On campus, there are number of people that we run into every day. The professors who give us lecture, a friends who are classmates and seniors and juniors that we meet in school clubs are few examples of this. Unlike those faces that we recognize, there are faces we pass by everyday that we are not aware of. They are the ones who take care of our school buildings and campus, in order to keep them in the best possible condition, and who prepare our meals and serve them to us. I am talking about the laborers at our school, in Korean 교내근로자. In this edition of the magazine, we want to look into their lives, and listen to their stories.
Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Byun, Mrs. Park Age: 48, 52, 56 We work as temporary workers at the cafeteria, within contracts that expires in two years. We started working at University of Seoul last year. The working hours vary, but most of us work at least ten hours a day, starting from seven in the morning. Our main task and duty are preparing the materials for the food, cooking it and distributing it for the students. We also wash the big dishes that do not fit in the machine. We get the feeling of worthwhile when students encourage us and show appreciation towards our work. When hearing those comments, we feel that our tiredness is being eased and we want to provide better service for them. However, the difficulties when working in the cafeteria are when students complain about the food or throw their meal coupon at us. Although we do our best in preparing the meals, and try to provide the best quality, there can be mistakes while making food. But when students blurt out complaints all at once and the level of complaints increase until they start hurting our feelings, it really makes it difficult to work. The students are in the same age range as that of our daughters and sons, so we would never do things that would harm their health. It is not our intention and we hope the students take at least a little bit of account for it.
Campus Cleaning Worker (Janitor)
Kang Young-gyu Age: 64 This is my sixth year working at the UOS. Although our conditions as janitors are the same as for other temporary workers, the working conditions are relatively satisfying. The tasks that we are assigned for are understandable amount, and there is no main difficulty. I clean the campus and classrooms, starting from seven in the morning to four in the afternoon. Since there are break times between duties, I can take a rest and get back to work with regained strength. The happiest moments during my work is when students show their respect toward us, by saying thank you and giving us small drinks, such as coffee can. I think the students are very nice and kind at UOS. However, when I encounter the number of cigarette ends and spit lying on the floor right next to the trash can, I wish that students would have paid some attention to the sanitation of our school building. It represents the personality of students. When I hear about cases of temporary janitors at other schools, I understand the pain that they are going through, since they are working just as hard as me but have worse working conditions. I have hope that the overall working conditions for temporary workers and recognition of them would increase in the society, in order for the same problems not to be ocurr.
Traffic Patrol Worker
Kim Han-dong Age: 62 It has been more than a month since I have been working here. Since the car lane is one way, the cars coming up from the playground side have a tendency to exceed the speed limit, not recognizing that there are students crossing the road. This can lead to accidents and my job is to prevent that from happening. I urge students to use the crosswalk, since it is safer that way, but at the beginning of last month, when students were not used to this, I had a lot of difficulty informing them. Now, as time goes by, more and more students are being cautious of it, so I really appreciate their effort. I think it is all about getting used to and adjusting to the use of the new building. The school has announced that they are going to put up a fence to prevent jaywalking, which would ease my task later on. I like working at UOS, especially for the students, since I believe that I am contributing to their safety.
The workers that we take for granted, are all doing their jobs to provide us with the best conditions at our school. They are at the age of our moms, dads, uncles and aunts. By considering their difficulties and efforts, we should show them some respect, at least not be ignorant about their work or taking it for granted.