PayScale: What is your housekeeping job description?
I would clean at least 15 hotel rooms a day. This entailed changing the linens, making the beds, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and general organization of room. We also had to replace the glassware with sterilized glasses. In addition to 15 hotel rooms, I had to clean two common areas. These usually were end of hallway gathering spots or elevators.
PayScale: How did you get started doing housekeeper jobs?
I started working as housekeeper in a nursing home during high school because housekeeper salaries were higher than most jobs I could get. After finishing high school, I followed some of my co-workers to the hotel that paid more. However, since my first job was union and my hotel job wasn't, it didn't have as many benefits. I started working in housekeeping because it paid better than fast food jobs. I also could keep the TV on all day as I cleaned and didn't have to deal with many people face to face. Sometimes, I would actually get tips. The housekeeping tips came mostly from foreign travelers, though.
PayScale: What do you love about hotel housekeeping?
What I liked best about my job is that I could work at my own pace. If I wanted to work hard all morning and work slow in the afternoon I could. As long as I got my 15 rooms and two common areas done, my day was my own. I also got to watch a lot of TV. Once I had to work while the Olympic hockey finals were on. I could actually rearrange my day so I didn't miss a single minute. Although housekeeping jobs don't sound flexible, they are. My friends who have their own housekeeping businesses have even more flexibility and make much more money.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges in hotel housekeeping jobs?
Cleaning up after big hotel parties was the worst part of the job. One destroyed room could take hours. Not to mention having to write up all the broken items and submit it to the head of housekeeping. If parties got really out of hand, we would bill them for destroying property. Sometimes you could get help on the nasty party rooms which made it more fun. As we picked up miscellaneous party favors, we would laugh and construct a story as to what really happened in the room the night before.
PayScale: What advice would you give to someone interested in housekeeping jobs?
You don't really break into housekeeping. It is something you do to make money while you are going to school to break into another field. However, hotel management careers are something you can break into. It was interesting to watch some of the housekeepers move up the ranks in the hotel. One housekeeper became the concierge and another worked her way up to night front desk person. If I was going to give advice to aspiring housekeepers and house cleaners, I would say work for yourself. Starting your own housekeeping company will help you earn more money.
PayScale: What are the craziest things that have happened while working as a hotel housekeeper?
The craziest thing that ever happened to me as a hotel housekeeper was finding a body while cleaning a room. No, it wasn't a dead body. I was pulling the linens off a dirty bed that was stacked high with extra towels and blankets. All of a sudden the linens were pulling back. A guy had passed out in bed and his friends had buried him and left him in the room. I, of course, screamed at first then quietly left the room. I came back to clean the room at the end of my shift when the guy was long gone.