UIS students are offered a variety of on-campus jobs each semester. Contrary to what students may think, the dirtiest on-campus jobs turn out to be not so dirty after all.
Two “dirty” jobs available to UIS students are food service and cleaning crew. These jobs require student workers to clean up after or work for other students, which may be unpleasing. Many students tend to shy away from these jobs.
Two workers from the cleaning crew stated that their jobs have dirty moments but are relatively clean overall. Two students that work in food service also believe that besides cleaning their areas, their jobs are also fairly clean.
Justin Maxson, a senior accounting major, works for the UIS cleaning crew. As a worker for the cleaning crew, Maxson is required to clean up apartments and townhouses when people move out during the summer. He also cleans the housing commons and laundry rooms during the school year.
One example of a dirty experience Maxson had while working happened his first week on the job. Maxson said, “We went into an apartment and there was dried puke in the sink and I got to clean that up.”
Other dirty parts of Maxson’s job include the “really interesting” items that people leave behind when they move out and the houses in which a bad smell hits you right when you walk in. Maxson added, “I don’t mind getting a little dirty, especially if I’m getting paid for it.”
Another student that works for UIS’ cleaning crew is senior Ryan McConville, a political science major. McConville has worked for the cleaning crew for four years and now is Crew Chief. McConville had a slightly different view of how dirty his job was, stating that “I wouldn’t call it a dirty job. It’s just a job that needs to get done.”
McConville got down and dirty in a kitchen fire that occurred this past summer. McConville explained that the cleaning crew couldn’t clean it right away because fire officials had to ensure that they could enter the area safely. A month passed before the crew was allowed to begin work. By this point there was rotting food and the soot from the fire made the job of the cleaning crew difficult and gross.
McConville also explained that even seemingly clean apartments may have rotting food in them or possibly even an uncleaned fruit and vegetable crisper drawers that were left from the spring semester to the summer. He added that after sometime left in an apartment the “celery has turned into a science project.”
Although some may assume that students do not actually want this “dirty” job, McConville expressed that every summer the cleaning crew does not have trouble filling the positions. Also, there are always more people wanting the jobs than actual open spots available.
Pani Kakani, an international student senior is currently working towards his master’s in management information systems. Kakani works in the food emporium at the registers as a cashier.
Kakani believes that his job is not a dirty job. He explained that he only is required to swipe cards and occasionally clean the area around the check out.
Hristina Minchev also works in food services and has a similar outlook to Kakani. Minchev works in the deli area. She feels the dirtiest part of her job is leaving smelling like sandwiches. She is required to clean up her area as well but she does not consider this “dirty.”
Working as a student can be challenging without the added unpleasing aspects of the jobs, but these four students have worked out a system in which they balance their time efficiently. All four students also had positives and negatives for their jobs.
One positive of working for the cleaning crew, according to Maxson, is being able to “walk 10 feet to get to work.” As a negative, Maxson stated that “basically I work as a janitor” and that it is not a clean job but not horrible. Similar to what Maxson had stated, a positive for McConville is that he does not have to worry about traveling to a job.
Working as a student is sometimes difficult for students but Maxson added that it is nice that his job has flexibility if he needs to leave in order to study for classes. Both McConville and Minchev described that the flexibility of these two on-campus jobs is a positive.
McConville said that working as a student can be “challenging at times to stay up with class and work requirements but I wouldn’t say it is difficult.” However, he added that it is a great opportunity to gain work experience and gain extra income while being a college student.
McConville added that with cleaning dirty spaces there is “only so much glamour you can put with.”
As the Crew Chief, McConville oversees the student workers and their schedules. “The role I have in looking over the staff and creating the schedules can be applied elsewhere” as well as the teamwork that is part of the job. These aspects of McConville’s job allow him to apply his work techniques to his everyday life and into his future.