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Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Don't Have A Minute To Spare For Blogging!

The census bureau has sucked up all my free time for the past 3 days. A new week starts today, and the schedule I have been given gives me no free time except on Wednesday (and that is only because I requested Wednesdays off for my karate class). So, unless I can squeeze in some writing during my regular day job, I have no time to blog at all.

I caught up on some of my sleep yesterday and today by sleeping in late and taking some afternoon naps. That is not going to be possible during the work-week, so I will have to manage on a little less sleep than I am used to. Fortunately, the census bureau wants us to put in all the work we can this week so that they can get these binders out to the enumerators by April 30th. After that, we will probably get a week of respite before the enumerators do their thing and start turning in the surveys. But, as of now, I have next weekend and the first week of May mostly open, so if I survive to the end of this week, everything should be fine!

Yesterday, we were doing what is called "assembling folders". There are several things that go into a folder, including address lists, maps, etc. But one of the important things that go into a folder is a bunch of census questionnaires that the enumerators use to note down answers from the people they visit. Preparing the questionnaires involves some labor because we have to stick address labels on the questionnaires.

Our office had some targets and deadlines for how many folders need to be assembled by us by what time. Our office supervisor decided to meet the targets in typical government fashion: he redefined the targets to suit his needs! Instead of assembling full binders that include the questionnaires, we spent all of yesterday putting together binders that contain everything but the questionnaires. That way, we met or exceeded our "targets" for the number of binders we had to assemble.

Including the questionnaires would have put us behind target because it would have taken time and manpower to stick the labels on the questionnaires and get them ready to be included in the binders. By redefining what an assembled binder meant, we were able to meet our targets without any problems. We will probably spend the rest of this week actually sticking labels on the questionnaires so that the binders can actually be shipped out with them, even though they are already "complete"! In fact, our shift supervisor and the supervisor of the next shift argued about whether this was the correct way to meet the target, but our shift supervisor convinced the other supervisor that "assembling folders" was subject to interpretation, and his interpretation was as valid as any other. And his interpretation allowed the office to claim adherence to targets and deadlines, so, why not?!

Anyways, in blogging news, all the blog posts I had planned for the past week went out on time. The same will probably not happen for the coming week, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. On Monday, I published a post on find the great circle initial heading in Microsoft Access. On Tuesday, came a post on bad Microsoft product names. On Wednesday, I published a post on recurring decimal representations of fractions. Then on Thursday, I posted a satirical college admission essay written by a humorist in the early 90's. On Saturday, I put together a post about my adventures dealing with the census bureau.

My blog had visitors from two new countries this past week. The countries were Tanzania and Macao. With that, the flagcounter on my blog now sports 128 flags.

I have no time to make this post any longer or talk about anything else now. I have to get ready for my work on the evening shift at the census bureau. Everyday this week (except for Wednesday and Saturday), I am going to be going to work at my regular job from 7:30AM to 4PM, then work at the census bureau from 4:30PM to midnight, snatch some sleep, and then repeat the whole process the next day. I am having fun doing it right now though. It is new and different, and it will be fun until the novelty wears off. Hopefully by that time, the census bureau would have had enough of me, and I can go back to my normal life. If I don't add to my blog in the coming weeks, you know who to blame: the census bureau sucks (I mean it sucks up all my free time, but you knew that, didn't you?!).

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