They are indispensable for keeping the campus going and keeping it pleasant, yet they are not always the first people you think of when you think about the campus: the cleaners, caretakers, caterers, gardeners, receptionists – the list is long. In these coronavirus times too, they play a crucial role. Resource seeks out these key people.
© Guy Ackermans
Name: Corina Hobé (37)
Family: two sons, Roy (10) and Jesse (8)
Job: cleaner in Atlas and freelance hairdresser
Motto: ‘Enjoy the little things in life’
‘I enjoy people and their stories. People like to unburden themselves to me. I’ll be cleaning and I can see from someone’s face that there’s something wrong and I ask them about it. And they tell me. I love that. I don’t know everyone here by name, but I recognize their faces. And I know what’s going on. I definitely feel I’m appreciated. If I’m away for a few days, they miss me and they say it’s nice to see me again. And people often thank me too.
It makes me sad that there’s hardly anyone around nowadays. Having people around me is an important part of my work. That’s what gives me satisfaction. Luckily, it’s getting a bit busier now, but it’s still not normal. And I don’t like change. I’m the hugging type too. It makes me sad that you can’t do that now, because I can’t be myself. That gets to me. But I’m happy that I can do my work, because I’d go crazy at home. Since nothing gets so dirty at the moment, we’ve been given extra jobs like cleaning the insides of the kitchen cupboards. And we polish door knobs, handles, taps, table tops and ledges extra often.
Normally, the hardest part of my job for me is vacuum-cleaning around people while they sit. They usually don’t mind, because they are pleased when it’s clean again. But before the coronavirus outbreak, I used to vacuum before office hours, because I felt awkward about it.
‘I used to want to be a beautician, with my own salon. I did a combined course to become a hairdresser and a beautician, until I got to the feet. I can’t stand feet, I just think they’re dirty. So I stuck to hairdressing.
But when the children started school, I wanted to do something during school hours, as well as my work as a hairdresser. Because just staying at home, I get stir-crazy. I like to keep busy. While cutting someone’s hair I heard that Asito was looking for a cleaner for Atlas, so I applied at once. I’ve been working here for four and a half years now.
I’m grateful for my job and I’m always happy to come back to work. It’s nice for me to know what I’m supposed to do, because I don’t like leaving my comfort zone. And my work provides security: I’m building up a pension and I get holiday pay.
If I had to choose a job now, I would choose a job in the health sector, such as working with children with a disability or with special needs, such as ADHD. I think it would be wonderful to help and look after them. But you have to train for that and I’m nearly 40. And I like security. So I think it’s OK the way it is.
I don’t dare to think about the future during this corona crisis. Prime Minister Rutte says ‘this is the new normal’, but this is awful. I hope it will go back to normal soon. And that everyone comes back in good health. I hope people will carry on being careful to protect each other. We all need each other, and not just at this time.’