Hard working employees support university

13 years ago Comments Off on Hard working employees support university

They are surely the most overlooked and sometimes underpaid staff on the campus of Sam Houston State University. Students speak to them occasionally but usually do not engage them in conversation even though they support SHSU in the most humble of ways.

They are the hardworking blue-collar men and women of SHSU, and their support of the students and faculty on campus is often taken for granted until they are needed.

Custodial staff, grounds maintenance crews, plant maintenance systems operators and many more are normally the less celebrated employees at Sam. Students don’t often hear of them receiving distinguished awards or being bestowed with honorary titles. Most, if not all, go daily without recognition for a job well done.

Many of these employees do not seek the limelight, and when interviewed, several asked not to have their names in the paper. Lois Nelson, a custodial team member for the Lowman Student Center, said she enjoys her job.

“The students aren’t too messy,” she said. Nelson also said she enjoys working around college students, and that her job provides both good benefits and great hours. She began her job in 1967 and plans on staying for several more years.

When asked what she would change about her job she said, “Nothing.” She is pleased with her job at SHSU because it helped her raise her son and get him through college.

But James Thomas, who works at Chick-fil-A, said he would change several things. “It would be nice to have more help occasionally, especially during peak hours,” Thomas said. He said Aramark is trying to hire, but a majority of the applicants are not qualified or are not passing some of the hiring procedures.

Thomas said the students are pretty cool and are friendlier than students two years ago when he first started. He also understands student’s frustration when they run out of food and said Aramark is trying to get more machines.

As for pay, “Well, we would all like to make a little more,” Nelson says. Aramark is a big company and most of their employees would like to make at least a dollar or two more an hour. One employee said he only brings home about $300 a month. “Tell me how you live on that,” he said.

For Marcus Cole, a grounds maintenance crew member, money is not an issue, not because he has plenty of it, but because he believes people will always complain about it. “It isn’t fair to talk about money because people will never be satisfied with what they have. They will always want more,” Cole said.

He has worked for SHSU for nine years and says there are good days and bad days, but it is all about attitude. Cole said he enjoys his job. The hours allow him an opportunity to work with his son’s football team and watch him in track.

He said he has good benefits and enjoys working outdoors. The administrative staff does not micro-manage him and students are usually friendly and respectful. “It is nice to see kids come in as freshmen and watch them graduate four or five years later,” he said.

Paul Dobbs, a student worker, can’t wait to graduate in May and find a real job. He is a computer technician and believes he is being underpaid. When asked if he thought he would get paid more once he graduates he said, “Abso-freakin-lutely!” Dobbs believes he will make between $40,000 and $50,000 as a technician in the ‘real world.’

Although he enjoys the interaction between staff and faculty, Dobbs said he is ready for a real challenge and a ‘real job.’

Overall, these blue-collar workers are fairly happy with their employment at SHSU, and while several had the same complaint about pay, they are happy to have a job given the current state of the economy. They take great pride in representing the university and being counted among its staff.

Perhaps students could change their attitudes and take the time to reward them with a kind word about a job well done and a smile when their paths cross. It is because of their hard work and diligence that our school looks as nice as it does and our facilities are in the shape they are in.

employees-page 1