Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Personal Epiphany: The Waste. Its Real.

As of yesterday, I've been shocked by a mighty epiphany.

As I await my summer internship with the Cato Institute, I've been maintaining expenses with two different types of work:

One is at a Macy Retail Store.

The other is as an enumerator for the United States Census Bureau.


At Macy's, I must be on time. I start to get paid from the moment I punch into a computer, which records my time on the company clock down to the very second when I punch out, and I get paid me accordingly to their wage rate with precision.

At Macy's I must spend 8 hours a day on my feet, continuously moving, continuously provided exceptional service to consumers whose patronage is purely voluntary.

At Macy's, there is oversight. More than merely relying on my work ethic, pressure not to shirk is present in the form of various management staff to increase the probability that during the whole of 8-hour period, I am actually being productive.

I go home on sore feet on these nights, and for all this I get paid...$8.75 per hour.

Then there is the Census Bureau...


At the Census Bureau, they want me to estimate for myself when I began on the clock, starting from the moment I get in my vehicle, and ending on the very moment I am back home. They are assuming that my estimate is going to be perfectly honest, though they naturally do not expect it to be precise.

Most of my "work" has been training. At the training, the first two hours is spent merely waiting for our crew leader to do the paperwork of our timesheets. Rather than moving about, we sit on our rears as he goes through the necessary protocol of reading the training manual to us. We also spend time getting our fingerprints done. This goes on for three days for 8 hours. On the day we finished early, we are encouraged to log in the missing time anyway.

Two days are actually spent "working", after the obligatory time waste waiting for timesheets to be processed, we drive to an area to look for homeless people without actually stepping out of our vehicles. Since this enumeration happens at night, we get paid extra apparently.

I go home with nothing sore other than my rear end. For this I get paid....$18 per hour. Plus 50 cents for each mile I drive.


Where I produce, I get $8.75.

Where I produce nothing, I get $18.


I am an example of government waste.

~David Morris~

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