Backbone of America:The Invisible Workforce
We are people, too!
We’ve all used them, hell, most of us have probable BEEN them, or still are. We are those little people, the beings that those with money basically seem to use without caring, seeing or being grateful for. We are those who bring you your food in restaurants. We are the ones who make your bed and give you fresh towels when you stay in a hotel. We are the ones who clean your toilets and pick up after your kids if you are fortunate to have maid service in your home. We are the ones who make your hospitals and doctors offices shine and sanitized, preventing infections and the spreading of diseases. We are the ones who cook your food while you sit and enjoy a meal that you don’t have to slave over. We are the ones who restore your power in the rain, who make sure your cars don’t die on you or a wheel fly off while you’re on the highway, who make your trash disappear from the curbside every Tuesday. We are the biggest majority of workers in America and around the world, the ones behind the curtain, the ones who really make everything work-the ones that are forgotten and taken advantage of. Today, I am going to concentrate on the ones that clean your world, since that is the industry I am a part of.
I am a maid. Yup, I hate to admit it, but I work for a company that provides maid service for those, again, fortunate enough to be able to afford it. I have been in the “cleaning” industry for almost ten years, ever since I discovered I couldn’t afford college or get any aid. I took a job three months after I graduated because it sounded “exciting and different” and I needed cash! I cleaned after fires and water damages and was able to demolish the insides of houses affected by mold. I enjoyed the satisfaction that came from bringing a home back from tragedy. Then I moved on to various related jobs, from office cleaning to hotel room service and now, here I am, ten years later; tired, battling back problems, tendinitis, and a constant worry about what all those chemicals I’ve been breathing in over the years has done to my insides. And I’m not even thirty. And I’m still cleaning for a living.
Let’s face it. If you are not brought into this world being fed by a silver spoon, then be prepared to work, and work hard. Also, be prepared to be nearly forgotten, to get paid horrible wages, be denied most benefits, and be treated like absolute dirt.
I’m going to stop here for a second just to be clear-not everyone that uses these services are awful. I have had some clients and customers that gushed about my work, thanked me a billion times, and tipped better than I could have imagined. But for every ONE of those, there are at least FIFTY people that Just. Don’t. Care.
I’m talking about those people who fill their $400 a night hotel room suite with bags from Macys, Swarovski, and Abercrombie and Fitch, have two laptops and an IPad for their kid stacked on the nightstand, takeout from Olive Garden thrown in the corner, and empty bottles of wine everywhere-and don’t leave a tip. These people seem to just be completely oblivious to the fact that when they return from their day of shopping and throwing money around, they have new clean sheets on a freshly made bed, all their trash is gone, and they have fresh towels folded on the rack. Their shower is sparkling and the crap they got on the toilet seat is gone.
Same goes for those who have maid service, like the type of people I clean for. Some of them are very nice, but I can’t believe how lazy some people can be. Nothing is worse than dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing someone’s house while they sit on the couch and sip coffee and watch TV while they use their laptop. Then they bark orders at you, “Hey, can you do the sunroom floor? Also, vacuum the furniture”. No please. No thank you. Just me feeling like friggin Cinderella wishing a fairy godmother would come along and turn me into a princess, even for just a day.
If you are fortunate enough to have a maid or someone do a service for you, please, don’t take it as an invitation to be a complete slob. If you can’t seem to aim right at the toilet, or have an unfortunate #2 episode, be a dear and wipe it up yourself, instead of leaving it for three days until we get there. Empty your own trash if its full, and please, for the love of God, tell your college kids not to roll their eyes and slump away irritated when I ask if I may have their room for a moment to make their beds and vacuum their floors. Rich parents: You are raising a generation of entitled, lazy, spoiled young people. I am amazed that my 16 month old son will help me put his toys away and put clothes in the dryer, but these 20 year olds can’t seem to get their booger filled tissues in the trash can. But why should they care? Someone else will do it.
And that’s the attitude I hate. “Someone else will take care of it” That’s why people throw up on the floor in a hotel room and don’t care. Someone else will clean it. That’s why people let their kids throw food on the floor and laugh when they smear donuts all over a window. The maid will clean it. But what I hate even MORE then that attitude is the ungrateful complaining that comes along with those that don’t get their services JUST PERFECT. You know what? If you don’t have to clean your house, ever, and someone happens to miss the waste basket next to your piled up desk in your office, why can’t you just take care of it this one time? The amount of time you spend on the phone yelling at our bosses is much more than the time it would take you to, God forbid, empty your own trash. If you are sitting on your butt doing nothing when the power is out, don’t call and complain endlessly that it’s not on yet. There are men, yes, actual men, spending time away from their families, climbing poles and balancing in buckets in the elements, sometimes still in torrential rain and winds, trying to repair that for you (that one I take personally, because my father is one of those men). If you don’t like how something is done, here is a wonderful idea, probably foreign to you- Do it yourself!
Here’s what you need to remember, and I think it will help you become a better person in the long run. These people that make the world go round, behind the scenes, are PEOPLE. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, etc. They have arms, legs, feet, hands, wrists, and backs that ache and throb and are subjected to all those illnesses that spread around (because we have to sanitize your surfaces so YOU won’t get sick) and all the dangers that come along with prolonged exposure to chemicals and just plain unsafe environments. Many have chronic illnesses but can't afford to stop working. We get headaches, we have bad days, we don’t make that much money, we are worried about getting hurt because we don’t have insurance, we are worried about our bills and if our car has enough gas to make it home from work. We have a lot of problems, one of the biggest being our thankless jobs. And the worst part is: we have to go home and do all this stuff ourselves in our own homes, because WE don’t have maids.
So please. Be nice to those that serve you. That waitress might seem a little rude, but you know what? She is probably worried about how little tips she made that day and how much she has to pay her baby sitter. That housekeeper that doesn’t smile much might have a bad pain in her back, or is just plain tired from cleaning sixteen disastrous rooms in one day while only making five bucks in tips. So just be nice. Make the world a better place, and be nice to those that make YOUR life easier. And, for the love of God, our wages are meager, so please LEAVE A TIP! If you just dropped seventy dollars on a meal or $150 on a hotel room, I think you can manage to leave five bucks on the nightstand or the table.
From the backbone of America- Please remember us, and help US have a good day, and we will make sure yours is great too. Because remember-we see all your dirty secrets, we touch your food, and can put your toothbrush wherever we want. Just sayin'.