Posted in POLITICS

2010 Census–Pt. 1

I worked for the U.S. Census for the 2010 census.

The Constitution mandates the taking of the census every 10 years for the purpose of allocating the correct number of representatives in the House for each state in the union. The census has been taken every 10 years since 1790.

Other uses for the census are the allocation of various federal monies, and the demographic information gained and published which businesses and researchers use.

This was probably not the first time that such an uproar was made by the populace, but this was certainly a notable one. I was living in California for the 2000 census, and remember people talking negatively about the long form that was used then. I was in a part of the country where most of the people simply discarded their forms, and then dared a government worker to come onto their property.

Because I was an employee of the Census Bureau for 2010, I was more aware of some things that were going on both within the Census and among the population.

There were a lot of stories circulating about various things–some true, some not so true, and some outright lies. I observed a strange (to me) side of humanity. I saw some things that made me wonder if there is any hope for our country to survive the downward spiral we find ourselves in. And I worked with some men and women that I am now proud to know.

I’m not sure that President Obama orchestrated the 2010 census, but I am fairly confident that the trickle-down effect of his policies had something to do with much of the inanity and insanity that I was a part of.

Finally, by reason of conscience, I was forced to resign my position.

What follows in a few days is a few articles highlighting some of the things that occurred during my stay with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Posted in POLITICS

Socialism in the Workplace

I’ve had occasion to observe an alarming trend in our food establishments. I don’t know what to do about this, but would like to consider options as to how this might be changed.

I’m referring to the incipient socialism taking over in the restaurants in our area–maybe your area, too.

I was at a Subway for breakfast about 7:15am. There was only one server setting up for the morning. They open at 7. Ahead of me was a lady who had ordered six foot-long sandwiches. The server began my order while that one was working. She was very efficient with her time and her movements behind the counter, plus she was very pleasant.

The lady tried to give a tip for the excellent service, but the girl refused at first. Finally relenting to the older woman, she took it and said, “I will tell the manager about it when she comes in.”

Later, I had opportunity to ask her about the tip.

“We’re not allowed to take tips,” she said.

As I pressed her for more information, she said, “They take all the tips and set them aside for two weeks until the next pay-day. Then they divvy the money up according to who works the most during that time period.”

(slap me six sides of silly!)

But, then I remembered asking about how they handle the tips at one of our favorite restaurants in town.

They put the tips into a common jar, and it is divided equally at the end of the shift.

“We had to start doing this because we found that some servers wouldn’t serve any table but their own, so this eliminated the competition,” I was told by the assistant manager. “They wouldn’t even refill a coffee cup as they passed by if it wasn’t their table.”

Except for the lousy work ethic being tolerated, that actually sounded plausible to me–until this latest episode at the sandwich shop. Then I began thinking about how many places I’ve been where there is a common tip jar. Some of those places, to be sure, there is no one in particular to tip for extra service–Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panera, etc. And, I realize that the Subway shop probably falls under the same category of eatery.

But, this was special–different–and only one person was on duty doing an excellent job of keeping customers happy. She earned the recognition.

Here’s my problem: servers on the afternoon-evening shift the rest of the week and weekend will benefit from her excellent service whether they deserve it or not.

Yes, the same thing can be said of the morning shift deriving benefit from another–but that is my point. Why should one person (or shift) carry another? There is no guarantee of quality service from one person/shift to another. In fact, my experience at the local DD is that the morning shift deserves all the tips, while the afternoon/evening shift should pay me for what I have to put up with. (so, I seldom stop there after noon.)

This system of sharing equally may also help to explain why there is such dour service at so many places.

What is the motivation to excel if everyone gets rewarded the same?

I understand the superiority of internal motivation over external motivation, but that is not the kind of planet I live on.

What can be done to shift this slide toward socialism in the workplace? Employers are constantly complaining about the lack of quality workers. Apparently we are not able to see a connection between effort and reward.

I don’t have an answer at this time, but if you do, please share it.