More Than a Housekeeper

Julie Hamilton, a 58 year old, full-time custodial worker in Olson Hall at Kent State.

“We do trash and clean up lounges, and then after 10 o’clock we get the bathrooms. Then we clean the showers and the toilets and the sinks and mop and clean laundry rooms. So it’s pretty much just clean, clean and clean.

I prefer the summer cleaning, it’s just kind of different. In the summertime, we go 7:00 to 3:30. That’s when we work hard. That’s when you guys leave and we clean all the walls and all the carpets and all the furniture and all the light fixtures. I like to be busy. I’m a hard worker anyway, and I do enjoy to clean. We play our music and everybody’s in one building, so you have the social part. And it’s just, you clean something, it stays clean for a long time. It’s more satisfying then. Like here (she points to the floor of the lounge), you can vacuum this and come back an hour later and it’s a mess. That’s kind of why I like the summer better, it’s just more of an accomplishment, you can leave and it stays clean.

I always took the part-time jobs when my kids were little, so I didn’t miss anything. I kind of enjoyed that. I’m not one that would want a career and put my kids in daycare. That would not have been for me. So, I worked nights and my husband worked during the day. That’s kind of how I was, in my time, born and raised, and that’s what you did. I was working at Sheetz before I came here as a supervisor. But that was a lot of swing shifts, night shifts. People didn’t show up for 16-hour shifts. It was tough raising a family. So, a girl that worked for me, her mother was a supervisor here, so she said to me, ‘You know, Julie, why don’t you try Kent State?’ It was great because I was home every evening with my family. It worked out perfect.

But when I was younger, I always kind of wanted to be like a lawyer or in government because I loved all that. But then, I always wanted to be a wife and have babies, too. So I got that dream, and … there’s nothing better than raising kids.

I’m a Christian and a great mom and wife, and I’m a good daughter too. My mom said that to me one time. She’s like, ‘If I couldn’t have you for a daughter I’d want you for a friend, because you’re a wonderful friend.’ That was one of my best compliments. I just think friendships are important and you’ve got to nurture them. I mean, I have a girlfriend in Michigan, and I’ll just drive up for the weekend to see her if I haven’t seen her a couple months, and I’m always the one to throw the baby shower. You know, if it’s her birthday, I make it special. So, yeah, I’m kind of a people person.

The university offers a lot. Our group has luncheons together or potlucks, and we have a lot of meetings together so you get to see everybody. They encourage us to exercise and diet and just have luncheons for us to learn about how to be healthier. You get to see a lot of people. (She pauses.) It’s a great place to work.

What bothers me is sometimes the kids here aren’t real social. You know what I mean? And I’m kind of friendly, and they just walk by you like — that bothers me. That’s the part that bothers me when they can’t even say hi to you. (She pauses.) Because, I mean, we try to keep things clean for you guys. We don’t have to use the bathrooms or the lounges or — I would say the only kind of downfall, is when you kind of get attitude or ignored. It doesn’t hurt. I mean, you get used to it. It probably makes you mad, but only for a minute or two. I don’t lose sleep over it.

I can tell you about just one experience I had here where the kids kind of were awesome, but first it was horrible. I was in Clark and I had two boys’ public restrooms. And they were great the whole year. I mean, they didn’t pee on the seats! They were great. And they were so friendly and I loved them. And then like a week before school got out, I went in there and they had had a party in there or something, and they had broke beer bottles all over. I mean, in the toilets, in the showers … and they had peed everywhere. And I just walked in and started crying, right. (She laughs.) It’s like, I didn’t know where to start. I had never seen a mess like that. And five of the guys on that floor came and offered to help me and apologized. It was just a great feeling that, you know, they cared about me and felt bad for me. (She tears up.) So, you can get those relationships and know you are appreciated. It just lets you know that there’s a lot of good ones out there. You can’t judge a whole floor by a couple idiots that went wild. (She laughs.) The bonuses here are just great.”



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