Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Yesterday, we had an event for our tutors, and wound up with leftovers. As we were discussing departments to bring extra pizzas to, Facilities was suggested. A couple of my colleagues got disgusted looks on their faces and denied the suggestion without room for debate because “the first floor bathroom is disgusting, Facilities are terrible.” When reminded of the fact that Facilities probably included more than just the janitorial staff, they remained adamant.

As I’ve thought about this conversation over the last almost 24-hours, I’ve become really upset about this. Something I’ve always been taught is that you treat the people that clean your bathrooms and throw away your trash VERY well. At Brandeis, we always gave our main janitor a gift at the holidays, saved him pieces of office birthday cakes, etc. It made him happy and he treated us well–offering extra space heaters when he found them, telling us about good furniture that was being replaced, etc. Mutually beneficial.

it’s difficult for us to know the people responsible for cleaning the bathrooms here, but I feel my colleagues need to be reminded that the janitorial staff has other responsibilities than the one women’s room that is on the main floor of the entire school, right next to the two major student areas for the  whole school. I just feel that my colleagues are being too harsh. The bathroom isn’t great because there’s ALWAYS someone using it–frequently used bathrooms get messy, it’s the nature of the beast. It’s virtually impossible to keep a public bathroom sanitary and neat, but don’t blame the staff for this unless they aren’t actually doing their job, and they are.


Filed under Higher Education

4 responses to “Don’t Shoot the Messenger

  1. Hi Jess,

    I witnessed similar acts or reactions and I think it also speaks to a certain degree of hierarchy of departments, functions, power within a college (or most organizations). I think to some degree there is also an underlying class message there too (they’re just “the work”)–though I speak from my experience when I have encountered such things.

  2. Anna

    I completely agree with you Jessi! Our facilities person, Stan, is fantastic and always looking out for us but we make sure to include him in all staff holiday and celebrations parties. I personally always go out of my way to say hi to him and he always make sure Admissions has working lights and a clean front window. I am disappointed to hear about your staff that feel like they don’t deserve consideration…even if it is just pizza.

  3. Anne Marie

    Jessi – that is so sad to hear! But I hate to say it, even back at B. the academy cannot stand the facilities dept, but the admin. side loves ’em. Real weird.

  4. Beth

    Great post and thank you! I agree, unless service workers of any kind are deliberately mistreating you or slacking off, you always treat them very well because they’re doing a job that you and many others don’t want to!