Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Call Me Uncle Chuckle Sam

On Wednesday, I begin training for a part-time temporary job with the U.S. Census. Ain't that a fucking kick? My mamer mentioned to me several weeks ago that across every zip code in the nation, jobs are available both in the field and for training, throughout the year, as we begin to document every breathing body in every home in every municipality through the USA.

After 10 months without anyone in the journalism profession realizing that they were surely suffering without my innate talent in their corner—and more urgently, with my unemployment benefits expiring in just two weeks—this was no time for overt pride. Besides, the census experience sounds like it has potential to be quite an adventure, truly. And among my life mantras: Anything with anecdotal potential is worth experiencing. It certainly sounds more fun than ringing up power cords at Radio Shack, yes?

A couple weeks ago, I took a practice test online, which includes 28 questions covering clerical, number and organizational skills, reading, and "interpreting information and evaluating alternatives." We're talking long-form math—my god, with decimals—and verbal reasoning, a la the SATS, which I took decades ago.

Not only did it hurt my head, but my pride, as well. My score was a dismal 20/28. Undaunted, I explored every wrong answer and learned the error of my ways. When I went to take the real test at a nearby community center on a frigid Wednesday, I got lost trying to find the building. That didn't bode well, particularly for interpreting info and alternatives, huh?

But I aced that baby, with a perfect score, 28/28. Within a week, I got a call, inviting me to train as a crew leader, at the top tier. Now, I begin three days of instruction—for 24 hours, 2:30-11 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If I am indeed offered a position training,there's potential to work between 20 and 40 hours a week, open-ended, renewable every eight weeks (thus, no benefits). Hello, Uncle Sam, happy to serve.

Frankly, I'm thrilled. Did I mention that this could be a blast? And with the potential of $0.00 coming in by mid-February, what in the world do I have to lose, versus honest income? I'm simply not that proud and frankly, while I lived a dream life for 14 years, I'm humble pie when it comes to any opportunity that might lead down a road with possibilities I can't yet fathom.

Stand by for a full play-by-play, right here on The Smoking Nun. Let's take this ride together, shall we?