Housekeeping

By Lamar Waul

Housekeeping: a work unit in a hotel or other such establishment tasked with cleaning rooms, changing linens, and related jobs. Nowadays housekeepers are not getting the respect or pay that they deserve. I was a housekeeper for two years at the Holiday Inn Select. From my own experience I have come to find that most people think that we are just there to clean the room and bathroom, but there is so much we dealt with while doing it. But yet we did it with a smile.

At the Holiday Inn they started me off with $7.50 and $.70 more on Saturday and Sunday. After 90 days they gave everyone who just started a $.75 raise. Which made that $8.20. You would work 5 days out of the week and have two days off: it depending on who made the schedule that week. They would give us 15 rooms or less (depended on if the hotel was active) everyday. We had to be at work at 7:45 a.m. at the earliest to stock our carts and be on the floor at 8:00-8:20 a.m. I would go up at 8:45 in rebellion.

There were stay overs (S/O) and check outs (C/O). I would try and do the stay overs first, so that I could spend more time in a check out. Sometimes the rooms could be clean and other times they could be a wreck. When I used to tell people what I did and told them how much I made they would say “That is some good,” with them not knowing what I had to do. I had a system in how I cleaned the rooms; I would do the bathroom, make the bed, pull the trash, then dust and vacuum. If you didn’t have a vacuum, you would have to ask to use someone’s or sweep the floor out.

What people don’t see is how we clean just if it looks clean. I admit that I didn’t do the best job all the time, some days I would go the whole day without washing out any tubs — I would just wipe them. Doing all that work 5 days a week and pushing a heavy cart can put a strain on anyone. When people would walk by we would have to say hi; even if they walked past us 20 times, we would have to say hi every time.

There so many rules to housekeeping; they don’t get paid enough to do all they do. This summer I knew a housekeeper that had a room that was trashed like nothing I’ve ever seen before. They paid her in cash to clean the room, she could have said no and they would have had to find someone else. There are so many issues faced while doing the job. The chemicals that are use can choke you up sometimes. The next time you stay at a hotel tip your housekeeper, it makes a big difference.

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One Response to “Housekeeping”

  1. b Says:

    I love this. I love how honest you are about the times you slacked off, because really, we all do it. I’m also always intrigued by other people’s experiences working service jobs, having worked a number of them myself (but never housekeeping). I worked at the front desk at a hostel/residence home for about a year, and one night when I was working, a woman who lived in the building died after a coworker and I found her passed out in the shower. I had to quit a month after that. People just had no idea the crap we put up with, and after that particularly difficult incident, I continued to feel responsible and working there was just never quite the same. The most normal jobs – cleaning, cooking, serving other people – can be so strange.

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