it's only day three of my enumeration work and i can't help but to get philosophical. i was thinking about other jobs where you go from house to house. mail carrier. delivery truck driver. but those jobs are different in that you welcome the mail or a package. most people don't seem to welcome the census. we also deal with a lot of rejections, as most addresses i've visited have been empty, and of those that do answer, occasionally they refuse to have anything to do with you the moment they realize who it is. mail carriers have it rough, they also do a lot of walking, visiting house to house, even if it's raining or snowing. but their job usually doesn't require their customers to be home, it's mostly non-contact. not so with the census. added to that the additional stress of the coronavirus, it can be challenging.
it'd be nice to get some kind of end date, just so i'll know how long this temp work will last. it will also let me better budget my hours, whether to work as many hours as i can because the project will end in a few weeks, or pace myself if it's going to be months. i also know they probably won't have an answer, because it depends on how many non-contacts they received, and how many they have to go back and try again. i remember reading or was told that it could last anywhere from a few weeks to possibly 2 months.
my cases keep on getting farther and farther. a handful of initial addresses are all the way down by sullivan square. i had to take the motorcycle there since it'd take me 18 minutes to ride the bicycle but just 8 minutes by motorcycle. i don't mind, at least for today, since it's not raining. the remaining cases are closer, but still beyond union square. the motorcycle will allow me to get home in time to take my 30 minute break and get back to work for the second half of my shift.
my supervisor called me, said i got flagged for not attempting to find eligible proxies. i explained to her that none of my cases were proxy-eligible, but the app will still ask me to find a proxy if i think the house is vacant or abandoned. i always do try, but if i knock on a neighbor's door and nobody answers, i don't record that encounter, since i thought i was only supposed to record proxies that were successful. i also asked her why my cases were getting farther and farther, she didn't have a good answer for that, i might ask her again if it continues. i told her i had to drive today (didn't mention the part about the motorcycle) because some of my cases are too far even for a bicycle. she understands that it's easier riding a bicycle because it's more maneuverable, but census cases are assigned assuming you have access to a car; she told me the difference between biking and driving in my case are negligible and i could still ride if i wanted to, even if it does take a bit longer than driving.
i spent the rest of my morning checking the map to see where i was supposed to go today and practice a few cases on the training app.
when 12:15pm arrived i rode out to my first cases all the way by sullivan square. i made the terrible mistake of going through union square. google maps said it was okay but it was definitely not okay. i was tempted to doing a u-turn and find an alternative route but i stayed in traffic. i think it would've been faster by bicycle, honestly. the turn from somerville avenue to washington street was completely blocked off. the detour was all the way to mcgrath highway. once i got there the traffic cleared and i made my way to the washington street underpass.
the far away cases weren't too bad. i left behind a bunch of notice of visit and even got to enumerate someone who had recently moved in but knew that the apartment was empty before he arrived. i then biked back towards union square, hitting a few addresses in between. when i did get to union square, i parked the bike at several places while i cleared cases. the weather was temperature and dry, actually kind of comfortable. my body has also slowly adjusted. i had cases where the address looked abandoned, and i followed the rules this this and tried to find 3 proxies before the case would close on its own. these kind of cases are the worst, because they take longer than any other cases as i ring neighborhood doorbells trying to find anyone who can vouch for the occupancy or vacancy of said residence. when i do get somebody, they know a little bit, but reluctant to confirm, which means the case stays open.
i was on a roll approaching the late afternoon. i probably could've kept working, didn't even need to use the bathroom as all the fluids had left by body in the form of sweat. but around 4pm is a good time to stop and i was out of water anyway so i finally stopped for a break by 4:30pm, speeding back home on the motorcycle.
my at-home break routine is this: use the bathroom, take a shower, refill my water and drink plenty of water while i'm at it. i could probably guzzle down a whole 40 oz. of ice cold water easily. i drank so fast it give me an ice cream headache but i didn't mind.
by 5pm i was back out again, for my final 3 hours of work. i took the bike this time, as it was close to rush hour and google maps calculated that bicycling was just a few minutes slower than taking the motorcycle. all the remaining addresses were conveniently located close together. i think that's by design.
my supervisor called me again, said i had two cases from today that was flagged as noncomplete. i remember those cases clearly, i told her i even searched for proxies for each of those cases, i didn't everything by the book. i asked her if any other enumerators were having the same problem, it just seems to be me for some reason. or maybe i get assigned all the tough cases. but my supervisor was on my side and said she would let her supervisor know that there seems to be some kind of glitch in the census app.
census assigned me 63 cases this morning; i'd only completed 27 by that point. but since these late afternoon early evening cases now were grouped closer together, i didn't have to walk as much, so i cleared 27 more cases before 8pm. i could've cleared even more, were i not stuck chatting briefly with a few respondents and proxies. a lot of neighbors just like to talk, they're happy to chat. i've discovered that i'm really good at interviewing people because i like asking questions about them because they genuinely interest me. highlights of the day includes clearing a few wrong address cases because i was able to find the landlords, the definitive source for occupancy info. one of my final cases i spoke with statistician who hard done work for the census so he was especially interested in what i was doing. we could've talked more but i had cases to clear. i helped him clear a wrong address case at his house and he helped me proxy his neighbor which cleared 3 cases.
i still had enough energy in the tank to go another hour or two, but it was starting to get dark, time to go home. i saw a sunset but because there were no clouds, it wasn't as dramatic as yesterday.
back at home i ate the rest of my fried chicken after a shower. i'm not working this weekend so i have two free days to look forward to.
today marks the last day of july. to my surprise, we managed to slightly beat out last month's total (1222kWh versus 1215kWh), but that's to be expected given that june only had 30 days to work with. it was the lowest production for july we've had so far.