A recent survey done by the National Allegiance for People that Clean Other People’s Shit Up (NAPCOPSU) reports that 9 out of every 10 members of The University of Missouri’s residence hall cleaning crew absolutely love their job. Not that this came as a shock to the thousands of student that they serve.
“Every morning I wake up to the sound of people who are truly enjoying what they’re doing.” Freshman Tanya Shelton said, “I know the reason they’re so loud at 7:30 AM is because they can’t contain their excitement for another day of power-washing dried toothpaste off the sinks.”
Tanya couldn’t be any more right. The daily duties that the cleaning crew get to do include picking up lots of toilet paper, touching lots of garbage, cleaning lots of toilets, and picking lots of hair out of the shower drain.
“My personal favorite task is taking used tampons out of the toilet. I know these ladies have only been using tampons for about a third of their lives. It is truly too much to expect them to know the general rules when it comes to feminine product disposal,” cleaning crew member Charles Smith said.
Smith has been cleaning up after residents in Hatch Hall for 5 years now. He originally took it as a second job because he didn’t feel challenged enough at his stock boy job at HyVee. After only 2 weeks of scrubbing toilets he left the grocery life for good and decided to pursue a life long career path in janitorial services.
According to the survey, what attracts most to the job is not only the glitz and glamour, but also the close relationships that are formed between the people that pick stuff up and the people who mess it all up again shortly after. It has been noted in numerous janitorial journals that the synergistic relationship that is formed goes unmatched in any other line of work.
“Even though they rarely acknowledge my presence, I feel like I really know these kids after endless weeks of looking at their garbage and fecal matter.” Smith said.
Smiths cleaning partner, Rosa Gonzalez, feels similarly.
“I think of myself as their guardian angel. Most of them are only 18 years old; most people don’t learn to pick up after themselves until their late to mid thirties. These kids need me.” Gonzalez said.
But what about that 10% of people that aren’t crazy for cleaning? With over 150 cleaning crew members active in the res hall sector, that leaves more than 15 members less than jazzed about their daily duties. Smith offers this suggestion:
“Man, that’s what happens when you’re exposed to too many cleaning products. You start to see things unclearly. This job rocks and nobody in his or her right mind can deny it. Show me a guy who says he doesn’t love this job, and I’ll show you a guy who is secretly sniffing Clorox behind the bushes when he claims to be taking the trash out.”
It is hard to believe that anyone could dislike the custodial lifestyle when you witness the sheer joy in their eyes when they open a stall on a Monday morning to see dried vomit chunks, elegantly dispersed around the toilet seat and the floor.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Gonzalez, “they say if you make your job something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Let me tell you they are right. Everyday is a new adventure; you never know what new kind of mess can be made. I love my job. And I never say mean things in Spanish about the kids I clean up after.”