Stepping out of my comfort zone

Tools of the trade for 2020 Census enumerator

For years I’ve heard that a person doesn’t really experience life until they step out of their comfort zone. Well, I’m about to take a giant step (for me) out of the box.

I’m hitting the streets later this week as an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau.

For the next eight weeks, myself and a host of other enumerators in the OKC area will attempt to collect information from residents all across the metro who haven’t responded to the 2020 Census count. Enumerator is the word that describes a person who is employed to take a census of the population.

As a retired newspaper guy, I’m pretty busy in my own little freelance writing business. But there are periods of slack time, naturally.

So, when I saw a notice back in February advertising for Census 2020 enumerators, I signed up — and was accepted.

Then the pandemic hit and the local Census Bureau office shut down. I heard nothing for months until one day in May I got a call asking if I was still interested in the job. I said “yes,” so I went in to be fingerprinted and submit to a background check.

About a month later, I got another call asking if I was still interested. Yes, I responded. So, I was assigned to a team for training purposes, which met for in-person orientation in early July.

We took the oath of office, which made us official federal employees.

After about 11 hours of online training that dealt with everything from the history of the Census to various scenarios we might encounter in the field, I passed a final exam on Sunday.

We’re hitting the streets on Thursday of this week, I am told. I’m adding a big-brimmed straw hat to my wardrobe for the hot summer days and taking a cooler of bottled water on the road with me.

So, if you see me walking up to your front door carrying a U.S. Census brief case and a clipboard, be gentle. Just know that the answers you give will help our local community access its share of federal funding and Congressional representation.

And remember, I’ve definitely stepped out of my comfort zone.

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jimstafford

I'm an Oklahoma City-based freelance writer with interests in Oklahoma startup community, Apple Inc, OKC Thunder & Texas Rangers.

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