Saturday, July 13, 2013

Interview a CP: Stephanie (Hollywood Studios Custodial)

Stephanie and her best friend at work!
Custodial is one of those roles that people originally think negatively about, but honestly I've heard a lot of people say they really enjoyed their experience in this role! Stephanie is one of them, and I'm glad she could share about her experience for you!

What role did you have during the DCP, and where did you work?
I was a custodian at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

What was a typical day like at work?
I got to work in the afternoon, where I would clock in and find out which restroom or streets zone I would be in for the day.  Then after Track Talk (a discussion with our mid-shift managers and coordinators about park hours, show times, and who the closing leaders would be), I would get my keys and other equipment that I would need for the day.  If I was cleaning restrooms that day (which I mostly always was), my partner and I would walk to our spot to find our openers and get our radios from them.  If I was streets, I would normally get my radio from the Keepers' Klubhouse and then head out to my area.  For the rest of the day, it's cleaning, cleaning, cleaning until the park closes and the second Fantasmic! show lets out.

Is this the role you originally wanted? If not, are you happy you got it?
The first time I applied for the DCP, custodial wasn't even in my Top 5 (although that was what I was initially accepted for).  However, for this second application, custodial actually was my top choice and I'm glad it happened that way!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
--My coworkers.  I love my coworkers so much.  They're the best people I ever could have asked for to work with.  We all click so well with each other that I'm sure guests around us wonder who the crazy people working for Disney are.
--The freedom.  My managers and coordinators are so easy-going about everything.  As long as we get our job done, then they don't have a problem with us.
--Knowing my schedule before it's actually posted.  I'll never work before noon and my clock-out time will be an hour and 15 minutes after second Fant starts or 45 minutes after EMH is over.
--The independence.  This goes along with the freedom thing, but there are days when I want to be myself and do my own thing.  I totally can do that and no one will question me.

--Training.  Don't get me wrong, training was a lot of fun and I love the woman who trained me, but it was only for two days (then there was an assessment and then Shadow Day).  Trust me, I was not ready to be on my own after only four days of preparation.  I'm much better now, but it was scary at first.
--Guests.  Every Cast Member has those days where they come home amazed at how awful people can be.  Custodians just seem to have more of those days than most CM's......
--International tour groups.  They get their own mention because they're uniquely awful.

Any specific magical moment you want to share?
Being a custodian who works mostly inside restrooms doesn't give a lot of opportunity for magical moments, but I have had a couple.
One time, I was cleaning my restroom and a grandmother and her two grandkids (one boy and one girl) walked in.  There was no one else inside, so I was able to hear a little bit of their conversation.  (Actually, all I could hear was the fact that they were speaking French.)  When the three of them left the stall to walk to the sinks, the grandmother started talking to me in perfect English.  I turned to the two kids (the boy was about four, the girl was probably two) and the grandmother said, "Oh, they only speak French."  I smiled at her and knelt down to get on the kids' level and asked them in near-perfect French how their day was going and what their favorite part had been thus far.  At first, the kids looked to the older woman, probably wondering if they should answer the weird lady in the bathroom who was speaking French, but she nodded and smiled at them and they answered me.  I ended up talking to them for a good five minutes and the grandmother thanked me when they finally left.  It felt really good talking to a couple of little kids in their language, especially when I kind of surprised them that I could.  (I didn't wear the language flag on my name tag because I was too lazy to get one.  And I'm horrible at giving directions in French, but that's a different story.)
Stephanie and her "twins"
What made you want to do the DCP?
The epitome of my field of study in college is working for ESPN at some point in your career.  (I'm a broadcast journalism major with a double major in sports management.  Ask me about sports and I'm your girl.)  The DCP was merely a way to get my foot in the door of the very large Walt Disney Company.  Even though being a custodian is very far removed from the Stats & Information department at ESPN (my practical dream job), just having this on my résumé shows that I've worked for the Company before, so I know how some things work.

Is there something you wish you would have known before doing your program?
I was fortunate enough to have a friend back home who had done the program three separate times, so I went to her when my parents had questions and concerns that I couldn't answer.  I'm a pretty independent person and I don't mind going into things without any background knowledge at all.  In fact, I prefer to figure things out on my own and in the moment then plan it all down to the exact second.

What advice would you give to those who are going to be participating in your role?
--DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!!!!  We've all been there, we've all done that.  In fact, if you ask nicely, we might even impart some of our knowledge and wisdom free of charge.
--Don't be "That Guy".  You may have survived training, but you still don't know everything yet.  Act humble for a little bit.  Do your job exactly as your trainer taught you.  Go on break for as long as you're supposed to.  I'm basically telling you to act like a newbie.  It won't kill you.  (If you do this, the CP's who are just about to finish their programs will love you. Trust me.)

What advice would you give to people who are interested in doing the DCP?
Apply first and see where that gets you.  Life may give you something better to do instead (that's what happened to me when I applied the first time), but at least you gave yourself the option to do the DCP.  The program will always be there (until the semester after you graduate from college that is).  You need to make the right decision for you first and foremost.

If you're a current or past college program cast member and would like to share your experience, email your name and role to to participate!

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