I’m a housekeeper at a hotel in San Francisco. Guests have stopped tipping and the work can be gross, but I love my job. – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

I’m a housekeeper at a hotel in San Francisco. Guests have stopped tipping and the work can be gross, but I love my job.

A housekeeper makes a hotel bed (subject not pictured).

Alistair Berg/Getty Images

A hotel housekeeper who’s worked at a San Francisco Marriott for 10 years says they love their job.The challenges are cleaning disgusting things and a lack of work when guests decline the service.They encourage hotel guests to accept the daily housekeeping service and respect the space.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a 60-year-old hotel housekeeper in San Francisco. Their name is being withheld to protect their employment, which has been verified by Insider. The conversation was conducted through a translator and has been edited for length and clarity.

As a housekeeper at a Marriott hotel in San Francisco, I’m responsible for keeping the rooms clean. I’ve worked here for 10 years, and before this, I worked for a few months at another hotel. Before moving to California, I lived in El Salvador and worked as a secretary.

Within an eight-hour shift, I usually clean about 14 rooms. I make a decent hourly rate as a member of a union, which is a big deal for me. But I earn a good salary only if I work 40 hours every week, which is becoming less and less common.

My schedule depends on the occupancy level and whether guests want their rooms cleaned. I love my job — I just wish it was consistent enough to support my family.

I’ve seen some disgusting things

A normal workday involves making beds, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, removing dirty glasses, and so on. We also take care of amenities including shampoo and soap that need to be refilled.

I’ve come across rooms with vomit, beds with blood on them, and bathrooms where someone has left feces in the bathtub. I’ve also had to clean rooms with a really strong odor left over from marijuana or cigars.

One of the more-annoying tasks is cleaning up overflowing trash. Sometimes guests leave behind tons of bottles and takeout containers.

Dogs can also be difficult. I adore dogs, but sometimes they leave so much fur behind that we have to shampoo the carpets.

No one leaves tips anymore

When I began working at the hotel, guests would leave tips, but now most people don’t leave anything.

During my first years as a housekeeper, I could expect to make $1,500 to $2,000 a year in tips. It slowly got lower to maybe $200 or $300 a year. This is the lowest year yet, and I’m getting almost nothing.

If you’re staying in a hotel, I suggest leaving a tip of $5 to $10 a night. Don’t wait until the end of the stay because a different housekeeper may clean your room each day.

Uncertainty about getting called in makes life hard

Lately, I’ve been working less because there are fewer rooms to clean. I get fewer hours of work and earn a lower income. If the guests opt out of the housekeeping service, and their room isn’t cleaned for two or three days, that means less work for us.

On those days, the hotel might not call me in to work. It affects me economically to have my paycheck go up and down like that because I have to pay rent, buy food, and cover transportation. I also support my 90-year-old mom.

A few weeks ago, I worked only one day the whole week, and on the other days, I was on call waiting to see whether there would be work for me.

On a good week, I’m bringing in $850. But on a week when I’m called in for only a few days of work, I make about $500.

I encourage hotel guests to get daily housekeeping because you have a lot of power to help us go to work and make money.

Try not to leave the room too messy if you’re staying at a hotel

It will make your housekeeper’s life easier if you don’t leave a big mess.

People sometimes don’t think about how they’ll affect my ability to do my job, and they leave clothes or suitcases on top of the bed that I need to make. Or they leave heavy things, such as a luggage rack full of bags, in the way, and I need to move it to clean.

The most painful thing for me is how often I need to bend down. Guests can help with that a lot, too. You can leave the towels in a single pile so I don’t have to bend over many times to pick them up one by one. You can also put all the trash in the trash cans so I don’t have to go around the room and bend over many times to pick things up off the floor.

Honestly, I love my job

People sometimes ask why I don’t change jobs, but I like it. I sincerely like this job better than my former job as a secretary.

I love it when I feel like I’ve made someone happy by giving them a clean room. When a guest stops me in the hallway to thank me and tell me what a difference I made for their trip, there’s nothing better.

Are you a housekeeper who wants to share your story? Email Lauryn Haas at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider
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