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My Early Days
Not long ago were my days as a professional contract cleaner in a major building in the City of London. I started as an employee of a big firm where I was trained in the mastery of efficient quality cleaning (at speed).
Contract Cleaning Training
Now, commercial building cleaning is totally different to domestic cleaning. In a commercial building environment you must be efficient. What does that mean? Well, you need to clean quickly and effectively. At the same time you are trained to be safe. I know it sounds trivial, but you will be surprised to learn how many accidents happen during a cleaning shift in almost impossible scenarios. But that’s a different subject I am planning to touch on a bit later.
Getting back to my early days in my career as a professional cleaner.
As an experienced member of a flourishing deep clean team I was looking forward to my first job in charge as a supervisor. I had worked hard shown promise, and in my eyes was the right man for the job.
Countless nights I have been honing my craft. I could strip, scrub and seal almost any floor surface. I could plan a high-level dusting and vacuuming job, I could prepare risk assessments, I could write down method statements. Most of all I was ready to learn anything my job threw at me. I was ready for the next logical step in my career. Hunger to achieve is a big driving force in my life.
OK, enough background for now. Here is what happened that night.
The Actual Story I Wanted to Tell
We arrived on site with 6 large rooms to strip and seal. It was a floor cleaning job with re-applying the seal after the thorough clean of the hard floor surface. A little detail – there were a few different types of floors. I saw the various floor finishes and took the real wood floor. One I knew the results would look good, and as the boss on site I wanted to lead by example. All the team set to work, and I said I would check it all afterwards. So far so good, right?
Some hours later I had stripped and prepared my floor. I decided to work from one side of the room to the other, so the wax seal can be applied evenly and I could safely leave it to dry without having to walk over it. I would then use the fire exit in the corner, leave to dry and check on the team. I work quite quickly with floor polishes and that leaves me plenty of time to inspect the work of my subordinates. OK, I know what you are thinking right now – the fire exit door was locked, right? Wrong. I had checked the handle beforehand. Door opened fine and I pulled an inch to test. All good.
At some point one of my colleagues came to ask me something. I was literally putting the final touches to the wooden floor. I put the last stroke of wax and stood quietly in the corner, admiring my finished floor. A piece of beauty that was. I am always very proud of my completed work. Gives me that feeling of self-worth satisfaction with a job well done.
Confidence is King
As I stood there admiring my masterpiece, my worker asked me what I was doing. She politely inquired whether I was stuck with the wet wax and nowhere to go from there. ‘Are you trapped?’, surprise in her eyes. She was clearly referring to the lockled door and the shiny sticky sea of freshly applied polish. Reaching to the door, puling the handle down and opening slightly about an inch (I was at the hinges end of the door, so I couldn’t see what was behind the door, obviously), I said ‘No’.
Just then the caretaker arrived, “No, the door is open, however, it’s not as it says a fire exit. It was changed to a store cupboard, your friend is indeed trapped.” I imagine the surprise and genuine fear in my eyes have been hilarious, to which my team (yes, a few others joined the fun in the last minute) began to laugh out loud.
The moral of the story – always ensure that as one door opens, another truly does not shut. Hahaha. Got that.