Night Janitor Works Two Jobs as Degenerative Disease Takes its Toll

December 15, 2016

Culture, News

By Molly Arseneau

Kim Sears works in accounting by day, and cleans up ASK hallways by night. Photo courtesy of Kim Sears

Kim Sears works in accounting by day, and cleans up ASK hallways by night.         — Photo courtesy of Kim Sears

Oftentimes, when scholars toss an empty chip bag on the floor, they don’t second guess it. They continue their day without ever considering that someone has to clean up after them. The Catalyst interviewed one of the night janitors, Kim Sears, who divulged the reason she works 15 hour days, and which classroom on  campus is the messiest.

How long have you been cleaning The ASK Academy?    

I’ve only been cleaning this school since Septe

mber 2016.

Is this your full-time job?

I work a full-time day job in accounting. I have been working in accounting for approximately 25 years.

Why do you work two jobs?

I’m working (at ASK) because I found out that I have a nerve disease. I have about 5 years or so left at working any jobs. The disease will eventually take its toll and I will not have much use of my hands and feet. The pain is getting worse, so while I can, I am working as much as possible to pay everything off and become debt free. Once that is done, I will move to Colorado.

Why Colorado?

I have a 28-years-old son and a 23-year-old daughter, who both have children, so I am a grandmother, also. They all live in Colorado. Once I can no longer work, I will move up to Colorado so they can help me get around.

Do you ever get overwhelmed with your work schedule?

I get overwhelmed all the time because of my disease. I’m not sure how long I can clean the school. I’m hoping I can last for another 2 years or so.

What is your work day like?

I start work at 6:30 a.m. – take a 30 minute required lunch – get off work at 3 p.m.–unless I need to work overtime. From the first job, I drive over to the school and wait in the parking lot (I get here about 4 p.m.) until approximately 4:15, and begin cleaning the school.

How many hours do you spend working between your two jobs?

I get home between 8:45-9:15pm from the night cleaning job. I go home and get things ready for the next day and go straight to sleep. I get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, so I can get ready and make it to my day job by 6:30 a.m.

Despite the long hours, do you enjoy the work?

I love working in the accounting field. The cleaning job is a little tough.

 

Is it difficult balancing such a busy day?

The accounting job is great. It’s usually who you work with that is an issue (with most jobs). I don’t gossip and deal with un-needed drama – if you’re getting paid to do a job, leave the games and drama at the door (no exceptions!!!). As for the cleaning job, due to my nerve disease, I have already lost 50% of  my nerves in both hands and feet. It is irreversible. So my hands and feet hurt extremely bad when cleaning the school. But the upside to cleaning is that I can listen to my music and not be bothered.

How long does it take you to clean the entire school each night?

It takes approximately four hours a night with two people – one cleans downstairs and I clean upstairs – but everything cannot be done each night. Some things need to be done once or twice a week – every night is sweeping, garbage, mopping the common area, and the bathrooms.

What is the most frustrating thing about janitorial work at a high school?

A lot of the students throw their trash on the floor (instead of the many garbage bins throughout the school). They also throw away half full or full drinks in the trash and those plastic trash bags are not waterproof , so they leak all over the place.

Which classroom is the messiest each day on campus?

The classroom that the scholar council meets in – they ALWAYS spill their drinks on the ground (coffee and soda) and don’t clean it up. Plus they throw their food and trash on the ground. This is almost a daily issue in that classroom.

Do you have any free time? If so, what do you enjoy doing?

My free time is on the weekends. I like to watch movies, have barbecues, go to lunch or dinner with friends, and drive up to Colorado to see my kids and grandkids a few times a year.

What can ASK scholars do to make your job easier each night?

I think that just being responsible for your own mess. If you drop food or a drink on the ground, clean it up. Throw your trash away. Have basic respect for your space and your school.

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