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A Note to my 600,000 New Colleagues

Tue May 04 2010
Robert Groves
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I’ve discovered that many of our new enumerators, working on the Nonresponse Followup activities of the 2010 Census, are Facebook fans or have looked at my blog, so this is a message to them:

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Welcome to the 2010 Census!

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You are the heart of the operations for the second half of the census.
To everyone you meet as an enumerator, you are also the face of the US Federal government. It’s a big responsibility; you must treat everyone with respect, even though not everyone will treat you with similar respect.

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Our “customers” are those who have not yet been counted. You’ll probably meet some people with very little understanding of the census, and some with very deep understanding. Each person will have their own perspective on what we’re asking of them. Listening to what they have to say is an important step for you to effectively communicate our message to them.

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You’re probably working in neighborhoods around your own home, but may have assignments in parts that aren’t as familiar to you. One of the interesting things in the job is meeting people you ordinarily would not know. It’s an adventure; remember to enjoy that part of the job.

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We are relying on you – to make sure we count everyone once and only once and in the right place. We are asking about the April 1, 2010, composition of the houses you visit. You’ll probably find some complicated situations that aren’t easy applications of the training guidelines. Ask for help when you need it, to make sure we get things right.

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Be careful out there. Many of you will be putting some miles on your car; be careful driving; watch out for the other guy. It is very important to me that you’re safe in the job. When a situation feels uncomfortable to you, retreat and seek guidance from your crew leader.

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I also ask for your flexibility. Nothing as large as the decennial census can be trouble-free. Despite the years of development, things will go wrong. Please be patient; follow the guidance of your crew leader. If procedures change to fit unexpected situations, just follow the new procedures as best you can.

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What you are doing is real public service. A census is a good thing for the society. You are part of history in the making, at the core of something that has been done only 22 other times since the founding of the republic. You should feel proud; your family should be proud of your contribution to the common good.

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Thank you.

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