Call it pride, but I don’t think I should still be working as a custodian at the university where I got my degree.
I am walking from the administrative building to the science hall in the midday heat. Humid midwestern summer day, heat index near 100 degrees, so I’m walking from building to building, stepping into the outdoor oven only long enough to get to the entrance of the next building where, thankfully, the central air is running on high.
My golf cart stopped working on Tuesday – it just didn’t turn on when I got to work; it happens two or three times a year – so I am hoofing it. I asked for an replacement golf cart and no one has gotten back to me. I don’t mind as much as IU should; I need the exercise and not having a cart in this weather gives me a great opportunity to walk to my daily goal of 11,000 steps, five days a week.
Greg needs to switch out his empty sprayer for the full one at the warehouse. We are still disinfecting the weight room once a day and that requires that Greg and I make this handoff once a day, usually around 12:30 in the afternoon. That’s why I am walking from the admin building to the science hall to the warehouse – then to newest academic building which is next tot he new activity center where the weight room and Greg are.
The janitorial subcontractor, the other one, the second one we hired during the pandemic, to clean and disinfect the dorms – needs another case of carpet shampoo. Four bottles to a case and they have gone through three cases this week already. I don’t think out housekeepers – fulltime employees at the university – used nearly as many cases during the summer when they were cleaning the dorms. So where is it going?
All of these tasks, the necessary errands, are serving to remind me, constantly that I am still working at the university, in the physical plant department. Physical plant: grounds keeping, maintenance, housekeeping/custodial, and set-up crew (setting up tables, chairs, etc., for meetings, parties, etc., and taking it down). On paper I am the warehouse assistant (the warehouse that serves Physical plant only), but in reality, I have also been a housekeeper/custodian the entire time.
And that is a problem. I received my bachelors degree in English from this university in May 2019. It is 2021 and I am still on this campus, still pulling trash, still cleaning the president’s office, still delivering supplies. Call it pride, but I don’t think I should still be working as a custodian at the university where I got my degree.
The reasons I am still here are simple: I set my sights too high when looking for a new job, and held out for what I wanted – a writing job or a work-from-home job – when I maybe should have taken what I could get, as long as the pay was close to what I was already making.
The other reason is even simpler, if you believe in God, the Judeo-Christian God. I didn’t step out in faith into the job market, when I was looking for a job in 2019.
I didn’t look for a job at all in 2020, once the pandemic hit and the lockdowns started. I had a full time job with full time pay for the duration of the pandemic, and I was just grateful for it. I felt blessed and I wasn’t looking for anything at all in 2020.
There are many places where I have not stepped out in faith, just believing that God would provide for me, and give me what I need. Getting a new job. Moving to a new apartment. Starting a YouTube channel. I didn’t have faith in God. And I don’t have faith in myself.
This is my third blog. The reason I waited so long between the second and this was because I felt the other ones failed. No views, no likes. No inspiration. Starting a new one was an act of faith. In myself, mostly, in my ability to create content and stick it out longer.
But, I didn’t think I needed God to keep a blog running. When it comes to relying on God, I only do it one place I can think of. Providing my daily bread, my daily needs. I trust God in this completely. I know and believe He simply will take care of it, of me, every day. I can’t think of any other place where I have placed my trust in Him, even partially.
And I can see no other greater proof of this than when I am on this campus, walking or driving from building to building, schlepping custodial supplies, spraying moldy walls, or unclogging a paper towel dispenser.
I didn’t step out in faith. I didn’t trust the Lord. I didn’t give my job search and career to God. And that is why I am still here, doing custodial work on the campus where I received my bachelors degree.