"Yes, ice machine" -- Hotel Employee on phone to Petra
Question #89731 posted on 05/23/2017 9:50 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I need a summer job. I got married a couple weeks ago and just returned home from my honeymoon. Unfortunately, most jobs hiring for the summer seem to have already hired everyone they need. There are some BYU custodial jobs open that have decent hours and alright pay. The only thing holding me back from applying is that...I feel a little embarrassed about working as a custodian. I know this is somewhat irrational, and totally prideful to think that I'm better than that. But I still do...Writers, do you think working as a custodian for the summer is something to be ashamed of?



Dear you,

I worked as a custodian in the Benson for three semesters, and I'm not ashamed. It wasn't a glamorous job, but it paid the bills and they were always nice if I needed my schedule to be a bit flexible. I liked my boss and my coworkers, and I never had to do anything too disgusting.

Personally I wouldn't make custodial my first choice or my only option, because it would be better to find something that will give you better experience for your resume. But no, you shouldn't be ashamed of working hard to support your family, no matter what the job is.




Dear you,

I'll add a second witness to Luciana's advice. I worked as a custodian in the Wilkinson Center last fall, doing the weekend night shift. I felt a little embarrassed to tell people what I did for work, but that's just society being dumb. There's no reason to be embarrassed. Every public building needs to be cleaned and custodians work hard to do a necessary job. Plus, if your custodial crew has the right people, you can have a lot of fun. And I honestly was able to find a lot of satisfaction in doing my job well, even though it was a lot more "menial" than most of my other jobs have been.

This quote from David E. Sorenson is definitely true:

To my father, milking cows—as unsophisticated as it may seem—was not an imposition; it was an opportunity. Milking was not a job for him; it was a service. This philosophy is something that helped me as I grew up. It helped me to find out that all honest work is honorable. Within a few years I realized that routinely performing these chores actually began to give me a sense of confidence and empowerment. I took pride in my work. I found out that no one could make me feel inferior about the kind of work that I did.

So, take the custodial job. There's nothing to be embarrassed about.



Dear JTB,

I haven't ever worked campus custodial, but one of my good friends and my brother have both worked as janitors in the HFAC, and they both actually liked it a lot. I don't know if this is true across all buildings, but working custodial in the HFAC seems to include a fair amount of down time where you're not necessarily cleaning anything but are on call just in case there's an emergency. Plus, you get to learn about all of the secret rooms, like the "Dirt Room" my brother told me about in the HFAC (which is actually kind of creepy). 

I'm blessed to have a job that's not at all physically strenuous and is usually pretty intellectually stimulating, but before I was hired I was very close to working a custodial job. The real honor isn't in what you do, it's in supporting yourself financially and working toward becoming self-sufficient. Like Luciana suggests, I would still keep an eye out for another job that's more aligned with your skill set and/or career goals, but I see no shame in working as a janitor.

-Frère Rubik


Dear you,

The other writers above are correct that there's nothing wrong with a hardworking job that'll provide honest pay. I'll also go a bit more in depth on the point Luciana and Frère made above about field-relevant work, so to the extent that that advice is uninteresting or unhelpful to you, feel free to ignore the rest of my answer.

My biggest reason to avoid a job like this would be that summers are a really valuable time to build work experience that's relevant to your eventual career. It's totally possible that you're a sophomore and haven't even declared yet, in which case this is less of a major concern, but the earlier you can start finding relevant jobs, the more chances you have to explore your field and build a resume in it. Example: Man, Certainly got his first summer internship after his sophomore year in engineering (so this was the summer after his mission.) That was with a pretty small company that he was fortunate to have a personal connection with. He enjoyed working there and was able to put his first 'engineering' internship on his resume, which enabled him to be more competitive down the road when he was up against others for bigger companies and more competitive internship positions/hiring placements as a junior and senior. 

You've mentioned that a lot of people are done hiring for the summer and that may be the case, especially for full-time, paid internship type positions, but there may still be good opportunities in your field (whether with a company or even doing relevant research for a professor on campus, for credit or for pay). I think custodial will probably only be part time anyways, so if you take that job, don't feel like you can't keep looking for something to fill in some daytime hours too. Even a part-time job in your field, or an unpaid internship (even part time) or a research position with a professor in your area will help build your resume. To the extent that you COULD do custodial full time, it may be worth a look at finances between you and spouse to see whether you can still find a way to make it through the summer and upcoming school year if you did something field-relevant part time (whether paid or not).

Good luck, and congratulations on your marriage!

~Anne, Certainly


Dear friend,

What Luciana says above is true: working to support your family is nothing to be ashamed of, regardless of the job. You're a strong person for putting your husband ahead of your interests. Also, from what my friend said, the early custodial job pays pretty nicely compared to some on-campus jobs. Custodial work isn't really any more or less glamorous than a lot of on-campus jobs, but it's nothing to feel ashamed of.

My dad never graduated college and was one of only two children out of the seven not to (the other being mentally incapacitated and spending most of his life in a psychiatric hospital). Many of my uncles and aunts are doctors or professors, but my dad runs a very small business out of a warehouse. It's hard work and it's not glamorous, and he's never really been passionate about what he does. Work for him is just what he does to support his family, not a passion. Sometimes he says he feels ashamed of his job, but he works harder than anyone I know to support our family. He pushes twelve hour workdays through the holidays and sometimes goes without sleeping just to make ends meet. Maybe his job isn't something he can brag about at dinner parties, but it keeps food on the table, pays for my family's home, and even helped me get through my first year of college. Nobody I know is stronger than my dad, and I look up to him so much not just for what he does but for all he's sacrificed to support our family.

Sometimes jobs aren't about following your passion, sometimes they can just be a job you take because you need the money, and that's okay. Everyone's had a job that they got to pay the bills that they probably wouldn't choose otherwise (especially summer jobs). They're not pleasant, but they make ends meet. You're going to college, and your time as a custodian is limited. Someday you'll have a better job, one you can feel happy about, but nothing's wrong with taking up custodial work as a student to supplement your income.

Maybe for the time being, just listen to music through your shift and enjoy the job as much as you can, but keep applying to other jobs. Check the Student Job board, and maybe Indeed or KSL for any job openings that are related to your interests/field. Then, when you snag a more relevant job, it shouldn't be too hard to put in your two weeks' notice. The other writers give excellent advice and support, so just know that we're rooting for you and that you have every reason to be proud of yourself for working hard.

-Van Goff

posted on 05/24/2017 12:18 a.m.
I actually get where he is getting at. I've worked a lot of blue collar jobs, but for me there is something strangely soul-crushing about cleaning up after other people, especially urine. Necessary, but soul-crushing.

Anyway, for a quick summer non-internship job, grounds crew is the answer. You usually do stuff in groups so it's more fun. Mowing lawns, planting flowers, trimming, and weeding is still tedious, but you're not wiping down toilets.

This question provides the correct contact information. There is a ton of turnover. I haven't heard of anyone looking for a job through this office that didn't get one.


-Clip Clip
posted on 05/24/2017 1:28 p.m.
Adding on to the resume theme, I had a companion who was interested in the medical field, but didn't have the certifications nor funds to actually work in it (yet). Solution? He was a janitor at the hospital, and during breaks he got to talk with nurses and doctors and got the inside scoop (as well as finding out if he actually liked the hospital atmosphere) while also making lots of valuable connections, not to mention friends. Even if not particularly glamorous to put on your resume, anything within your field done right could have some useful benefits.