Susan Purdy has worked as an environmental services technician (EVS) at Grand Casino, Hinckley for 15 years. EVS provides cleaning services in restrooms, on the gaming floor, hotel lobby, convention center areas, associate areas, and office areas. They also clean ashtrays, wipe down slot machines, sweep, vacuum, wash walls, dust, mop, sanitize restroom fixtures, and may run large cleaning machines.
Purdy is assigned to the offices on the second floor. She is responsible for cleaning offices in the HR department, Administration, Learning and Development classrooms, accounting area, the associate break room and bathrooms. “The first thing I do when I come in is clean the bathrooms,” Purdy said. “Then I pick up the garbage. Then I start working on the classrooms. I clean them, vacuum, wipe tables down.” She then moves on to office areas in HR and Administration. “If I have extra time I also clean windows and blinds in the conference rooms,” Purdy said.
Purdy used to work on the casino floor prior to transferring to her current work area. “There, we had to clean more spills, clean up if someone got sick, and clean ashtrays and machines,” Purdy said. She also explained that during the swing shift it gets busier. But that during the day it is usually slower, so there is more time to clean stalls and walls and wipe chairs and table games. On the casino floor Purdy also helped to direct guests to stores, restaurants, hotel and restrooms if they did not know where they were located.
Purdy’s favorite part of her job is interacting with employees and guests. “I get along with everybody,” she said smiling. “At least I try.” Last month the associates from Learning and Development and HR threw her a surprise potluck birthday lunch. “I was really surprised,” she exclaimed. She has made friends with fellow associates, and they appreciate her hard work. Purdy can be heard throughout the day as she chats with associates when she comes into their offices to clean. She enjoys engaging in lively discussions concerning everything from healthcare reform, to taxes, to the need for greater self-sufficiency.
Each department assigns the new associate a sponsor. This becomes their go-to person, and is someone who trains the new associate and can answer questions and help them become acclimated. When Purdy was a sponsor, on the first day she trained the new associate how to clean restrooms. She showed how to properly wear gloves and a mask, and answered any questions. “Then on the casino floor I taught them how to clean without interrupting guests,” Purdy explained. “You get to know some guests really well. And you can tell which ones don’t want to be bothered and which ones want to chat.”
“I tell a new associate to give it two weeks,” Purdy explained. “Then you know if you like the job or not. And if you’re not happy, you can transfer.” She also encourages associates to attempt to interact with everyone. “Get to know associates and guests, help them, as long as your work gets done,” she encouraged. “And if somebody is more negative, avoid them. Otherwise they will bring you down, too.” Purdy explained that there are days that any job is going to be very boring. “And then there are days that it’s going to be crazy,” she said. Purdy suggested that new associates be willing to learn, be willing to do the work that’s required, willing to work a flexible schedule. “Yes, the casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Purdy said. “So this is not going to be your 5 days a week job. But that’s no different than jobs in hospitals, gas stations and nursing homes.”
For Purdy, the most rewarding part of her job is interacting with people. “The highlight for me is the people.” She enjoys having fun and joking. “We all have our days when we gripe,” she said, “but the next day it’s all better.”
Outside of work Purdy enjoys doing things around the house. “I like planting flowers, growing a small gardens,” she said. “I also enjoy reading a good book, even though they are hard to find now.” Purdy also likes watching comedies. She loves her cat, who has a habit of licking her face at three in the morning when she’s sleeping. “Maybe he does it because I snore,” Purdy wondered. “He’s a pain the butt.” Purdy enjoys cleaning, and at the same time brightening guests’ and associates’ day with her smile and friendly conversation.