Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Year Ago... The Census Came Calling

It was one year ago today that I got a call from the U.S. Census Bureau inviting me to the downtown Brooklyn "LCO 2226" office for training, after scoring 100% on the qualifying test—which was full of math and logic. Believe me, acing that was a gift from god.

It turns out that I was coming in late to the role I had been targeted for—thanks to another Crew Leader having freaked at the idea of knocking on doors. I didn't realize at the time that the Brooklyn staff had been sealed until his exit, allowing me to step in, as part of a training class of one.

Of course, as multiple posts on The Smoking Nun demonstrate, working for the Census Bureau turned out to be my ultimate blessing in 2010. Not only did it pluck me from the ranks of the unemployed after nearly a year—with my unemployment benes due to expire two weeks later—but the experience proved to be rewarding in so many ways.

I was no longer "Chuck Taylor the Billboard guy," now proving myself as just a dude, excelling on skill, charm and a positive attitude. I also appeared to be adept at training and teaching—to my surprise—and I picked up a couple real friends along the way, which was never a priority, since I viewed the experience as a blip in the realm of my life.

Most surprising, my time with the Census Bureau endured much longer than it was ever supposed to. I was lucky enough to bond with some powerful allies, who continually renewed me for one new initiative after another. When I began in February 2010, I was hiking overtop snow drifts. Five months later, I was trolling the same streets in a flop sweat amid the summer sun.

In all, I was employed by the Census for eight months, not only a financial savior, but one of the coolest, most randomly positive experiences of my adult life. Not a career, but a hell of a chapter a la post-print journalist. If nothing else, it gave me a hell of a lot to write about on these pages for the better part of a year.But more so, it fed my need for social interaction and adventure and it endeared me to Brooklyn, block by block, in a way that will serve me for the rest of my life. Turns out this little chapter really counted.