While I’ve on the university summer holiday, I’ve been working as a cleaner for the Uni, helping clean the student accommodation which is being used as ‘hotel’ rooms for things like conferences and summer schools. I normally work for the team responsible for the higher end of room. Some of this is four star accommodation, and very nice it is too. How any student can afford to live there, I don’t know.
After we got past the initial deep cleaning, to remove any trace of the students who had been living there, it wasn’t too bad. The cleaning is pretty routine, and setting up the rooms is fairly easy. The hours aren’t great, and it only pays minimum wage, but it’s money and the staff are friendly.
I was asked to help out a different team today, offered more hours (9-5 instead of 11-4), so I took them up on their offer. I had assumed it would be much of the same. This was my first mistake.
The team is running behind time, and they seem to be getting a little panicked. To solve this, the boss appears to have got it in his head that he can solve everything by planning everything down to the minute. Somehow, they determined that it takes precisely so long to clean a room or a corridor, and have it timed so precisely that an hours delay to the start means the plan needs to be completely rewritten.
Of cause, in my house it doesn’t go to plan. I find a room which takes me twenty minutes longer than planned to clean a load of stickers off of a cupboard. Oh, and all the heat and running around then sets off a nose bleed I had thought had healed yesterday. This consumed another half hour, both waiting for the bleed to stop, and then scouring the floor to make sure I’d found all of the blood I had dripped on to the floor.
The end result was a room being missed, along with a lot of the communal space.
Throughout the day, almost once every half hour, we had someone come in to inspect what we were doing. Every time, the only feedback we got was what we had done wrong. Not once did we get a thanks. Not once did we get a ‘good work’, or ‘well done’, or even ‘that’s okay’,
Oh yes, and I’ll I got from my partner was ‘work faster’. Which, given that the last time I worked with him I and one other had to constantly pester him to work, didn’t go down well.
When we went back to the office at the end of the day, we reported our progress, explaining all the whys and wherefores. In reply, we got an ‘oh’, a disappointed glare, and a request that we come in tomorrow to finish it off. Oh, and a ‘is there a reason you had a nose bleed? Is there something we should know?’.
Now, I know I’m only a casual worker, but I did not appreciate being treated in that way. I have never had a problem in my normal team. I can complete things on schedule (to the point where I have needed to go back and get more work), and feel that my work is actually appreciated.
Funnily enough, when asked to do extra work, I declined. This gave me another disappointed ‘oh’, but I’m busy both days they wanted anyway, and, even if I wasn’t, I have no desire to work with them again. As long as I get a choice, I won’t be going back. Rubbish job it may be, but it shouldn’t be that rubbish.