Friday, April 30, 2010

Call Me

My census training finished up last night, so now I'm now fully trained to do enumeration work.  One of last night's exercises was to go out with another trainee for a couple of hours of field work.  It was scary to interview the first person to complete the census form, but it was easier the second time, and I have no doubt that soon it will be routine.

I think the biggest challenge for this job is going to be finding people at home.  There's a procedure we follow if no one answers the door; one of the tasks is leaving a "Sorry I missed you" sheet that gives our contact information, including a phone number.  I was trying to decide if I should include my home or cell number (neither of which I was thrilled about leaving with strangers) when a classmate threw out another option, a pay-as-you-go phone. That way you'd have a dedicated number just for census calls, and there wouldn't be any safety or security issues.

This afternoon I went to my local big box electronics store and  bought the cheapest pay-as-you-go phone I could find.  When I was checking out, the clerk started on his spiel about how I could buy an extended warranty for the phone; I nicely cut him off and told him it wasn't necessary.  How was he supposed to know this phone was just for temporary use?

When I opened the phone package, I felt vaguely secret agent-ish. In the movies, cell phones are  used to transmit secret information, and the caller is unknown.  However, my phone doesn't offer complete anonymity.  As part of the online setup process, I had to provide my name, home phone number, and e-mail address.  Since I'm not planning on using the phone for any nefarious purpose, that wasn't a problem. Within ten minutes of taking the phone out of the package I had a phone number to associate with my new phone.

The phone's now charged and tucked away in my Census bag, ready for action.  I don't know how much I'll be using the phone, but it came with some minutes which expire two months from now.  Coincidentally, that's just about the time my Enumerator authorization expires.


  1. You are just like a secret agent now with your secret, supercool phone!! Good luck :0)

  2. Eternally Distracted-Secret, yes. Supercool, not so much. Thirty dollars doesn't buy a lot of phone :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing. I've always wondered about those pay-as-you-go phones. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures with the Census.

  4. I think this is cool. Good luck out there ..hmmm....phones can take pictures, too.

  5. Stewart-sadly, my phone doesn't. Can you believe it?