I'm standing outside a branch of the New York Public Livbrary, waiting for someone to show up and open the place. I'm here for training with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Late last year, in a fit of "I'm broke, the economy's tanking, and the editor who's hired me the most just got laid off," I followed a link sent by a friend to the Census folks, who are looking for part-time employees to do assorted tasks for the 2010 Census.
I took the test, got a 95, and was told I'd be doing training all this week.
Now if they'd just let us in........
So finally someone showed up around 9am to let us into the library. Basically, they told us to get there at 8.30 in the fond hope that most folks would get there at 9 -- surprisingly, though, almost all of the 40 people were there by 9.
Anyhow, we get inside, and they don't have my name on the list. They figure it's some kind of glitch, but nobody can answer the question until 10am when the office opens, so I join everyone else in filling out paperwork and stuff -- including being sworn in as a government employee.
Eventually it is determined that I wasn't on the list because I supposedly wasn't selected. Never mind that a) I got a 95 on the fucking test, and b) I got, not one, but two phone calls that offered me the position with detailed questions and information. I was told to go home, and that I'd be considered for the next wave of employment in August -- which, I don't mind telling you, pissed me off on several fronts. First off, there was the lack of income. Secondly, there was the fact that I rearranged my life in several different ways in order to accommodate the five days of training this week. Thirdly, I just filled out a mess of forms with a whole lot of personal information that I'm perfectly happy to supply to a prospective employer but somewhat less happy to provide to the government for no good reason.
I called the office to bitch, but before I had a chance to, they told me to go back to the library. Turns out they were in something of a bind, because they swore me in. Plus, there were three no-shows, so I basically took the place of one of them.
I get the feeling some bureaucracy is going to bite me on the patoots down the line, but at least for now all is well.
We spent the day filling out forms and then we filled out forms, and when we were done with that, they had us fill out some forms, and then to break up the monotony, they gave us some forms to fill out. Then we got trained on the use of the cool-ass handheld computers we'll be using (yes, I've been issued a tricorder *snerk*), and after that, we filled out some more forms.
Also, we got fingerprinted. At last, after almost 40 years, I'm finally in the system -- this is the first time I've ever been printed....
The training was boring, but at least it was tedious. The two supervisors weren't really equipped to handle so big a group -- apparently the training classes are usually half the size or less -- and things moved slowly and frustratingly. But hey, they're paying us, so I can't complain. Well, I could, but why bother? (It'll even be direct-deposited -- it's been 15 years since I had income directly deposited: ten years freelance, five years working for a cheapskate who didn't do direct deposit.)
And we get to do it all over again for the next four days. Wheeeee!