September 16, 2011

What I've Learned from Working: Part 1

As if I could look that good
As all once-upon-a-time full time students know full well, an education is expensive. And stressful. And did I mention expensive. And I'm in Canada, nothing like what there is in the States, but for the first time in my life, I'm in debt, and that's a terrifying thought for anyone who grew up with relatively little money. 

So I have done what many are expected to do: get a job. 

Say what? Nats, you're not even 20 yet, and you want to enter the workforce and have to file income tax forms? 

Honestly no, but who does? 

So my first year I worked cleaning empty apartments. Now I know I will get a bit repetitive of my use of the words 'pig,' but it is an apt term. So I now share with you the bits of wisdom I learned from cleaning apartments for a year.

  1. Garbage should be taken out at least once a week. I'm not kidding, if you've moved out and I find a pile of garbage under the sink, I can tell that you were a socially irresponsible, never got laid dirty pig who left their mess for someone else to clean up. 
  2. People in tight financial situations are not necessarily the smartest. In a particularly messy apartment, I found two items of interest: an empty Ipod touch box with the receipt* and a letter from the building saying that they were way over due on their rent and owed over $3000.
  3. Guys cannot aim. 'Nuff said. 
  4. Mold will grow everywhere. Including vents, sinks, ovens, fridges, freezers, and bathrooms, and that is just gross. Use bleach, and you might live a bit longer.
  5. Pipes can't be allowed anywhere near cold. In my time in a single building, we had three floods that spread to multiple floors causing hundreds of dollars worth of damage to the building and personal effects. So please, close your windows when you go out of town.
  6. Your landlord will judge you. Or at least the workmen will. Constantly talking to them when they are trying to work doesn't, unfortunately make you endearing unless you're a size two ex-model with a degree in biomedical engineering. It's unfair, but we tend to be a very judgmental species.
  7. Just because you move out doesn't mean the contents of your fridge magically follow you.  Fridges were by far the grossest part of cleaning an apartment. Please don't assume that someone will be in to clean immediately after you vacate the premises. It could be up to two weeks, and things just don't keep that long, not even fruit.
  8. We appreciate neat people. Landlords, cleaning staff, and workmen all appreciate it if you leave a place as neat as you found it. We treat you with respect and expect at least you can do the same for our apartment. There is nothing nicer than walking into a place and thinking that the previous tenant was a nice enough person to take care of their shit.
  9. Just because you are a good person, bad things can still happen to you. This may be self evident, but for me, it wasn't. I'd been working at this building for almost a year when the summer came and I desperately needed to see my family. I'd arranged to take off the month they were the least busy three months in advance, and provided them with two candidates to fill in for me while I was gone. They told me that they probably didn't need anyone, and I went on a well deserved vacation. When I got back, I found out that they had hired else for my job two weeks into my absence and still owed me my pay. I felt so betrayed because I  had done everything I could have and still got screwed. See, people are pigs.

*In case you didn't store that info as something necessary to know, an Ipod Touch goes for around $230

Photos courtesy of The Idea Girls Says and My Modern Met

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