I started working census jobs during the 1960 decennial census, and have done so every ten years since. Back then, I had just moved from Rochester, N.Y., to San Francisco and was looking for a part-time job.
I got assigned to go door-to-door in Nob Hill, and walking up and down those hills was quite a challenge. But it was quite the experience, and I enjoyed talking to all the different people.
Then I started working at the mayor's office and writing grant proposals for public programs. We get more or less money depending on San Francisco's census count every ten years, and I wanted to make sure I did my part to improve it.
My favorite position was a field operator supervisor, which I did several times, because it has such a direct impact--you're in charge of all the enumerators in the field and have to make sure everyone gets counted.
This year, I'm a partnership assistant, which is part of the outreach team for the census. I get local churches and other community-based organizations engaged and involved with the 2010 census.
Over the years, working with the census has really been an education. I've learned a lot about all the different ethnic groups and cultures within the Bay Area--there are 15 different languages spoken in Oakland. One year, I attended a Cambodian New Year's celebration--I didn't even know there was such a thing.