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Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Like My New Schedule - Unfortunately, It Will Not Last

I am getting well-settled now into a good, sensible schedule that allows me to do my regular job and my census work without losing sleep and/or having to run from one to the other with no time to spare. The census work on the office review side has been divvied up among the workers hired for it so that each person gets about 20 hours of work each week.

I get 5 4-hour shifts a week with a couple of days off. Most others work 4-hour shifts too. A couple of clerks work 8-hour night-shifts 2 days a week, giving them 16 hours a week. I feel sorry for them because they not only have the worst shift timings (at least in my mind), but also fewer hours each week. I am just glad it is not me trying to work 2 night shifts a week while holding down a regular day job!

And my shift timings allow me to work my normal schedule at my regular job, then drive over to the census office with time to spare. Since the shifts are shorter than 5 hours in length, I don't have a break in the shift. Instead, I have my dinner before the shift starts and then work 4 hours straight until it is time to go home for the night.

I get home well before my normal bed-time, so I have some time to catch up on my email, and do other stuff before going to bed. I can then get up at the usual time the next morning, take the kids to school, go to work, in short, do everything I used to do before. Except in the evening, I have to drive over to the census office instead of driving home. It is not a bad gig, and I get to convert 4 hours of my otherwise wasted time into about $60 of pocket money! Beats watching bad movies any evening!!

Unfortunately, I don't think this schedule is going to last for too much longer. My supervisor last night told me that we have so far received back and processed over two-thirds of the NRFU EQ's we sent out to the enumerators. The rate at which the EQ's are coming in is going down slowly, and pretty soon either they will have to start cutting workers or cutting shift times for everyone.

If two-thirds of the EQ's have come back in the month since we sent them out, I would expect the other one-third to come back in the next 2 to 3 weeks. There are some steps in the census process after the NRFU phase, but I don't know how much office manpower these steps take. So, assuming that reviewing and shipping of these EQ's is the last thing we were hired to do, I expect my census employment to end by the middle to end of June. I will probably make a few hundred more bucks, but after that, the goose that lays the golden egg will be dead! It will rise back from the dead like the phoenix in about 10 years, but I am not exactly holding my breath for that!!

The return of my schedule to a more workable one has still not resulted in my blogging returning to its original schedule though. I am getting there, but it did not happen this week. Monday, at my regular job, I faced some frustrations with my email interactions causing surprising amounts of angst in spite of being so bland. I wrote up a post about these adventures on Tuesday. Then on Thursday, I wrote up another post about my recent experiences dealing with the flagcounter widget on my blog.

And speaking of flagcounter, my blog did have a visitor from one new country this week. That country was Sudan. After the ups and downs of the last few days because of the reclassification of flags and what-not, I now have visits from 131 countries (this does not include 3 of the unknown categories, but does still include visits from unknown European Union). The last column of my flagcounter widget still looks imbalanced, but the addition of the 131st flag has made the imbalance less severe. Things did not get any worse, but they did not get any better either. I am still doing research on replacements for flagcounter. Stay tuned!

Today, I completed a two-day project at home aimed at yard beautification, that involved mowing the lawn, applying weedkiller on the whole yard and getting rid of the weeds growing on a small patch of ground that is not supposed to have any vegetation on it. My yardwork adventures of the last couple of days is chronicled in a post I put together today morning.

This being a long weekend, it gives me another excuse not to get back into my usual blogging schedule since that would involve publishing stuff on a holiday that I usually publish on workdays. But I might do it just because I have enough time on my hands, and doing some blogging will hopefully get me out of my inertia and enable me to start publishing more regularly in the future. I don't have my work schedule to blame for not writing any more, so I better do one of two things: find a good, viable excuse for not getting back to work, or actually get back to work! I wonder which is easier though . . . !!

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