What You See Is Not Always What You Get
When you hear the word janitor, obviously nothing glamorous comes to mind. All we think about is scrubbing toilets or mopping floors, basically cleaning up after other people who most of the times show no appreciation. When asked what comes to mind when you hear the word janitor, Amy Duren said, "someone who is poor and not well educated" (Duren). Not very many people believe that a person who works as a janitor could actually like their job. Cousin Sherry is a perfect example of someone who does. Sherry Mcfarland is 46 years old and has been a janitor at Cheyenne, Wyoming public schools for six years. She is a five foot seven inches tall, Caucasian woman who has a smile on her face at all times. Cousin Sherry has small brown eyes, a small, skinny figure and has lots of long, red hair. She also has been married for 25 years and, when she is not working, she loves spending time with her friends and family at home. Every time you see Sherry in the hall, you can't get away without her making you laugh with one of her jokes. When I asked Cousin Sherry if I could interview her about her job, her smile got even bigger. Although I would never want the job of a janitor, Cousin Sherry couldn't be any happier with it. As she drank her mountain dew, she began to tell me about the passion she has for the work she does.
The smile on Cousin Sherry's face never seemed to go away as she began to explain her typical day to me. As Cousin Sherry started describing her job to me, I realized how much she really did love her job. When asked to describe a typical day this is what Cousin Sherry said, "We arrive at work at 7:45 a.m., but we don't clock in until 8:00 a.m. The reason why we get there early is so we can socialize. I have to say hello to everyone! That starts my morning off perfectly" (McFarland). After leaving the room where she clocks in, Cousin Sherry makes her way to her building, Shaw Heights. Next, Cousin Sherry begins her tasks that she repeats throughout the day. The first thing she does in the morning is survey the bathrooms. She has to make sure there is toilet paper in each bathroom, make sure there is plenty of soap, and then clean the sinks. Her next task consists of making sure the halls of Miller are "squeaky" clean. Her third job of the day is to empty the trash cans. Throughout each day cousin Sherry repeats these steps several times happy as can be.
After cousin Sherry described her typical day to me, I began to question her about the pros and cons of being a janitor. When I asked cousin Sherry about the pros of her job she was quick to answer with her main reason being the fact that she loves the students. Cousin Sherry could not stop talking about how much she enjoys seeing the new faces of all the kids. She said, "If it weren't for the kids attending school, I would not enjoy or have my job at WPS" (McFarland). Another thing cousin Sherry likes about her job is the breaks she gets to take. Throughout her day she gets three 30 minute breaks. These give her a chance to visit with her friends, talk to some of the students and get some fresh air. I then asked Cousin Sherry to tell me the cons of her job. It surprised me that she was at a loss of words. She then told me that there were no cons. I was shocked when I heard her say that. I expected to hear something along the lines of cleaning the toilets or picking up after dirty college students. WhenI told this to Cousin Sherry she laughed while saying, "Those things are my job. I knew what I was getting myself into when I applied to work at WPS as a janitor and I love it. I'm here because I want to be here" (McFarland). Cousin Sherry went on to say that she has had plenty of other opportunities to work elsewhere but would rather stay at WPS and continue working as a janitor.
When Jose Vazquez was asked the question what comes to mind when you hear the word janitor, he said, "Unrewarded work, a person who can't find other work or a person who doesn't like their job" (Vasquez). Cousin Sherry is a janitor who proves this statement completely wrong. Cousin Sherry is rewarded every day by the students who tell her hello in the hall or by the ones who stop and laugh at her jokes. Cousin Sherry also mentioned that there have been other opportunities for other jobs but that she's turned them down. She also must have told me one million times that she really does enjoy her work. Although being a janitor is still not very glamorous or a job that I would never want, cousin Sherry still loves what she does and is appreciated every day.
- McFarland, Sherry. Personal interview. 2/20/10
- Jose Vazquez. Personal interview. 2/19/10
- Amy Duren. Personal interview. 2/18/10.