Lessons Learnt From Being a Room Attendant

About five weeks ago, I started a new job working as a housekeeper for a new hotel. For the first couple of weeks, things were all about setting up the rooms and getting the hotel ready for opening. And then we started in our official roles, so for the last few weeks, I’ve been making beds and doing dishes and cleaning toilets and folding towels and all the other (not so) fun stuff that goes with my job description. It’s all new to me, since I have predominantly worked in retail, with the occasional stint in hospitality, working in pubs and cafes. And, I don’t love my job but unlike the other jobs I’ve had since my bookshop closed down nearly twelve months ago, I don’t hate it either. Which makes it a big improvement on the other places I’ve worked!

I haven’t been there very long but in the time since I started, I have come to realise and learn a number of…invaluable lessons you might say. Lessons that I feel it is my duty to impart, especially if you’re planning on taking on a job as a housekeeper. First of all, people are gross. It’s like they have this attitude that so long as they don’t have to clean it, they can leave the room in as messy a state as they like. Yes, it is my job to clean rooms. No, it is not my job to pick up a bunch of used condoms off the floor because you were too rude and/or lazy to put it in the bin. I mean, some people don’t even flush the toilets, and that’s just not cool. I don’t expect people to make their beds and do their dishes and request a mop to clean the bathroom floor, but surely a little respect isn’t too much to ask.

Secondly, having nice nails and being a housekeeper are not compatible. I used to have nice, long (always painted!) nails, and these days they’re all short and chipped and *shudder* normal coloured. I’m not what you would call girly but I was awfully proud of my long nails and now they’re just boring. I tried in vain to keep them nice for a week or so, and then gave up altogether. A small price to pay for having a job I suppose. But if you’re gonna become a room attendant, do yourself a favour and cut your nails before they tear off below where they meet the skin. Trust me, it’s inevitable (and painful)!

Thirdly, jeans and Converse are not conducive to a comfortable working environment. Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much live in jeans and Cons…well, I did before it became my work uniform. These days I try and avoid anything constricting! The thing is, for everyday wear they’re fine. But when you’re on your feet all day, rushing about to complete rooms in 20 minutes and bending down to make beds and clean showers, it’s not the most practical of uniforms. I mean sure, it looks good but it just ain’t comfortable! Even with a belt, I’m constantly hitching my jeans up, and after the first two hours, my feet and my old knee are screaming in protest.

Then there’s the fact that hotels are a little eerie during the day. I’m used to a customer facing workplace and in this job, I rarely see anyone but the other housekeepers and if do, it’s never long enough to exchange more than brief pleasantries. Not that I’m complaining, mind! It’s just a little disconcerting at times, especially when I’m the only housekeeper on the floor and it feels like I’m the only person in the whole hotel. Ok, so I maaay have watched one too many horror films and gotten myself paranoid but that doesn’t change the fact that silent hotel rooms and corridors are spooky, even during the middle of the day.

Which brings me to my fifth lesson. Working without music sucks. I’m the kind of person that listens to tunes constantly, so the absence of that familiar sound is strange and far too quiet. I really don’t need to delve into further explanation with that one, I’ve pretty much summed it up!

And finally, getting paid fortnightly is pretty lame. I’ve always been paid weekly, so this having to wait an extra week for my money is just odd! I’m not getting any less money or anything, but when you’re not earning a hell of a lot, budgeting for two weeks instead of one is just more difficult. And annoying. I would much prefer to work out my budget week to week and know that if any unforseen circumstances arise that require cash, I’ll only have to wait a few days at the most.

Honestly, this is far from being the worst job I’ve ever had. And all bad things aside, I actually don’t mind the routine of cleaning rooms. Obviously I don’t plan on doing it for the rest of my life or, if I can help it, much longer than twelve months or so, but for now it’s a source of income and I’m just happy to have money in my savings again.

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