Proud to be an American Janitor


It’s ‘interview season’ for the freshly baked, soon-to-be college graduates. Some deem it a stressful time, when one competes for positions in the workplace, crammed shoulder to shoulder with his or her constituents, all dressed their best and trying to ‘stand-out’ and be as professional and like-able as possible for potential employers. And their parents look on with a proud grin, remembering when it was their time to put their dignity on the sidelines, kiss ass, and get that job.

If this process isn’t disillusioning for young adults, then what could be?

I was talking to a late Gen X-er/early Millennial the other night, who never had a job until his finance position in some cubicle that he got by interning at the same company before he graduated college. I had just gotten off work, and that’s how the conversation opened. He gave me a typical response- “Well, get ready for at least 40 more years of it.” He sounded depressed. Turned out he’s nearing 40, and only recently got engaged to marry a woman of his age that he’d been dating since college.

He was befuddled when I told him I clean offices. It actually got kind of awkward- like I had pulled out a lighter with a swastika on it or something. I had told him that I was almost done with university. For him, I guess, that implies that I’ve been spending my days running around to career fairs and sending out a dozen resumes a day.

Being my age, not quite 22, I’m trying to figure out the most effective balance of benefiting from and revolting against the modern world. I want to lower my need for money- but first, drive my elbow into the system so it coughs up enough for me to pay my debts, which were suggested to me by my parents while I was just a bit too naive to assess the situation independently.

I rarely consider posting anything pertaining to my own current place in life as I have a bit of shame about it, as I might, having subjected myself to liberal university, only to be gritting my teeth, collecting debt, and not having the means to move out of my boy’s room quite yet. (I did live in a local city from 2015-16 on my own dime, but it really doesn’t matter in this context.)

The people I’ve dealt with thus far in the contracting business are simple people, and they’re real. They don’t flash me with fake smiles and sweaty handshakes, or pretend to enjoy talking to me if they are not. They ask and tell me just what they mean to, and I respond likewise.

Yes, I plan on moving on, this way or that, from this job, as I’ve moved on from others in the past. But as long as I’m here, pissing off my liberal mom every time I lace up my boots and say “I’m off to clean,” I will mop thoroughly, scrub with a whistle, and look curiously on as hoards of kids go off to empower themselves with fancy careers, little to no children, and plenty more debt heading their way.


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