Christopher Pister checks the oil level of the campus car with a dip stick; satisfied, he wipes his oily hands on his even oilier pants and directs the next car in. Katie Richards wakes up, gets ready, eats breakfast and is out the door by 3:48 a.m, ready for a day of cleaning. Christopher Schubert grabs and washes one more of the never ending stream of dishes coming through the line.
Each of these seemingly different situations is connected by one similarity; each job described contends for the dirtiest job on campus. Despite the grimy side effects, these students said what exactly they do and why they like their jobs.
Christopher Pister, a student from Oregon, is one who holds a dirty job; he is a campus lube mechanic. His job is to service all the BYU vehicles.
“All of the vehicles that BYU owns, anywhere from police vehicles to landscaping tractors to the MTC vehicles, all of them are serviced by this station,” Pister said. “They fill up their gas here, they also come every six months or 5,000 miles to get their oil changed.”
Pister said whether or not this is the dirtiest job on campus depends on the skill level of the mechanic.
“It depends on if you are a newbie or not. If you are new at changing oil then you won’t know where to place the vat of oil,” Pister said. “If you don’t know where to properly place that, the oil could splash all over you, and you would be the dirtiest person on campus, that is true.”
Pister said that he usually stays pretty clean except for a few oil smudges on his hands and the occasional smudge on his face.
“We stay pretty clean; our clothes get really dirty because our hands get oily and we wipe them on our clothes,” Pister said. “I’ve gone home with grease marks on my face, and I remember thinking, ‘Where did I get that?'”
Pister says that he likes his job because it has taught him a skill he can use in the future to help his friends and neighbors.
“I want to be the person that if my neighbors had a problem with their car I can be the one that fixes it,” Pister said. “So this definitely has future benefit not for employment but more for personal qualities.”
Campus custodians are another group that qualifies to have the dirtiest job on campus. These employees clean everything, from messes in the halls to messes in the stalls, but to these student employees, the job is more fun than dirty.
Katie Richards, a student custodian, begins her day at 4 a.m.
“Working an early morning job is great, except for the first five minutes you wake up,” Richards said. “That’s when it really hurts, but once that’s over I’m pretty much awake. I’m actually more awake at 4 in the morning than I am at 4 in the afternoon.”
Occasionally when cleaning, custodians find a not-so-pleasant surprise that requires special attention. Richards said she hasn’t had to deal with anything too gross, but her boss, Tom Wilda, custodial supervisor, has a different story.
“In my opinion, the grossest thing is the 15 man hours that I have to budget to get the gum out from underneath the Testing Center desks every semester and the fact that around two of those hours are spent getting boogers off the wall,” Wilda said.
Ian Bown, another student custodial worker, said despite the occasional odd job, working for custodial is fun because of his coworkers.
“I think it’s not the dirtiest because we just have too much fun with it,” Bown said. “It is dirty, but we just have fun. I love this job, I love it. I love working with who I work with.”
An often-overlooked dirty job takes place in the campus mess hall — the Cannon Center where Christopher Schubert works in the dish room. Schubert said the dirtiest thing he had to deal with was an eating contest gone wrong.
“Somebody had an eating contest, and I guess they lost and they kind of threw up on the tray.”
Not only has Schubert seen dirty things, but at the end of the day, when he is done cleaning, he is the dirty one.
“Normally by the end of the day I have to change shirts when I get home because my shirt is usually dripping with water or chocolate milk or whatever.”
Although he gets dirty Schubert said he likes his job because it is straightforward and teaches you how to manage stress.