Joyce Washington: Getting to know a campus janitor and lover of people


Elana Guillory/The Lion's Roar

“Everybody’s not made to do every career. Just be the best that you can at whatever career it is. If it’s digging a ditch, you need that ditch so that water comes down that drain.” – Joyce Washington

After working at the university for four years, a spotlight is shined on a campus custodian who opened up about her personal life.

Joyce Washington, 58, is a janitor at the university.

Washington shared the passion she finds in her work daily.

“I like this, doing stuff like this,” stated Washington. “Everybody’s not made to go to college. Everybody’s not made to be a doctor. Everybody’s not made to do every career. Just be the best that you can at whatever career it is. If it’s digging a ditch, you need that ditch so that water comes down that drain. Every job, it all means something. Without me, our tables wouldn’t be clean, or the floors wouldn’t get mopped, or the bathrooms wouldn’t get clean.”

Washington’s favorite parts of her days revolve around her personality.

She discussed that the highlight of her days is putting smiles on the faces of students and her family.

“I have such a big family,” stated Washington. “I just go and make them laugh, and they say ‘Joyce, you could say anything to make anybody smile, you know, you just say stuff.’ I’m a people person.”

Washington has many relatives that she adores.

“I have a husband,” said Washington. “We’ve been married 26 years. One daughter and four grandchildren. She’s 39. She has three daughters and one son, and he lives with me. He’s my heart, and I love my other grandchildren too.”

Outside of her work as a custodian, Washington finds it necessary to spend time with those closest to her. She often devotes her time to family outings.

“I have a real big family, real, real big family,” mentioned Washington. “And we just have fun together. We do things, have picnics, and my dad had like 25 sisters and brothers. A lot of them, they have a lot of children, so our family is always having something. I like that.”

Washington shared one instance where she found herself without a car and working multiple jobs at once.

“I had two other jobs,” discussed Washington. “I worked at Seale & Ross Law Firm, and I worked for one of the lawyers. So I had three jobs, I had no car, I walked. And I came here for four o’clock, and I got off at 12 o’clock at night, and I walked home. Then I had to get right back up again and go to my job at the law firm.”

Washington described her love for other people when reflecting on the legacy she hopes to leave at the university.

“I’m just a good and kind-hearted person, and I would do anything for anybody,” explained Washington. “I would give anybody my legs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. Everybody does things, but I just want them to say, ‘Oh, Miss Joyce made us laugh.’ I just want to make everybody smile. I’m gonna treat them just the way they wanted to be treated. Just remember me for my pretty smile and my attitude.”