Monday, May 3, 2010
Kushibo joins the Census Bureau
It is one of the oldest traditions of government we have, the counting of everyone in the entire country. It goes back to 1790, and it's something I learned about and admired since grade school, not only because I wondered how they did it, but also because I have pored over and used oh-so-much Census Bureau data in my work and studies over the years.
And now I thought I'd give something back. They needed Korean speakers and they paid reasonably well (enough to justify putting other work on hold for a couple months), and so I joined the US Census Bureau.
The experience has taught me many things, not least among them is how mucked up government service can be, and how surly regular citizens can be about something that should be seen as their civic, if not patriotic, duty.
My experiences echo one of the themes of this post from DokdoIsOurs — that those who come to Korea for their first real post-college job often have no clue that the workplace problems they encounter (e.g., supervisors who don't know anything but demand respect, impromptu meetings with people who are utterly clueless, wasted time, putting the wrong people into the wrong positions, etc.) are universal and not a sign of how effed-up Korea is.
In short, this is a refresher course in something I had gotten a taste of back in college: how mucked up a company can be (this is something I learned all too clearly back at UCI when I worked for a certain famous company that does a certain famous thing).
I have also learned what a-holes some people in this country can be. Seriously, there are people who are trying to prevent you from doing your job to fulfill a major requirement of our Constitution that also has the added benefit of seeing Federal funds fairly and even divvied out to local governments, and they are shooing you away, yelling at you, or engaging in other matter of confrontation or avoidance just to fu¢k with you or the government. (Some of them are also worried you're at their door as part of a sophisticated scam.)
On the plus side, though, I've worked out what could be a very interesting comedy out of the whole thing: Census Training Day™ or The Enumerator™ (please note the trademark).
And this, kiddies, is why I've missed two Daily Kors in a row and while Daily Kor was about all I was doing this past week (hastily typed out during my lunch break at McDonald's via their WiFi service).
UPDATE (June 2010):
The experience was less than stellar (see here and here).
UPDATE (December 2010):