I'm not sure what to do in this economy to get hired at a permanent full time position, so I keep trying everything and anything that comes my way. I took the initial Census 2010 test in Abingdon, Virginia hoping to get at least some part time employment. I scored a perfect score, but they didn't call me for work. I had a free place to stay in Abingdon, but no job so I came back to California where at least I had a part time job. I took the Census test for a second time. I scored perfect. They didn't call me for work, so out of desperation I called the Bakersfield office and asked if I could take the supervisor test.

The test was scheduled to begin at 1pm. The Census workers suggested I be there at least 15 minutes early. I had some trouble finding the location because after I reached the proper address there was no signage in the lobby regarding what room the test was given in. I followed another woman to the information desk. We scooted into the room 10 minutes before 1pm. But the room as by no means ready. We were running out of chairs. I noticed on the wipe board the test giver had misspelled the word "pencil." I wondered why she had a job and I didn't.

I settled into a chair. Across from me was a woman who had been in medical school. When her father died she was forced to drop out. After being in school one year (and not working) it took her one more year to find employment. That job lasted 8 months. Then they didn't have enough work for her and let her go. She was on month 6 of looking again. Obviously not eligible for unemployment. People like her and I do not show up on any statistics. She said she had struggled with the original test.

As people kept coming into the room we did not begin the test. We ran out of chairs and had test takers sitting on both sides of the tables. About 50 people were crammed into a room designed to hold 30. Finally at 1:34 we were ready to begin. There are 29 questions and you have an hour to answer them. You need to get at least 17 to be considered. As I read them I began to wonder if I could even do the job. You get allotted a number of census papers to finish in a time period. Hiring the workers, checking the work, submitting the payroll, submitting the census forms - it's all on you. Not like this is an ongoing organization with supervisors to ask - you ARE the supervisor.

I finished the test when she said time was up. I didn't do as well as I had hoped. Only 19 correct. Technically that was enough right to be considered. But if they never hired me on my perfect score as a regular worker it was hard to imagine they would want me as a supervisor. I walked out of the building behind three men who also had taken the test. One was telling the others how at his workplace he often trained his supervisors. How it was common for those same supervisors to turn on him. It sounded bad. Like adversarial. Is it any wonder the economy is bad? I think not. Take out your "pencills" and figure it out!