9 life lessons I learned from being a janitor

Most college kids get jobs as waiters or lifeguards or tutors when they need extra cash.

I did something slightly less conventional.

My sophomore year of college I landed a part-time job as a janitor. I made just $US6.25 an hour, and it wasn’t glamorous, but it was one of the best life experiences I’ve had to date. Why? I learned some invaluable lessons that have stuck with me every day since.

Here are a few that stand out:

1. People are generally self-absorbed.

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Many people don't think about how their actions -- even seemingly insignificant ones -- affect others.

For instance, when people go to the bathroom, they aren't thinking about aiming right so someone else doesn't have to clean up their mess, or about picking up the paper towel when their free-throw misses the trash can. No. They are thinking about finishing their business as quickly as possible so they can get out and get on with their life.

When I first started working as a janitor, this type of self-absorption annoyed me -- it got under my skin. But I eventually accepted it because I know we all have a lot going on in our lives and we're all guilty of being at least a little bit self-absorbed. Plus, it was my job to clean up other people's messes. That's what I signed up for, and what I was paid to do.

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