Career Story: Administrative Assistant For A Large Custodial Services Company

Administrative Assistant For A Large Custodial Services Company

Job Title: Administrative Assistant

Education: Northern VA Community College & Old Dominion University, 186 credit hours in Liberal Arts, Police Science & Marketing.

Previous Experience: I worked as a test administrator for a contractor that provided pre-employment testing services to several large companies worldwide. Prior to that, I worked for a small government contractor for ten years. I have also worked in Marketing and Sales. I was a county police officer in the 1970's.

Job Tasks: My company is contracted by the City of Norfolk's Public Schools to provide management of custodial services for all the City's schools.

Typically, I interact with schools on a daily basis, providing substitute custodians when needed, assisting with problems, such as materials, staffing, etc. My day is roughly 50/50 with essential versus administrative tasks.

A typical day starts with the morning full of finding substitutes for custodians who have called out, for whatever reason. In addition to these duties, I handle most of the administrative functions of the office, including Accounts Payable/Receivable, tracking of expenses and spending, creating forms and spreadsheets to assist in the operation of the business, and various other duties. I talk on the phone a lot, speaking both with custodians and substitutes and other members of the Norfolk Public Schol system. I correspondend almost daily with the Human Resources Department for the City schools. My company is the largest supplier of custodial management firms in the world. The company have offices all over the world.

I have only been with this firm since November, so I am relatively new here. There are four Area Managers, each of whom has a certain percentage of the 60+ schools in the City of Norfolk. We also have a General Manager (my boss) and a Warehouse man who runs supplies to all the schools in the city. In addition, we work closely with the Norfolk City Schools offices, notably the School Plant office, where the City houses not just administrative personnel, but carpenters, painters, electricians, etc., that help to maintain the schools in the best-possible conditions.

I am amazed by the attitudes of the substitute custodians I work with on a daily basis. These are people who are, for the most part, fairly economically deprived. But they are willing to work hard. Many of them ride two or three buses to get to the schools when they are called on to substitute. A few of them ride bicycles to the bus, then ride the bike from the bus stop to the school! It is rewarding to see this kind of dedication from people who just want to make an honest living and take care of their families.

As you may well imagine, taking care of a school as a custodian is hard work. Some of the high schools are huge, and have custodial staffs of over 15 people. Other schools are very small, with only two or three custodians who daily clean and maintain every room in the school. And as any mom can tell you, kids are messy!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the feeling that I am providing someone with positive work and a way to earn a living. The attitude of my best people is something rare and wonderful to behold. These are people who WANT to work, but may not have the skills or abilities that would enable them to hold other jobs.

Hmm, the worst part? With my apptitude, it has to be anything involving numbers or math. I'm so glad I do not have to take care of payroll, for example (it's handled by the City). Numbers and I don't get along very well.

Job Tips:
1. Keep an open mind. People will surprise you if you give tham the opportunity. Don't stereotype people.

1. Read, read, read. Everything and anything. Reading increases your mental capacity, enhances your visions, and nurtures your soul.

2. Learn keyboarding. In today's computer driven world, typing with two fingers is just not practical.

3. Keep on top of your field...whether it be technology or stacking cans of soup in the grocery store, check out web sites that talk about the industry you are in. You never know when some of that information you glean may be of assistance to you in your career.

4. Try being creative! Instead of doing something the same old way it has always been done, find a different way to do it!

Additional Thoughts: Get as much education as you possibly can, the earlier the better. Respect other people, and learn as much as you can from everyone you meet. Don't be afraid to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Volunteer. Keep your family close, because your family will always be there for you, whether they want to be or not. Think outside the box.

Popular Schools offering Office Management Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads
Platt College
Alhambra, Anaheim, Ontario, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Degrees: Associate
US Colleges
Montclair, Riverside, San Diego

U.S. Colleges has been helping students enhance their career skills since 1996.


  • Programs: Computerized Office Specialist, Computerized Office & Accounting Specialist
  • Degrees: Certificate

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

  • Programs: Administrative Office Professional
  • Degrees: Certificate

Congratulations! Your interest in Independence University is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

  • Programs: Business Administration (BS), Business Administration - New Media Marketing (BS)
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

  • Programs: Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Master of Science (Online)
  • Degrees: Master

Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986.

  • Programs: AA - Digital Marketing
  • Degrees: Associate

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

  • Programs: Business Administration Entrepreneurship (MBA) - Online
  • Degrees: Master
National Career College
Panorama City

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

  • Programs:
  • Degrees:

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs

At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Accountancy
  • Degrees: Master

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

  • Programs: MS in Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Executive Secretaries And Administrative Assistants

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Executive Secretaries And Administrative Assistants, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104