nature of the work with the stress and strain involved.

I know after I'm off in the summers it is hard to adjust back to classroom schedules for awhile.

Betty said...

I don't think I could go back to work, even part-time. And, working for someone else would be torture. I hope things don't get bad enough that I HAVE to. Talk about your disgruntled employee, that would be me.

Darlene said...

I not only wouldn't want to do that amount of walking, I couldn't. I don't think my continuing reliance on a walker would be an asset.

Enjoy your visit with loved ones.