Life of a Campus Worker


Relaxing on an island beach, finally saying ‘I do,’ or even sitting behind a desk doing clerical work are all the places Tamika Sanders daydreams that she was instead of standing behind a register all day. Outtakes, IUPUI’s convenience store in the campus center, is just a stepping stone before Sanders enters her career. 

Sanders was born and raised in Indianapolis and went to ITT Technical Institute where she graduated with a degree in business management. She currently lives on the far east side with her fiance and two of her three children. Her eldest daughter, 20, is a sophomore at Indiana State University studying pediatrics. Her other two children are in high school and middle school. 

“My kids go to school and I get to see them off. Then when I get home I still have the time to spend with them, cook a little meal, and get their homework done before their bedtime at 9,” which Sanders says is her favorite thing about working Monday-Friday from 12-7. “They’re not missing any of my time and I’m not missing any of theirs.”

Besides her work hours allowing her to have more time to spend with her children, other benefits she receives from working for Chartwells, IUPUI’s food service company, are the basic dental, health and vision benefits, and vacation hours. If she or one of her children were to go to IUPUI, they would get a discount on tuition, but currently there aren’t any employees that are also students. 

However, IUPUI does not provide parking passes for workers. Sanders has been working at Outtakes for the past five months and last week she bought a parking pass, drove to work, and parked on campus for the first time. Her EM pass is $47 per month. Students complain about the limited amount of ST spots, but on Sanders’ first day driving to work with her new parking pass she left a little bit earlier just to search for over twenty minutes for a spot, almost causing her to be late. 

“It’s really hard to get a job because you have people out here who have been at their jobs for so long and they want to retire at these jobs,” Sanders says about the administrative jobs that she has been filling out applications for since she graduated. “That’s why it is hard for me to get hired because they [companies] are not going to let their old school people go.”

Sanders hopes that this job will just be a step before working her way up in the company and eventually leaving the register behind for a desk and computer. Although, with the current turnover in employees, Sanders will have to stay in her position until there are workers to take her place.

“To improve the work environment, I would prevent a lot of the turnovers in the company for the employees coming in and then they leave. I don’t know what happened, but they become dissatisfied and leave,” fellow cashier Elizabeth Ollison says about one thing she would do to change the company.

Currently the majority of the cafeteria workers are older and a lot of the younger employees are the ones quitting. Sanders believes that a lot of the older employees are here to stay and will retire from this job.

This campus is full of students working toward their career and Sanders is no different. Since she started she hasn’t missed a day of work because she hopes earning the respect of her bosses will further her chances of moving up. This next year is a big one because not only is she getting married after four long years of being engaged, but also moving toward putting her degree to work.