Q&A: Student discusses what it's like working for Parking Services

Shepherd senior Jessica Greening gets back into her car after giving a ticket on April 27 in Lot 50.

Shepherd senior Jessica Greening has worked at Parking Services for three years, patrolling lots and ticketing cars parked where they don't belong.

Despite having profanity and rude gestures thrown at her, Greening continues working to make sure everyone on campus has a place to park.

Greening would also like it to be known that people driving through parking lots on campus should really drive slower, please.

Greening allowed Central Michigan Life to ride along with her as she patrolled Lot 33 to see what it’s like to work for Parking Services as a student.

CM Life: "What made you interested in this job?"

Greening: "I wanted to maybe do something in the court system, so I thought this would look really great on my resume. I was really excited when I first applied, but now it’s just a job. 

What’s a day on the job like?

We work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., usually. Sometimes we have morning shifts from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. or evening shifts 5-7 p.m. We come in and grab our stuff, like our ticketer, radio and envelopes. Depending on the weather, we walk (or drive) campus and give out tickets and then come back.

How many tickets do you issue per day?

It depends on the day. Monday usually has more tickets because some people forget to move their cars on Sunday. For an average day in the middle of the week, probably about 20 to 25 tickets.

Do you get hate mail?

We don’t really get hate mail, but we actually as a group go on Twitter and look at the dumb stuff people post and laugh at it. Stuff like "Parking Services needs to go die" or "Have a good day everyone, except Parking Services." That’s my favorite one. 

When we’re out (working) we do get a lot of profanity yelled at us and (middle) fingers. You just kind of grow used to it though. It sucks that you have to grow used to it as part of the job.

The people can be mean, but some people will say, "Thanks for doing this." We get a lot of faculty come up to us and say "Hey, thanks for ticketing this lot. There’s a lot of students in here and we don’t have a lot of spots."

I always try to tell people who don’t like us that if we didn’t do our job you wouldn’t have a parking spot. Freshmen would be all over your spots.

How do you know when someone is parked where they are not supposed to be?

(Lot 33) is a commuter lot, so if you look around all the passes on the vehicles should have a yellow sticker or a faculty permit. If we see a freshman, they have a red sticker, so we know that they’re not supposed to be here and we go ticket them. A self-pass is purple so if we see purple in a commuter lot, that’s a ticket. 

You can usually tell when they’re parked on the endcap, because there isn’t another line on the other side of their car. We’re just kind of used to the lots so we know where they’re not supposed to be. It’s kind of just common sense to be honest. For meters, we have our Pango app. People are always like, ‘How do you know if I’m paying or not?’ We have an iPad connected to the Pango system and it shows all their plates and who’s paying and who’s not.

You see different people every day and you have different interactions with people, but it’s kind of boring. It’s a boring job. This is all we do, drive up and down the rows.

Some of us are trained in the office and we work with the full-timers. We’ll get some experience and knowledge about the rules of parking so we can better explain them when people ask us.

What do you do in the office?

There are a lot of phone calls during the day. People come in to pay tickets or get permits. Faculty will come in and get day permits or students will come in and get week or two week permits. Everyone with a yearly pass gets two free weeks in case their car breaks down or something, so we get a lot of students getting their free week or two free weeks. We give out one-hour loading passes to people who need to load up their stuff.

We get a lot of angry customers in there too. After a day of yelling, you’re kind of exhausted.

What parking lots usually get tickets?

There are certain lots where you know you’re going to find a ticket, like faculty lots. If I were to go over by the (Education and Human Services) building, that big lot in the front, there’s usually a ticket in there. A lot of freshmen like to park in the residence lots, especially the south ones.

What do you like about the job?

When somebody says, ‘Hey, thanks for doing your job,’ that’s really cool to me. You’re making an impact on something. It might not be big, but you know it’s there. 

It’s cool to be in contact with the police officers. You make friends with the officers. You learn a lot about the behind the scenes stuff. 

I was working that day the shooter was here. It was scary but interesting being in the dispatch area hearing them work on it, and it makes you feel safe.

What’s it like to work with the police?

It’s intimidating, but it’s cool. They’re looked up to by so many people and you get to work with someone like that, it’s like working with a role model.

Are there any misconceptions about the job?

A lot of people think we have quotas, but we don’t. If we had quotas and we got commission off of it, I think there would be a lot more people wanting to (work for Parking Services) but we don’t. We just ticket people who aren’t in the right spot. We’re not out to get people, we’re really not. We don’t target people. We just happen to see your car there a bunch of times and it seems like we’re targeting you. 

Is there anything you’d like to share with other students?

Just recognize that we are also students. 

We’re not mean people. We’re your friends, your neighbors. Just have some respect for us. If you had a bad job, we’d have respect for you.