Valentina Demoskoff was inspired to apply for the job of housekeeping attendant by her sister-in-law, who 25 years ago was working at the Slumber Lodge hotel in Grand Forks. Valentina started as a janitor at the Sandman Hotel in Castlegar and became a housekeeping attendant 18 months later.
Valentina’s strong work ethic has more than compensated for her Grade 7 education. Raised on a farm in Alberta, she helped her family do everything — from haying, feeding chickens, pigs, turkeys and cows, as well as milking cows and pumping water by hand for the animals.
Her day currently begins not with barnyard noises but by simply being given a list of rooms to clean. On average, a standard room can be prepared for a new guest in 30 minutes, while changing the linens every other day and refreshing the room for a continuing guest takes 20 minutes. Thus far, her only formal training was a Workplace Hazardous Material and Safety Systems course, which taught her about dangerous chemical interactions.
Valentina likes seeing the result of her efforts in a clean and welcoming room. Initially, she found it a challenge to meet and talk to guests, because of shyness, but being required to talk to the clientele has helped her become much more outgoing.
She would definitely recommend the job to anyone who likes physical work, as it is “great exercise,” she says. Also, the team of people she works with is like a family whose company she thoroughly enjoys. Although she is looking forward to retiring in four years, she does not plan to quit a day earlier because she is still in good health and loves what she does.
Anyone considering a similar position, she says, must be happy to “respect the guests and be pleasant and polite.”