i went out for work by 11am. today's weather was nice, clear blue sky with some wispy clouds. if anything, it was actually a little hot standing out in the sun, but there was a strong breeze and if i kept in the shade, it was actually very pleasant. i would start with the far away cases first via bike (unlike yesterday, where it was raining in the morning so i didn't tackle those far away cases until later in the afternoon), then come back home, ditch the bike, and walk the rest of the way. the objective was to close cases using whatever means possible. i called management companies and real estate agents to leave messages. at one point i saw a guy coming out of the house i was trying to enumerate, got on my bike to track him down, and when i couldn't i went back to his house to wait for him to return just so i could ask him questions. turns out he lived at the address (why didn't he hear the doorbell?) and i was able to close that case.
i returned home by 12:30pm to drop off the bike. another thing i was doing today was milking the clock. with just 63 cases i was afraid i'd run out: not that i'd be able to finish all the cases, but knowing that there were a few apartment complexes that i'd have a hard time getting inside, i wanted to make sure i had enough easy access cases to last all 8 hours of my shift.
if i managed to close any cases today a lot of it had to do with luck, since all these cases have been attempted multiple times. like randomly talking with somebody standing outside the apartment that happened to live or know of the address in question. or finding an owner of a house who's never home sitting in her backyard. i was so lucky today that a property manager even called me for cases from a week ago with info about apartments; i didn't have the heart to tell him those cases weren't mine anymore and i didn't have any way of enumerating those addresses.
in the early afternoon our new supervisor sent us a lengthy text that our district (our zone?) was moving into the close-out phase and please submit work availability through monday. did this mean that census work would stop after this labor day weekend? it would be something to look forward to. the fact that i wasn't assigned to one of those teams that would continue working the rest of the month made me think that maybe i wasn't the best closer. i personally like to think i do okay, but i work my own pace, and i'm not one of those persuasive types that can flip a refusal into an interview. i do however always close when i get a chinese respondent who didn't do their census, when i break into my mandarin, they suddenly lower their guard and i get my interview. let's see some of those other enumerators pull of that trick. i'm actually kind of surprised they didn't move me to one of those high chinese population towns (like malden or quincy) where my language skill can be better utilized.
i came home around 4pm for my break, but not before visiting one of my favorite property manager on forest st who helped me close out 2 cases. he's one of those guys that seems to have a photographic memory, i showed him the address, he immediately could tell me who lived there on april 1st or whether it was vacant, almost like an amazing party trick. i saw a car that looked like my father's and turned out it was him, dropping off some food at my place.
after a quick 30 minute rest, i went out for my second shift. there were only a few easy addresses, the rest were in restricted apartment complexes. i milked the easy ones as much as i could, attempting proxies and going above and beyond when the app didn't ask for it. in one apartment i tried nearly all the buzzers, then somebody let me inside the building, and i went and found the basement unit, which was unlocked, and i actually went inside, thankfully it was empty. when those ran out, it was time to tackle the hard addresses. speaking of luck, i managed to get into one building that nobody seemed to be able to get into. the place had an intercom system that was keyed to names not apartments, and the management company refused to let any census workers inside the building to work cases. in that building i had 6 cases, milked it for all it's worth. i had one confirmed wrong address and one interview (a chinese lady). i nearly got a second interview - with a japanese man no less (i was ready to bust out some of my college japanese) - but midway through i discovered he'd just moved in last month. i even went into the basement to see if this apartment was connected to the other restricted access buildings; they were connected but the doors were locked and i couldn't get to the other side. once i was out of the building, i found myself unable to get into any of other units. but by that point i only had 30 minutes left in my shift. by the time i made it to my final address (another apartment unit), there wasn't any time left as i still had to walk home before 7pm.
thus concluded my friday, in what may be my last friday of census work. out of the 63 cases assigned to me today, i managed to get through 47 addresses, closing 19 of them. i even added an address so i could interview a woman who said the census never contacted her. so as far as making the complete interview quota, i'm way ahead, far better than i was a few weeks ago, before i had to do so many proxy attempts. proxy attempts are your friend when it comes to closing cases and finding potential neighbors to help you do a proxy interview.
if our census work is really going to come to an end after monday, i did toy with the idea of working a few hours this weekend. but the possibility of getting these cases for the 5th time in a row would be so traumatic for me i need the weekend to recover from having to do them for 4 consecutive days. the cases that are left, i've squeezed every possible closure out of them, they're not going to give any census data. maybe somebody could get lucky and gain access to the last addresses i was at, and possibility enumerate some people, but that's assuming folks will be here during this labor day weekend, and they're not going elsewhere.
just knowing i don't have to wake up work the census tomorrow is going to allow me to sleep peacefully tonight.