Losing a cleaner is like losing your thumbs.
You don’t realise how essential they are in everything you do.
What bothers me though is not the fact of losing a cleaner but the unwritten status these people acquire in your life.
They are the bosses.
In fact, from a simple cleaner, I thought about many other professions where the real boss is this tiny, uneducated, uncharismatic, unnoticed person whom you wouldn’t even think he has a more original name than ‘paper boy’ or ‘tech assistant’ or ‘salesman’.
It’ll be that guy who, on a Friday afternoon, when you’re just about to get your dear life-saving laptop after being at the repair shop for eon years, he’ll say ‘sorry, we’re closed’.
It’ll be the nurse’s assistant’s assistant who, out of the blue, decided she wants to go into show business career, and your paperwork is left to pile up and be done by…the unit manager, you.
It’ll be the sales boy who after bringing the big bucks, he’ll one day pack up and leave for the competitor and take with him all your sales…contacts.
I used to run a few print publications for which I needed people to sell advertising.
I got a couple who were new to the industry, so I had to train them.
They learned well and became good sales people.
Actually, they became amazing.
What I didn’t realise back then though was that they weren’t amazing because they sold advertising well but that they remained loyal to me.
Sales people are probably the biggest bosses you could ever hire for yourself.
The sales boy will just scoop all your clients under your nose and leave you dry.
In fact, when hiring sales people all you want to see in their CV is what client base they’re bringing with them.
But when hiring sales people always do a prenuptial agreement to safeguard your future.
People like your cleaner or your salesman is what books call the ‘gatekeeper’.
But it’s true.
They are your company’s face (which equally means that they can embarrass you without you knowing or they can do a great job for your image).
They do all the dirty work.
In other words, they know your client (and your house) inside out.
They know you inside-out and they know where it hurts.
They’re also the ones who stay in direct contact with your clients.
If they’re good, they probably even know your clients’ kids’ names.
And that’s real power my friend!
Real bosses think they have it all but they don’t.
The truth is, they’re more vulnerable than anyone else in their companies.
And not for financial reasons.
But for human resources reasons.
I thought about our cleaner, leaving, leaving unpretentiously, unannounced, and leaving me in the middle of two projects, post-grad work, two kids and a third on the way.
And I laughed.
I laughed because I realised this awfully annoying truth about her, that she was always the boss of me.
She was the one giving me all the time I wanted and needed to work.
And thanks to her boss powers I could have all the precious time with my husband and our kids.
My mother cheered me in the most cheerful of ways, as always!
“Honey, other women have it much worse. They get beaten by their husbands”.
I laughed so much after reading this first thing on a Friday at 5 in the morning.
My mother is the antidote to all my worries.
And she’s right.
Others have it worse.
The good thing about adding more work – as in my case now – is that I get better at organising myself.
I won’t be surprised if I finally finish writing that book I started last year.
But this post is an attempt at creating awareness among housewives, managers, and company owners alike.
Those unnoticed people pushing the post trolley in the office, pushing the mop and the bucket in your house, or pushing your sales figures up, are worth nurturing and taking good care of.
Even though they may act like Divas.
Truth is, what matters is your own situation which, thanks to the cleaner and the sales boy is fantastic or dreadfully uncertain.