Custodians work second jobs


Don Vesses sweeps classrooms in the science hallway. He also works at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Although generally employed full time, the hours custodians work do not always correspond with the average full-time job. Their duties are often easier performed when faculty and students are not present, so they start their day early and finish late.

“I wake up every morning at five and have to be at school at six,” lead custodian Damienion King said. “We also used to only have two custodians on second shift, so I would stay to help them out.”

Despite long hours at school, many take on several other jobs to create a bigger financial cushion.

“The average custodian’s take-home pay is between about $600 and $700 every two weeks, which is less than the poverty state,” custodian Darryl Williams said. “We were supposed to have gotten a raise to minimum wage $15, which was approved by the governor, but it got tabled by Guilford County Schools.”

In addition to his custodial duties, Williams works for the church that takes place in the auditorium and sells concessions for track, softball, baseball at Northwest, Summerfield and Oak Ridge Rec League, and many other middle school sports. He also has his own limo and transportation service.

“I have to multitask while I’m at work,” Williams said. “I’m always doing two things at once to get prepared for something I’m doing later in the day. I set up concessions in advance, so that when I get off from work, I’m ready.”

King works at The Christmas Tree shop to help support his wife and five kids.

“Just working as a custodian, I don’t have enough to take care of my rent and family,” King said. “My wife also just had surgery, so she’s been out of work for six weeks, and my son is a senior in high school, about to head off to college, so I may have to get a second job that’s also full time.”

In addition, King plans to return to school.

“I recently registered for the fall semester at GTCC to finish up my degree as a paralegal major, so I will be working two jobs and also going to school,” King said.

Unlike teachers, custodians can’t get substitutes when they are out. In this situation, it is the other custodian’s responsibility to cover that person’s area.

“It cheats the teachers whose area we clean because after doing someone else’s duties, then we have to rush and do ours and we are not able to clean to the best of our abilities,” King said.

The custodial staff is frequently short staffed, due to transportation inability, long hours, or other unfortunate situations, leaving the others with an excessive amount of work.

“It’s one thing to do your job, but another thing to do yours and somebody else’s,” Williams said.