Would you clean the bathrooms of a rest area with a 3 years college degree level ?

@topffer (34146)
France
June 29, 2016 4:48am CST
Vinci, a French motorway company was offering an interesting discovery of its business last week in the form of an internship for a minimum of 5 weeks targeted to students with a baccalaureate+3 level, i.e. a Licence in a French college. This discovery job was including many interesting tasks on the rest areas of a motorway in Southern France like picking the papers and cleaning the toilets. Many people protested on Twitter. Vinci started to deny that they posted this ad, and then removed it from their web site. Students seem to be picky today when it comes to pick papers and clean toilets. Let me speak of Marilyn. Marilyn was only a nickname and I never knew what was her real name. She was working as a cashier in a museum, and was spending most of her time a bit away from her cash register, near a forced air heating system on the ground. A cinema-lover remembering Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch gave her this nickname, although she was in her fifties and there was nothing "delicious" in the show she was offering to visitors. The dream of Marilyn was to become a "dame-pipi". Literally translated it would be a "wee wee lady", but an English speaker would say a restroom attendant. When you were asking her why she would prefer to clean toilets than to be a cashier, she was telling you that a dame-pipi was getting tips, enormous tips that you had not to declare to the tax administration, and that a cashier in a museum was never receiving a tip even if she was smiling and was amiable with any visitor. What could you respond to that ? Marilyn was working hard to get her dream job which would have been the crowning achievement of her career as a public servant. She had made friend with one of the last "wee wee ladies" of the city who was not far to retire, and who would recommend her for the job. The curator, who was secretly hoping that his next cashier would perhaps not show her panties to the public or would wear pants, had friendly agreed that he would make no difficulty to accept her transfer when she will submit him a written request and that he would also highly recommend her for the job. Everything seemed to go well for Marilyn when a disaster happened : the city decided to not renew the restroom attendants in its public bathrooms when they would retire, then to close the bathrooms and to replace them by automated self-cleaning public toilets. Starting from this moment Marilyn had dull eyes and did not smiled to the Museum's visitors until she retired a few years later. How the dream job of Marilyn cannot be a dream job for a student with a 3 years college level ? I am not sure that you get a lot of tips on a rest area of a motorway, but as it is the kind of work many people want to do, asking for a college degree does not seem abusive. And maybe is it a job that Vinci wants to offer as a showroom of its business for its future senior managers ? Would you accept such an internship ? If yes, how would you present it on a curriculum ?
24 people like this
27 responses
@Asylum (48281)
• Manchester, England
29 Jun 16
There is some value in such a scenario because far too many people with high educational achievements would never demean their self by picking up litter or cleaning. I would not expect someone with excellent qualifications to do such menial tasks on a regular basis, but at least this will eradicate the sense of such actions being below them.
7 people like this
@boiboing (12465)
• Northampton, England
29 Jun 16
Everybody who wants a top job should be prepared to do a bottom one so that they don't forget why they worked so hard in college. My mother used to take us to the local chicken farm (when they still did caged chickens) and tell us that if we didn't want to work at school there would always be jobs in a place like that.
5 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
A farmer actually needs to be graduated to obtain loans and... public subsidies from Europe. Things are changing very fast : when I was studying law, I bred rabbits for a living (you see, I have nothing against working in a chicken farm). To be allowed to do it, I have had to spend one month in a vocational school (they admitted an equivalence of diploma with my baccalaureate which was not obvious : I knew Latin, but quite nothing to rabbits) ; today to breed animals I would need two years of specialized studies after a baccalaureate. Indeed, to collect eggs, no qualification is required, but there are not a lot of jobs available. This said, I have to agree that it is better to know what is a bottom job when you do a top job, and it is the niche that was exploiting Vinci with this "offer" : I read that any student in engineering has to do an internship in a job needing no qualification to have his final examinations validated. But asking for a minimum of five weeks of internship and a driving license here was perhaps too much. Many businesses are abusing students with these internships mandatory to validate their exams. I heard a month ago a student doing a master in sound and image telling how he worked in a Belgian media business during 2 months for free (they even did not offered him tickets for restaurants) : they told him the first day that they would never recruit him because he was French, gave him a full time job without any training, and, because he was late one day, his boss threatened him to not sign the papers needed to validate his stage if he was late again : it was pure slavery, and there was several other students doing an internship in the same business with him.
2 people like this
@Fleura (7191)
• United Kingdom
29 Jun 16
@Boingboing Yep, when I was at school one of the local boys used to work as a 'chicken-catcher' at the chicken farm nearby.
1 person likes this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
@ChesneyM All internships are more or less related to the qualifications, maybe less for the one in this discussion. Some are paid, others not, but never as much as a job. The daughter of a friend who is a chemist told me that for an internship supposed to be not paid in a factory where she did chemical analysis of food, her boss gave her a 1000 Euros check at the end because he was satisfied by her job, and told her that she could knock at his door at the end of her studies if she was interested by the business and wanted to work in the factory. So, it is not because an internship is not or not supposed to be paid that it might not offer an opportunity for a job later... You never know. I never did an internship during my studies. There was a 2 years paid internship needed for a lawyer to be inscribed to a bar, near a court or with another lawyer, but I continued my PhD and I never did it. Glad that you all graduated
@koopharper (6284)
• Canada
29 Jun 16
I have a four year college degree and part of my job right now includes cleaning the bathrooms. I don't ever get tips for doing that. I get where the students are coming from to a degree. A lot of people assume I'm stupid.
5 people like this
• Canada
29 Jun 16
@topffer Sometimes the person sweeping and mopping in a restaurant is in fact the owner. I don't know why so many people choose to look down their nose at someone based on seeing them do menial tasks.
5 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
@koopharper As a field archeologist, I know what you mean : many people are thinking that you have to be an under qualified worker to put your hands in the ground. I remember a funny thing that happened during the excavation of a cave a decade ago. A young journalist saw a man horribly dirty (we had to crawl in the mud to reach the site), with torn pants (stalagmites when crawling), and bringing outdoors a bucket of soil and asked him where was his boss quite impolitely. And the man responded : "I introduce myself : X, professor at the University of... and of..., Research Director at the National Center of Scientific Research, Director of..., and I am also the director on this excavation. To respond to your question : I am the boss." The journalist started to look down, and he was looking where he could hide while blushing.
3 people like this
• Canada
29 Jun 16
@topffer Serves him right.
3 people like this
@Susan2015 (20580)
• United States
29 Jun 16
I don't see anything wrong with doing that job. It's a good honest one. But then I like to clean anyway.
5 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
It is certainly a honest job. Vinci was perhaps less honest to not offer to pay for this "internship".
3 people like this
@vandana7 (64874)
• India
29 Jun 16
You are a great lady Susan..
2 people like this
• United States
29 Jun 16
I would do this! As for curriculum presentation: "Reality Check and Social Awareness Training" ... A course to help keep people grounded in what it is like to be a manual laborer. This course teaches understanding and awareness of the experiences of others.
5 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
You get a point here, and you will be safe if nobody asks you what was exactly this interesting job. But you really know how to communicate and present the information
3 people like this
@Shavkat (62552)
• Philippines
29 Jun 16
I will definitely not. In the first place, it is not myajor in university.
4 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
If you do not accept the job, you are also eluding the second question : how would you present this job on a curriculum ? You are not playing the ball.
4 people like this
@Shavkat (62552)
• Philippines
30 Jun 16
@topffer I agree. It is not also included in a job description.
3 people like this
@BelleStarr (38213)
• United States
29 Jun 16
I think not, it is not something I have ever aspired to. Isn't the thought process that all the people who are refugees are suppose to be taking these types of jobs? It would seem that is a fallacy. lol But I only have a 2 year degree so I would not be qualified.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
Many students have to do an internship at the end of their studies in France, and I read that this one was targeted towards (future) engineers. But now that you told about it, I think that I would feel guilty if I was an engineer to steal the job of a refugee. Seriously speaking, a large part of the refugees we have here had good jobs in their countries (People are not realizing that Syria is a developed country), and they would probably refuse this job. And because you are looking for a lame excuse, I think that with a 2 year degree, you have somewhere a 3 year level : you just got the job.
3 people like this
@BelleStarr (38213)
• United States
29 Jun 16
@topffer oh bummer now I need to find another excuse, I certainly have plenty of toilet cleaning experience and I even speak French!! lol
2 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
@BelleStarr It reminds me the army : "Who speaks English here ? Ok, go to the kitchens they need people to peel potatoes." You give me an occasion to have a late revenge : "So, you learned French at college ?"
2 people like this
@Drosophila (16713)
• Ireland
29 Jun 16
Erm degree is cheap these days.., But when I was going through my postgrad I did all sorts of work, cleaner at hospital was one of it. It put me though education with minimal debt. I finished my 7 years with only 3000 worth of debt, which I paid off. So ya a means to an end is a means to an end... Even if it ends in toilets
3 people like this
@vandana7 (64874)
• India
29 Jun 16
My kinda girl...practical. Always.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
It is only after I joined myLot that I realized how lucky I was to be born in a country where education was free, including for colleges. It was $300/year for the registration and the social security, and the amount was the same for a first year student than for a PhD student. It is a bit more expensive now, but basically it is still free compared to what are paying students in a country like USA. Until my master, I was breeding rabbits for a living, and I was registered as a "farmer". I know it was a bit weird for somebody studying law, but it was a personal choice. I suppose that a college needs a % of farmers in their stats and that it is why I succeeded to my exams. Then I wanted to do archeology and to end my studies in Paris. I asked for a professional retraining. I wanted to do a PhD, but it was 3 years more, and the ministry of Agriculture told me that they could pay only for a short 1 year professional retraining. It is why I prepared together with my PhD a professional lawyer's certificate. At the time, they told me that I was the first farmer wanting to become a lawyer. Seriously, I have been very lucky compared to you, and I have never had to work as a cleaner, except for my rabbits, but it was a choice and I was my own boss. You were speaking yesterday of marrying a EU citizen if you could not get the Irish citizenship. I am sure that you will obtain it, but your preference for a French were not bad : your children will not have to pay for their studies.
3 people like this
@Drosophila (16713)
• Ireland
29 Jun 16
@vandana7 that's part of the problem, too good at solving my own problems. .
2 people like this
@paigea (22199)
• Canada
29 Jun 16
I would accept that job if I needed a job and didn't have one. If it's an internship that is going to lead to other work then for sure I would accept it. I cleaned washrooms at a camp site. I enjoyed working at the campsite mowing lawn and all that. I had a university degree when I did that.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
Any student in engineering needs to do an internship in a not qualified job. But nothing says here that Vinci will recruit him as an engineer. Some students have difficulties to find an internship ; this not qualified job for somebody having studied 3 years in a college is probably not the best : the internship is long and not paid, but it should help a student to get a final exam, and in this way it will lead to a better job. Your work at the campsite was during your studies ? Many students are looking for these kind of jobs during summer : it is quite a holiday if the campsite is near the sea
2 people like this
@paigea (22199)
• Canada
2 Jul 16
@topffer It was when I worked at a place that gave work training to people with developmental disabilities. So, I was training people to hopefully be able to have a job some day; or in most cases to enjoy that job of working at the campsite. It was in a town, so no beach.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
30 Jun 16
There's nothing wrong with an honest job though and back in the day when there was no recession, people could be picky. When I was a student I ended up cleaning offices because the fees to my college were so high. I required four jobs to keep me going and I did them all with great aplomb as well as meeting great, experienced people who were far more experienced at life than the ones at the college itself.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
30 Jun 16
I have to agree with you. I do not think that this internship offer was fair, but it is true that if it has been a job offer, there would have been nothing wrong with it. We have all done bread and butter works when we were students, and I also accepted works that I would have not accepted later.
2 people like this
@JESSY3236 (6505)
• United States
29 Jun 16
I wouldn't take it. I think internships should be teaching you the actual job.
3 people like this
@Platespinner (16492)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
29 Jun 16
I am a firm believer that a job is a job, and there is NO shame in working a menial job. Too many people these days think they are "above" certain jobs...yet they don't seem to have a problem with sitting around and letting someone else support them.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
This is something true in my country. The state gives a social minimum to live to any unemployed people, and some people have a grant mentality and prefer to live with state subsidies than to look for a job. I have even seen people resigning after a few days jobs better than this one to go back to their social minimum : "I made my calculations and I have to pay a nanny for my child, to come here, and I will lose my housing assistance because I would earn too much, so I prefer to resign"
1 person likes this
@marguicha (94638)
• Chile
29 Jun 16
Probably I would not present it in my CV. Curriculi have to be a bit different depending on your needs.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
Lol, I bred rabbits during 3 years when I was studying law, I never put in in a CV, nor any student job before and after my "return to earth" period. I would probably do the same than you for this job
2 people like this
@sj3011 (631)
29 Jun 16
No not a big deal.
3 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
29 Jun 16
Not a big deal to accept the job, or not a big deal to refuse it?
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (16542)
• South Africa
12 Jul 16
well I suppose everyone who wants to EAT must have a job - so if that is all one can get, then do it in the mean-time. Make some money while waiting for magic to happen. Work never killed anyone - I have to do it daily (dont work with my qualifications anymore - i am now an executive housewife, Toilets and all)
2 people like this
@Inlemay (16542)
• South Africa
13 Jul 16
@topffer well you are all lucky getting a minimum given by state - that does not happen here so if you want to climb the ladder to the jobs above the toilet line, you clean the toilets first.
2 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
13 Jul 16
@Inlemay As a tax payer, I often think that we help too much people here : I have nothing against helping temporarily people going through hard times, but some people seem to have decided to live on public help all their life. I am not sure that it would be a good job for someone with a college degree, or only for a few months : you have to justify any large hole on a curriculum, and if you spend too much time at the toilet line, this risks to not be understood when you will ask for a job above the line...
2 people like this
@Inlemay (16542)
• South Africa
13 Jul 16
@topffer that is all in the toilet cleaners hands at the end of the day - they need to have ambition to find the right route to emerge from the bowl!
2 people like this
@EddieHands (37845)
• United States
7 Sep 16
I would rather work at in n out burger. Because I am hungry! Meow
2 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
7 Sep 16
Working in a rest area might suppress your appetite. Yes a burger would be certainly a better place to eat for free.
@CoolPeace (1593)
• Miami, Florida
30 Sep 16
@Eddie Hands it is better working as a cook there.
@Sneha464 (40)
2 Sep 16
One of the reasons for such test might be to see whether a person can do such task with dignity and honour by letting go of their ego. This technique was infact used by the Great Mahatma Gandhi to impart in us the thinking that No work, whether small or big, is insignificant.
2 people like this
@topffer (34146)
• France
2 Sep 16
You are giving an interesting explanation, but I do not think it is the right one. I read that it was an internship targeted towards engineers. I think that they want them to have an experience in the jobs of people that they will have under their direction.
1 person likes this
3 Sep 16
@topffer It was just my opinion that it might be one of the reasons for testing the interviwees. I am sure there might be other grounds as well... :)
1 person likes this
@ritwik17c (390)
• India
11 Jul 16
@topffer A really witty write-up. Here in India, none would choose that consciously as a tip here is out of question. Nonetheless, there are cases, in which people despite their qualification and capability have to do a similar job, mostly under compulsion..
1 person likes this
@topffer (34146)
• France
13 Jul 16
These jobs have quite disappeared with the apparition of self cleaning toilets in the streets here. The tips were small, but they were certainly adding something to the wages, so her calculations were not bad. I guess that anyone might have to do such a job to earn a living if nothing else is available.
1 person likes this
• India
13 Jul 16
@topffer I am quite unfamiliar to any such conscious engagement with willingness... what I know, for people here it could be 'by chance' not 'by choice' as the tip is something unheard of..
1 person likes this
@topffer (34146)
• France
13 Jul 16
@ritwik17c Other places, other customs.
1 person likes this
@CoolPeace (1593)
• Miami, Florida
30 Sep 16
If it is an internship that someone wants then it shouldn't be a problem. From reading your post I think automatic self cleaning toliet would be good for public restrooms or disable or elderly at home who unable to clean their bathroom.
1 person likes this
@topffer (34146)
• France
30 Sep 16
It was an internship, apparently targeted towards future engineers : they need to have a month working experience in a job needing no diploma to get their own diploma, and they found this offer for a minimum of five weeks abusive. Vinci removed it. Automatic self cleaning toilets are quite the only ones that you can find in the streets in France today, and they are usually free. A few "wee wee ladies" are back in the areas where the automatic toilets were used by junkies for another purpose.
1 person likes this
@CoolPeace (1593)
• Miami, Florida
30 Sep 16
@topffer I don't blame them for finding this abusive.
1 person likes this
• Austin, Texas
12 Aug 16
An internship cleaning bathrooms? With non-taxed tips as income? Oh yeah! I'd do it! Present it on a curriculum? No way. I'd keep it a secret and only tell a few about it and make them promise to give me a percentage of their tips if they get the job. Honest money is honest money!
1 person likes this
@topffer (34146)
• France
12 Aug 16
I doubt that you will get tips on a rest area. I read that it was targeted towards future engineers : they need to do an internship in a job needing no qualification, and some of them have a hard time to find one. And this one was not paid.
1 person likes this
• Austin, Texas
12 Aug 16
@topffer - Ah well! So much for "secret cash flows".
1 person likes this