I've posted one of these before a couple years ago but that was when I worked the night shift, now I work the day shift. Ask me anything!

Here is some kind of proof without giving away any personal info that may get me in trouble-

My mop closet: http://imgur.com/wPd19nD

Shelf of my chemicals: http://imgur.com/xwkUOYU

My infamous ring of keys: http://imgur.com/9FHPTho

EDIT Thanks for the questions guys, now its time for me to have an Abba-Zaba, my only friend.

Comments: 210 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

Gilox70 karma

Whos that pokemon?!

elementroejoy62 karma


sedermera40 karma

Two questions:

1) Do you have a chat with some of the kids while they're on their breaks?

2) Did you ever walk in/stumble on teachers doing things in secret?

elementroejoy65 karma

1) I always talk with the students. In the hall, in the classroom if I'm cleaning/fixing something. It's honestly my favorite part of the job. I could be having a bad day and then a mob of 10 year olds high five me all day and everything's cool!

2) I rarely see teachers outside of work since most of them don't live near me. I do see students quite often since I live close to the school. I think they see me more often than I see them

sedermera22 karma

I thought e.g. teachers hooking up in a supply closet, that sort of stuff.

elementroejoy30 karma

Oops sorry, read that wrong! No, haven't seen that but have certainly heard things...

TheVoltronator6420 karma

Well ...you gonna tell us?!?!

elementroejoy35 karma

I've heard a couple of stories of teachers hooking up outside of work.

The big one was when two married employees hooked up and their spouses caught them in the act apparently.

Methodless36 karma

What is the worst thing you've had to deal with?

elementroejoy81 karma

The worst was when I worked at the middle school and the girls would use their used tampons to write on the wall. "I love john". Fucking gross.

Another time there was a terrible smell that we couldn't pin point until we saw a vent with the cover missing... The girls had been stashing their used tampons up there

brownman8336 karma

How does one become a janitor? I just wanna know how one becomes a janitor because Andrew here, is very interested in pursuing a career in the custodial arts.

elementroejoy155 karma

You guys think I'm just some untouchable peasant? Peon? Huh? Maybe so, but following a broom around after shitheads like you for the past eight years I've learned a couple of things. I look through your letters, I look through your lockers. I listen to your conversations, you don't know that but I do. I am the eyes and ears of this institution, my friends.

1tudore31 karma

What're all those keys for?

elementroejoy52 karma

Well 4 of them are my personal keys (car, apartment, apartment security door, and mail key)

The rest is the main key which opens all the classrooms, a key for the mobile attached to the building, boiler room key, milk cooler key, tool chest key, supply locker key, towel dispenser key, soap dispenser key, electrical panel key, a different soap dispenser key for teachers bathrooms, toilet paper dispenser key, light switch key, and a crash bar Allen wrench key

metaranha30 karma

Will you answer the age old question:

Which is worse to clean; boys bathroom or girls bathroom?

elementroejoy94 karma


Boys will be gross and pee all over but girls will leave things of nightmares. Working at the middle school was the worst because they didn't know, or didn't care, how to properly dispose of feminine products... I have seen terrible things

Thegirlonfire510 karma

It's so strange to me that people always say that women's restrooms are worse. I haven't had a job cleaning public restrooms but have used them my whole life and I've never found them that bad, while my husband often complains about the men's restrooms.

elementroejoy20 karma

Guys are a simple gross. Girls are a complex gross.

Example: Guy pisses on the floor. Girl uses a tampon to write on the wall...

Tipthefedora10127 karma

Is your office in the boiler room?

When i was in elementary i was kicked out of class everyday and hung out with the custodian in the boiler room. We talked about banging the teachers all day.

Grade 6 was a good time.

elementroejoy23 karma

Haha no my office is right next to the boiler room. Gets fucking hot.

clydejallorina18 karma

Weirdest thing you've seen the children do?

elementroejoy40 karma

Nothing out of the ordinary that I can recall but a teacher told me they had a student who would masturbate during class. No one wanted to sit next to him during lunch and I had no idea why until the teacher told me...

djle1215 karma

How did you get the job? Was it hard to get?

elementroejoy26 karma

I worked seasonally during breaks from college and then after I graduated (BA in mass communication and media arts) I needed to pay bills so I applied. They actually wouldn't hire me because I had a degree and assumed, rightfully so, that I'd leave as soon as I got a job with my major. It took applying for the 3rd time over the course of a year while I did an internship and some freelance stuff before I was hired.

jjunsso12 karma

If you don't mind me asking, do you plan on find a job with your major in the future?

elementroejoy9 karma

That's still the plan but for the foreseeable future I think I'll still be a custodian

DeadPrateRoberts14 karma

Have you ever delivered that speech from The Breakfast Club to one of the students?

elementroejoy15 karma

The students are really cool to me (maybe because I'm younger) so I haven't had to. They're too young to get the reference anyway. The teachers would get it for sure.

BuffyTheMoronSlayer12 karma

Do you live in an area with all 4 seasons? If so, which is the bigger pain to deal with: shoveling snow or cutting grass?

elementroejoy26 karma

I LOVED cutting grass. It's a big riding lawn mower and you just through your headphones on and go. Get some sun, listening to tunes while riding around makes the time fly! Unfortunately, they hired a company to cut the grass now

Snow fucking sucks! We get to the school an hour early to try and clear it all out but if it keeps snowing then you have to be out there all day while juggling your other duties. Not to mention dealing with ice. We have parents complain that kids are skipping and falling but it's not like that salt works instantly! You have to walk with caution. Plus there are sidewalks that aren't our property that we don't shovel or salt because it's not our responsibility but they are close to the school so the parents expect us to basically shovel and salt an entire block...

Oh and with snow, there are sometimes snow days and we still have to work our entire 8 hour shift even if we clear it all out within an hour and it's done snowing. We've had "cold days" where it's way too cold out so they cancel school. There's no snow, just really cold. We still have to show up for our shift. No one else does. Fucking stupid.

DadYouAreFucked12 karma

Used to do some similar summer work for a small grade school near me. One day We (I) may have forgotten to turn a faucet off and came into a flooded couple of hallways the next morning. What's your biggest fuck up on the job?

elementroejoy30 karma

We've ALL left a faucet on. Almost a fuck up right of passage.

Last year it was the end of the year and kids were watching movies. I brought it a couple of PG rated movies for one teacher. Her class chose Ghostbusters. I sat in a watched for a bit and completely forgot about the ghost blow job that Ray receives.... Super awkward!

NaomiNekomimi11 karma

Do you prefer the night shift or the day shift? Why?

elementroejoy21 karma

If you asked me on my first month working the day shift I would have said nights. On nights your alone listening to your music and go into robot mode and power through. Not bad.

When I started days I didn't quite have my routine down and hardly knew anyone. So it was awkward and boring. Now, I know the whole staff, who's awesome for the most part, and I know all the students who really make my day since they seem really stoked to just say hi or chat with me a bit so then that makes my day much better!

blu3bird1711 karma

So do you have a sweet collection of lost pencils from kids throughout the year?

xBarneyStinsonx3 karma

High school custodian here; after my first year, and filling a gallon bucket with pens and pencils, I started just throwing them all away.

elementroejoy5 karma

Same here

6DT10 karma

  • What state or country? Does that place have any weird rules you have to adhere to that other places might not have to?
  • What are some of the things that make you happy about work? And in your personal life?
  • Are you paid fairly?
  • Besides pay, what are some of the things that really irritate you about your job?
  • What are some of the things people say or do when they hear about what you do?
  • Do the teachers or any other staff members treat you poorly because you are "just" custodian?
  • Do the people in management ever make you do non-cleaning work? If so, then what?
  • What are school politics like?
  • what sort of tools or equipment do you not have that would be great to have?

elementroejoy11 karma

  • USA, we have pretty much the same rules as everyone else I assume
  • Staff/students being friendly really make the difference in a good day or a bad day regardless if I have a ton of shit to clean up or not. If everyone's in a cool mood then so am I.
  • The pay is decent with benefits, so I can't really complain
  • The main irritation is people assuming things about my job or work. So for example, during the summer when we scrub floors we have to lay down a solution to eat away at the wax. We have to let it sit for at least 10 minutes, so when we do that sometimes teachers or other staff will see us talking waiting for the solution to work and say something like "how many custodians does it take to watch the floor dry?" Fuck you dude, we're not watching the floor dry. During the year I take my lunch break at 10 because thats just when its a good time for me to take a half hour and eat, so when someone comes into my office and I'm on my phone eating a burger they assume I'm being lazy and "hiding" in my office trying to avoid work. Fuck that shit too. Things like that where, like any job, you can criticize and talk shit about a custodian, waiter, teacher, or whatever but you never really know until you experience that for yourself. Not trying to make my job out to be anything complex or anything like that, I'm just saying people can be assholes with their assumptions.
  • Most people are cool with it actually. I know everyone has their connotations about custodians and all that but it's never been an issue for me. The main thing is that I went to college and not using my degree so thats the only thing that will get brought up consistently.
  • The staff is pretty cool and nice, but there are a few who will put a minimal effort into a greeting while passing in the hall or whatever until they need something and then its all smiles and being super polite and friendly. There aren't too many of those working there but they are there and can be irritating.
  • There's always things throughout each day that come up that are non-cleaning work. Sometimes it could be driving to the middle school to pick up a kids lunch that an older brother accidentally took or a microwave could be malfunctioning and I have to google a bunch of shit and try and fix it. Those are the things that I like to come up because when I have down time I'd much rather have some work to do because time goes by much faster
  • Not really too savvy in the school politics, I hear plenty of gossip though. All day. Everyday. I know which teachers hate each other. Which students suck or which students parents are assholes etc.
  • The middle school has an autoscrubber for their floors and that would be really fucking nice to have since these young kids destroy these floors.

amw15710 karma

What is that machine-looking contraption mounted to the wall in the mop closet?

elementroejoy16 karma

That dispenses our chemicals for the mop buckets and spray bottles.

It has 'stride' which is a low foam neutral cleaner. 'Virex' is our disinfectant/deodorizer. 'Glance' is for windows and glass. 'Alpha HP' is a multi surface cleaner.

kansascrime5 karma

What, no spitfire? I'm sorry your school hates you

elementroejoy11 karma

Oh we got spitfire. Love that stuff. Just don't have it in the dispenser. You can see the bottle in one of my pictures, white bottle with red lettering

yeastygeese10 karma

What do you do in the summer months and over breaks? Is there still cleaning to be done when the kids aren't there?

elementroejoy15 karma

During the summer we wipe down and disinfect all of the furniture and walls, change light bulbs, clean windows, etc. then move all the furniture out of the rooms and scrub and wax the floors. Then we move all the furniture back into the rooms and repeat for the hallways

xBarneyStinsonx3 karma

Have you ever fallen on your ass while stripping the wax?

elementroejoy3 karma

Slipped for sure but so far haven't gone down. Seen it happen plenty of times though

1tudore9 karma

How long have you been doing this job? Any changes over that time or is it the same year-in year-out?

elementroejoy19 karma

I started working summer and winter breaks in 2007.

Got hired full time in 2012. Everything has been the same except now I'm on my 2nd year during the day shift so instead of being alone in the school and cleaning for 8 hours I'm surrounded by hundreds of kids and I'm always on call for you name it- vomit, deliveries, a microwave broke so I have to try and fix it, etc.

Much busier is the short answer

whohw15 karma

deliveries? you've had a pregnant student give birth?

elementroejoy17 karma

Thankfully no, I'm talking milk deliveries, ups, random PTO stuff, band equipment for concerts, etc.

JBerger334 karma

How many times have you wanted to just kick the shit out of some mouthy kid?

elementroejoy5 karma

Honestly, never. The kids are cool with me. The teachers are a different story...

JAR123462 karma

Tell us about the teachers.

elementroejoy4 karma

I meant that the teachers get pissed at the kids

so-cal_kid4 karma

If you don't mind me asking: do you get paid a pretty decent wage? My initial thinking would be yes since you are a full time worker for the school district. Also do you find that, for a lack of more sensitive phrasing, people are condescending towards you in anyway when you tell them what you do? I think it says something about our culture that kids at the school love you whereas being a janitor sometimes has a weird rep.

elementroejoy4 karma

Yeah it's a decent wage and the benefits are good. I make enough to pay for rent and everything I need. So no complaints there.

For the most part, everyone's nice to me. Sometimes overly nice even if they have the most simple task for me. There are some that are nicer than others of course. A more genuine nice who will shoot the shit with you and just talk to you like a regular person and that's always appreciated rather than pretending I don't exist until they need something. There are a couple of those too...

Wait4itaw3 karma

Have you seriously been doing the AMA for 8 hours now, or just forgot to log off?

elementroejoy7 karma

Been logged in on my phone all day

CheekyChipmunk2 karma

How angry would you be if the kids had a food fight?

xBarneyStinsonx5 karma

Lock the doors and not let them leave until the lunch room was spotless.

elementroejoy4 karma


SayWhoToTheWhat1 karma

My 2nd grade daughter once puked in her classroom, and poor Octavio (their custodian) had to clean it up. I apologized profusely to him, and I will apologize to you for all the stuff that you have to clean up because young kids are young kids.

Do you feel angry or upset when you have to clean up something gross, even if it was an accident?

elementroejoy3 karma

Nope, it's my job and why I was hired. It's all good.

Laddeh1 karma

Besides cleaning the girls bathroom, what's your least favorite part of you job?

elementroejoy2 karma

There are times during the day when your just "on call" waiting for something to fix or clean. I hate that. I want something to do! But I also hate busy work, so I always hope there is something that goes on each day to keep me busy

DessertWitch1 karma

Former custodian here. That bottle of Spitfire gave me war flashbacks.

How often do you get to use the cool stuff like floor buffers?

elementroejoy2 karma

Floor buffers are used by the night crew usually only on teacher institute days or spring break.

The middle school has an auto scrubber that they bust out, usually during the winter, to make their hallways look awesome. I don't have that at my school :(

gmailhiot1 karma

I wanted to start with a quick story: We had a custodian in my middle school that was always kind of quiet. My friends were pretty outgoing, and would try to engage him every once in awhile (just like we would teachers or anyone else). Well we went onto high school and whenever we had a day off school me and my friends would go to a local breakfast spot. Well one day we saw our custodian and his family there. We stopped and did a quick 15 second hello, and went on our way scarfing down on breakfast food. Well when it came time to pay, the waitress said that our custodian covered it. (mind you there was 8 teenage girls eating, not a tiny bill). We talk about it still how awesome the custodians are, and how amazing it was that he remembered us from a few years later.

Anyways so my question would be: Do you have any students that have made an impression? And if so, have you ever saw any students after they have moved on from elementary school?

elementroejoy3 karma

Any student, and there are a lot, that are friendly or funny but most importantly just REALLY want to help out. They want to take out garbage, unclog a toilet, clean up vomit, you name it. I can understand wanting to get out of class but a lot of these kids give up their recess to help out. That's super awesome.

I'm only on my 2nd year of the day shift so the kids that I got to know who have moved on to middle school have just started there. Haven't seen any of them yet.

Bryan28ww1 karma

Would you rather be called a caretaker or a janitor?

elementroejoy11 karma

Master of the Custodial Arts... Or a janitor if you wanna be a dick about it.

salt_n_sand1 karma

Ex-custodian here, worked for 5 years..did you have any hazing by the crew when you first got the summer job? I started as a summer cleaner and there were about 5 full time cleaners there. On my first day I was told to distribute about 50 5 gallons buckets of wax and stripping solution throughout the 5 story building to stock each janitor's closet. No elevator, solo. The sides of my legs were black and blue for a good week or so. Most people are oblivious to the amount of work that goes into summer cleaning, i used to bring 2 sets of clothes because of the summer heat and chemicals burning up the floor all day. Good money and benefits, got me to where i am today.

elementroejoy1 karma

The main 'hazing' we do to the rookies is make them play "funnel basketball"...

Basically, water down the pants using a funnel gag