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To hate the way some people talk to cleaners?

(102 Posts)
clairemcnam Fri 01-Mar-19 12:55:47

Or anyone else they see as below them.
I have seen this in a variety of workplaces, both small private firms, the public sector and universities. Staff with well paid jobs being patronising, talking down to people and making it clear that they think they are better off than cleaners and any other staff with a low status. I hate it, and yet it is fairly common.

amusedbush Sun 03-Mar-19 16:00:44

I don't really get this. Are you saying all staff are part of the team?

There are thousands of members of staff across the University. No, the cleaning staff do not work in my immediate team but what I mean is that I do not view the cleaners, security or maintenance staff as any different to my colleagues in Finance, IT, HR, etc. We have our own day to day teams but we're all as crucial to the University functioning as the Principal is.

I couldn't respect someone who spoke down to a person because they viewed their job as beneath them.

BlueJava Sat 02-Mar-19 16:44:26

Personally I always say hi and have a chat because I see that many people at work don't do it and I don't like it - we are all colleagues after all. However, at my last company there was a cleaner there and I'd often see her, say hi, ask how she was etc. She hardly responded but I just thought she wasn't used to people at work speaking to her. Finally, one day just after I said hi, how are you? She shouted "Everyday you say how are you, I tell you same as yesterday, no change for me. Why you ask every day?" I was like "oops, that told me" and just smiled and said hello after that! Made me laugh (to myself) afterwards though!

Bowchicawowow Sat 02-Mar-19 16:28:49

My dc tell me that the teachers in their school are all exceptionally friendly towards the cleaners and dinner room staff. There’s lots of mutual tea making. I think that sets a good example for the children.

Dontsweatthelittlestuff Sat 02-Mar-19 16:19:53

Years ago I when my children were young I did shifts cleaning in a hospital. Worst job I ever had and not because of the work. It was the general attitude of the nurses who treated the housekeeping staff like something they had trod in and I am sorry to say it was the midwifes in the Labour suites who were the worst. The nicest were the doctors who apart from leaving takeaway containers in the on call rooms were generally very good to housekeeping staff.

YouTheCat Sat 02-Mar-19 15:50:34

I know someone who talks to anyone she deems as 'lower' than her like they are shit on her shoe. She tried it with me. It didn't go well for her.

GreyGardens88 Sat 02-Mar-19 15:40:25

Being a teacher isn't exactly a highly paid, high powered career itself, I don't think teachers should look down their noses at cleaners

800msprint Sat 02-Mar-19 15:36:44

I'm happy to report my old workplace treated our cleaners with great respect. They were part of the family really. One guy had worked with us for over 10 years through an agency and when he moved agencies we made the effort to go through the paperwork to keep him on. We knew all of them by name and always had a chat about this and that - family life, weather etc! I work for a charity though so possibly types of people different though I've never heard of people treating cleaners in workplaces badly thankfully

SandyY2K Sat 02-Mar-19 15:30:55

The cleaners in a large office are very useful people to be on good terms with. It pays dividends to keep them sweet.

I'm wondering why you need to keep someone sweet to do the job they're employed to do. I'd expect people to treat cleaners with the courtesy you would treat other members of staff.

The only people I've kept sweet even when they did something I didn't like were childminders or nursery staff.

I'm really not into grovelling to people of a higher grade or treating those in a lower job grade differently. I once had a manager in another team talking down to me (on email) and she was shocked that I dare respond (because she was senior) and tell her I found her email rude. I actually said more than that.

She then complained to my manager, who agreed the original email wasn't good, but bearing in mind her grade, I shouldn't have responded like that and I should apologise.

I said her email was out of order and if she pushed it, I would take out a greivance, so there's no chance I was going to apologise.

So your 'team' works in isolation?

Liaising with other departments does not make us part of the same team. Many companies have external providers for things like IT support, Payroll, HR etc who they liaise with, but it doesn't make them a team.

You may see every employee as part of your team in a small company, but that's not the case in a larger organisation with thousands of employees.

A large organisation needs a structure, which consists of individuals services areas and teams, otherwise it would be chaotic.


*@SandyY2K what did he say in response?*

It was quite funny actually because as I was serving their drinks, he asked what the chef's special was. I said I'd go and check, as was running a bit late coming straight from Uni and hadn't seen the chef yet.

His DD gave him a look and I could see him getting red from his neck upwards. I walked away at that point and heard whispers as I did.

Strangely enough he was always friendly and chatty with me after that. He didn't know I heard his original comment. It wasn't said for me to hear.

Lovelydovey Sat 02-Mar-19 13:26:23

I work in an office -always say good morning to the security staff and cleaners and hold doors for their carts etc.

RedLipClassic Sat 02-Mar-19 12:27:34

I'm an NHS domestic just now while deciding what I want to do since finishing uni and am constantly being spoken down to. Weirdly, the auxiliary nurses are the worst for it which I don't get at all considering they're getting the same wage as me for (what I consider to be) a much harder job.

And the amount of people who are surprised and change their tone towards me when they find out I have a degree and own my home is crazy. But as another PP has said, it doesn't elevate my opinion of them at all.

MariaNovella Sat 02-Mar-19 12:02:25

I had a cleaner who I treated very well. TBH, she took the piss big time, reducing her hours from 9 to 6 because she wanted only to do part of the job I had employed her to do and taking holidays at her own convenience at times that were a nightmare for me. When I moved house I took the opportunity to let her go. She was very surprised as she thought we had a very good relationship.

WaterlooElephant Sat 02-Mar-19 11:51:05

I work for London Underground. Some cleaners are given separate rest areas which are frankly, disgusting. Why some cannot share station staffs rest areas is a mystery to me. Some cleaners are treated appallingly by my colleagues, especially in zone 1, and I really don't know why.

The cleaners on my line are usually eastern European with excellent English, degrees coming out of every orifice, and are bloody hard workers. I have the utmost respect for them, as do all the station team. They are very much underpaid. One of the cleaners regularly works double shifts to keep her family afloat. They are subcontracted and I've seen their managers treat them like absolute shit. I have taken them to task over it.

There is still snobbery between the corporate side of TfL, and Operational (trains and stations). Quite often we get someone from Commercial Property who is trying to rent out a station tenancy, who comes in to sign in and immediately throws their weight around, showing off to a client. They speak to us like we are the shit on their shoe. I ask for their superiors name and drop them an email. I'm not standing for disrespect from someone who thinks we are lesser than them, because we don't have our own office.

I have also had dealings with some corporate folks who try and complain about the beggars outside the station, or that our customer care wasn't to their liking, or we didn't deal with an incident to their specific desires (ie they can't take a train cos the line is closed) and our managers ask us about it...once it's been established we were just doing our job, they tell these people to quietly go away.

Eliza9917 Sat 02-Mar-19 11:23:17

I agree - I always judge people by how they treat people around them, especially in the service industry such as cleaning. Unfortunately our office cleaner is a massive time drainer as he won't stop talking to you, tries to read what you're doing and is also full of shit He claims to have been an Army sniper and to be ex-SAS    and has several younger colleagues convinced with his crap. So I smile, nod, say hello, move all my stuff out the way for him and crack on with my headphones on as usual. That and his incessant sniffing drives me mad, but I'm weird about noises anyway.

Haven't you seen the equalizer???

Fraxion Sat 02-Mar-19 10:50:53

Some people can be arseholes. I was working late one night, no-one else in the office apart from the cleaners (big corporate place). I went to get a coffee and asked the lady cleaning my area if she wanted one. She said it was so nice I spoke to her as she felt very looked down upon by the majority of the staff. Bloody awful.

MaHeidsGouping Sat 02-Mar-19 10:48:31

I'm a domestic cleaner, I started up nearly 2 years ago when I was made redundant from my job which had nothing to do with cleaning. I have a nicer car than most of my clients and go to America every year as my DH has a well paid job.

Yes I'm embarrassed to say I'm a domestic cleaner but I like cleaning and like my clients. I've never been spoken down too but funnily enough in my previous job doing childcare the parents could be bloody awful at times.

Tbh I think I'm only embarrassed because of the things I read on MN about cleaners.

Froggyface Sat 02-Mar-19 10:46:45

@SandyY2K what did he say in response?

Mammiemaw Sat 02-Mar-19 10:38:14

I find that some people will mostly dismiss but sometimes be out and out obnoxious to those they view as below them. I have worked behind a "counter" for most of my working life- as a barmaid, shop worker and receptionist and found that some men especially thought this gave them carte blanche to say what they want, including commenting on weight looks etc.

I now work as an office manager in a small business where everyone from bosses/owners down to cleaners are very much included and kept informed.

ScreamingValenta Sat 02-Mar-19 10:25:00

The cleaners in a large office are very useful people to be on good terms with. It pays dividends to keep them sweet.

ACoverIsNotTheBook Sat 02-Mar-19 10:24:55

I have held numerous jobs but my highest paying was running my own cleaning business, I made literally double the hourly rate of my last (managerial!) job and was able to set my own hours, holidays and pick and choose my clients.

However this was all offset by the nature of the job, it was hard, hard work, I gave it up to study full time but it always makes me snort when I hear people patronising their cleaners or talking about how they could never do it, I know for a fact I made a lot more per hour than some of my clients did. Yes it’s not a job that’s never going to stimulate the brain but I commend anyone who can look past the job title and make themselves a decent wage for an honest days work.

WhiteDust Sat 02-Mar-19 10:24:41

Staff in finance, IT, Facilities or Events are not part of my team, so why would the cleaners or maintenance staff be?

So your 'team' works in isolation? The people in finance, IT, Facilities or Events are never used by you? How do you get paid? Do you use computers? Do you book events?
Do you clean your own office?

WhiteDust Sat 02-Mar-19 10:18:48

Never judge a person by their job!
Many of the TAs, support staff, cleaners at work have a higher standard of living than I do. Many have the same.
My TA's husband is a Lawyer and used to be a teacher herself.
As far as I'm concerned , we are all in it together.

SandyY2K Sat 02-Mar-19 10:16:04

I think it's a case of organisation culture. I get in before 8 o'clock, that's why I even see her in passing. The rest of my team bar 1 person don't see her at all.

They can't really clean properly when people are in the office, but I imagine with a smaller company it would be different.

Nobody is better than anyone else. When I was a student I used to wait on tables and also worked in an upmarket fitness club. I'll never forget one of the members saying to his daughter, "If you don't work hard at school, you'll end up like her" pointing at me.

I was shocked and tbh felt it was something to do with me being black, or he might have just been an all round idiot and would have said the same if I was white.

I did say something the next time he was in with his DD, to correct his assumption, but that was because I wanted to show him (in front of his DD) not to judge things on face value or make assumptions.

Caxx Sat 02-Mar-19 09:51:11

I used to be a cleaner in a well known supermarket chain years ago when they had their Christmas dinner I had to sit in the changing room/toilets to eat my sandwiches as I was employed by a agency even though I had been there years

Limensoda Sat 02-Mar-19 09:48:24

Our cleaner at work became one of my best friends and still is. I have no idea why anyone would think cleaners are beneath them.

notacooldad Sat 02-Mar-19 09:45:51

We are a relatively small self contained team. There is 1 manager, 1 deputy,2 seniors 6 frontline and 1 cleaner.
We work in a house rather than an office and we work shifts and also work outreach so not everyone is always around. The cleaner is part of our team. When some brews up, makes toast, brings cakes in it's for the team including the cleaner. Same with secret Santa,staff nights out etc.
When the kids are doing arts and crafts and make something for us they make for her as well. Same when they make cakes, one is always made for her. On fact thinking about it.the cleaner is probably the most consistent figure for the young people I work with see as she is there every day Monday to Friday, the rest of the staff will have time off during week, not start until 16.00hrs some days, if they are part time may only come in a couple of times in the month and so in. Our young people have a good relationship with her. As she isn't seen as a social worker or other sort of children's professional we have noticed that kids who come to us in terrible circumstances talk to her first. She is also very noisy and funny which they like!

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