Some readers may remember that back in May, I resigned my position as Associate Professor of Philosophy at Felician University in protest at malfeasance I encountered at the university, malfeasance that upper-level university administration wanted covered up. These same administrators apparently expected me to help them cover it up, but I wouldn’t and didn’t; after a ten-day standoff with these assholes, it became clear that they wanted me off of payroll and out of the way. As an at-will employee at a non-tenure-granting institution (five years on the AAUP’s censure list), I had no viable institutional options for dealing with corruption that willful and entrenched, so I quit before they fired me. I’m glad I did. As I’ve been saying for years, Felician is a sinking ship. It’s only a matter of time before it goes under.
Since then, there’s been extraordinary turnover at Felician from the President on down. The recently-hired Interim President is a disgraced former prosecutor for the U.S. Navy (oh, the irony) with academic credentials appropriate to an adjunct hire. Despite lacking a graduate degree of any kind in political science (much less a terminal one), he’s been given the position of (full) Professor of Foreign Relations in the School of Arts and Sciences. The Board of Trustees that approved this hire is led by one Chris Swenson, a Texas cattle rancher who wouldn’t recognize an academic value if it charged him and gored him in the stomach.
In short, Felician has, at this point, reached a degree of unapologetic shamelessness that wears its corruption proudly on its sleeve. This is a school practically demanding–praying–for de-accreditation, and if God is just, will get just that.
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a position in the Support Services unit of the Operating Room at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey, about twenty minutes southwest of where I live. Basically, I’m a glorified janitor specializing in OR cleanup: the OR EVS team sanitizes the OR between surgical cases, and gives it a comprehensive or “terminal” cleaning at the end of the day. As far as pathogens are concerned, what we do can be captured in either of three simple words: the ones in the title of this post, or seek and destroy.
I worked briefly as a janitor at Overlook Hospital in Summit as a summer job during college sometime around 1990; those ancient qualifications are essentially what got me this job. If anything, my academic CV almost lost me the job before I got it. I make $13 an hour for the day shift, $14 for the evening shift, and time-and-a-half for weekend emergency call once a month. I’m hoping to land a per diem job in “regular” hospital housekeeping to try to make ends meet.
In purely financial terms, I sort of feel like I’m living out the thesis of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. But so do a lot of people. And man doesn’t live by bread alone. Neither does woman. Fact is, I spend 40+ hours a week living in a Metallica song. Whatever the wage, that’s pretty hard to beat.
I love the job, love the people I work with and for, and would go so far as to say that I like the institution I work for as well. What I love about the job and why is something I’ll explain in due course. For now, I thought I’d just introduce a new series here at PoT, which I’ll call EVS Journal–“EVS” being the acronym for “Environmental Services,” the official name of our unit.
The idea behind EVS Journal is just to record some random thoughts and impressions gleaned from doing the job–or, perhaps I should say, thoughts and impressions that are consistent with all legal regulations and institutional policies governing what’s permissible and proper for an employee to say in public about what happens in his workplace. This includes but is not limited to the proviso that everything expressed here (by me) is my personal opinion for which I alone and am responsible. Further, nothing–and I mean nothing–is intended to represent Hunterdon Healthcare’s position on anything (as per Hunterdon Healthcare Employee Reference Guide, pp. 21-22, rev ed., June 2016).
Hoping to post maybe once a week. Stay tuned.
A very sanitized depiction of what we do, trust me.
PS. I haven’t been able to find a particularly realistic video, but this one is a close approximation. What it depicts is ordinary non-OR EVS rather than OR EVS, but it’s at least a realistic depiction of what it’s supposed to be depicting.
That said, the EVS worker would be wearing substantially more protection than what she’s wearing in the video if she were cleaning a room that had housed a COVID positive patient.