One of Haida Tafolla’s favorite parts of her job as a custodian is getting to know people—her fellow custodians and the other Lumberjacks she chats with in the course of her work. It’s work we all benefit from but don’t always notice. For National Custodian Day on Oct. 2, Tafolla talked to The NAU Review about how her childhood traditions continue to influence her family, what brought her to NAU and just how early her workday starts.
What brought you to NAU?
What brought me to NAU was the great benefits that this job has to offer and knowing that I would be a great addition to the custodial department. I have so many years working in custodial, and I am definitely a talkative and friendly person that likes to interact with people. Getting the opportunity to work for NAU has also given me the chance to get to know more people and learn a little more about NAU.
What is a day in the life of your work at NAU?
My day as a custodian starts at 4 in the morning and goes to 1 p.m. Being here early gives us time to get ahead on our daily cleaning routine. We have a chance to get our buildings nice and clean so that staff, students and professors can come into a clean environment.
Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
My most significant childhood memory has to be going to Mexico every summer break and Christmas break and growing up in the Mexican culture. For example, in the Mexican culture, we enjoy things such as their food, folk art traditions, the many different Indigenous languages, family gatherings with numerous family members and celebrating a lot of important holidays in a very unique way. I believe growing up in the Mexican culture has impacted my life today because I am able to pass along the tradition to my three kids, giving them the privilege to also pass along the Mexican culture in the future.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I always wanted to be an IT tech or an investment representative because I like dealing with money.
What have you been most proud of recently?
Professionally, I would have to say I am mostly proud of myself for being able to apply for a higher-up position because of past and present experiences. In my personal life, I am proud of how I am raising my children to be open-minded to the future and the possibilities that will await them if they persevere in their life.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
The best way to spend my days off is definitely doing family things such as hiking, swimming, biking, picnics, traveling, going to parks and being adventurous and outdoorsy.
What are three things on your bucket list?
Three things on my bucket list are to visit the boat lake in Xochimilco, Mexico. I would love to also visit Cancun and Playa Del Carmen in Quintana Roo.