Are you often picked on while cleaning? Or singled out at work by other housekeepers? The subtle signs of bullying in the workplace are easy to miss.
The good news, though, is that turning the tables on mean coworkers is easier than you think.
Listen: Picked on While Cleaning
Watch: Picked on While Cleaning
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Are You Being Picked On While Cleaning?
Are you being picked on while you’re cleaning? There is a housekeeper, and she works for a hotel who asked this question.
“I work as a housemaid at a Comfort Suites. I’m fast at what I do, but I guess I’m not fast enough, but I’m very, very fast. I know I am because I have been through so much work. And the big dogs, the ones that are fast, they’re picking on me, but they don’t pick on the slow person.
But they’ve been picking on me because I have the potential and everything like that. So, I want to ask you, am I doing something wrong, am I doing something bad or good?”
You Should Not Be Treated That Way at Work
This is terrible for you because you should not be treated that way while you’re at work. Here you are giving your heart and soul, you’re doing the very best you can, and you’re being bullied.
Maybe it’s jealousy or if you’re outsmarting someone at their own job, they’re afraid they’re going to lose their job. But it happens when two teams are put together and they go into a property to clean.
It also happens between a house cleaner and a homeowner. The homeowner gets jealous that the house cleaner is better and that her husband or her family is not going to think as much of her because she didn’t clean her own house. So, there’s bullying and there’s making fun of and snide remarks in house cleaning. It happens all the time.
You Can’t Go Down to Their Level
Now I would love to give you a series of strategies for you to punch your opponent in the proverbial nose. But I’m not going to do that. There’s no value whatsoever in taking someone down to raise yourself up. Never happened that way and it’s never going to happen that way. You can’t go down to their level.
Instead change yourself and the way that you perceive their bullying. There are lots of bullies out there. There will always be bullies and haters out there. So try to change the way and reframe the way that you think about it.
What I Learned From Sean Cannel
So, the first thing that you have to realize, and this is a concept that I learned from Sean Cannel, who is a big-time YouTuber. And his concept was this. If 100% of people like you, you’re a people pleaser. And if 100% of people don’t like you, you’re a jerk. And if 50% of people like you and 50% of people don’t like you, you’re probably a leader.
I loved that concept because it’s so true for every industry that people work in. So as a house cleaner you are there cleaning, you’re doing your best, you’re learning, you’re getting faster, you’re learning the systems and the methods and all that stuff. It’s very possible that you are a risk to them.
So you have to realize, even if it gets worse and they fire you, you now have a new series of skills that you’ll be able to take to any hotel, and you’ll be able to get another job because of those skills. There will also be people that secretly admire you that will give you a recommendation, so you don’t need to worry about your level of skill and your future.
Why are People Being Unkind to You?
However, why are people being unkind to you? And oftentimes it’s a matter of somebody who wants to prove to you how smart they are so that you will respect them equally. So, try turning the tables. Usually when a person bullies you; they’re trying to get noticed. They’re trying to get attention. It’s like when a tiny child acts out and they cry, scream, yell and act out. Usually, it’s because they want attention from their parents.
It’s easy for the parents to lash out and yell, scream, threaten and all these things back because that’s how it made them feel. But that should be a trigger.
When someone makes you feel that angst and anger, what you should do is stop and realize, this is a person that’s just trying to get your attention. What is it that they need at this moment?
You Have to Stop and Listen
So oftentimes it means you stopping and listening. And if somebody is making fun of you because you’re not working as fast, what you might say is, “Hey, you’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have. Would you mind showing me what the best methods are because I really respect the way that you do your job and I would love a few pointers.”
And they might say, “Well, yeah, sure, here,” and then they’ll show you how to do it. Because once you’ve turned the tables and you have let them share with you what they know, it might be that they just want it to be appreciated and recognized as well.
In house cleaning and housekeeping, it’s a pretty thankless job, you give your heart and soul, and oftentimes there’s no one on the other end to go, “Hey, great job, super that you did so much cleaning and that you were so fast and efficient.” Very rarely do you get that.
What to Say to the People That are Bullying You
So, if you were to partner with these people that are bullying you and just say to them, “Hey, listen, you might have a better way. I would love for you to show it to me. How can I do that as well?” This often defuses the situation.
Most times you’re in a home, cleaning, it’s the homeowner that’s having these bullying attacks. Oftentimes you can stop and ask them, ”Is there something that I specifically did that triggered this behavior, or is there something else going on?”
And oftentimes they’ll stop, and they’ll say, “Well no, I guess I’m just feeling inadequate because I don’t clean my own house.” Then you can say, “Don’t feel inadequate. That’s why you paid me. You’ve outsourced this task because you have more important things to do. This is just not your priority. It doesn’t make you any less of a house cleaner. You probably run circles around me.” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re right. I am pretty important. I have a pretty important job. That’s why I hired a house cleaner.” It doesn’t make you any less of anything to have hired a house cleaner. No shame.
When You Have the Conversation it Makes it Better
And then as soon as you have that conversation and you’re able to get it out in the open, oftentimes they will run circles around you to try to help and encourage you. But you have to lay it on the table, and you have to break it down and you have to give it a name.
So don’t be afraid of the bullies but, be aware that maybe they need attention. They could be feeling unappreciated and unloved. And by just asking a question or saying things like, “Hey, show me your technique. I’m all ears.” Maybe that’s all it needs to turn them around.
Then once you have those conversations and you’ve kind of bonded a little bit, it’s possible you can become best friends.
You Don’t Have to Like Everyone You Work With
Some of the people that I work with right now, we agreed on day one, we don’t have to like each other, but we have to respect each other, and we have to work together. And it’s amazing the hoops that we jump through even on bad days.
Because everybody has bad days from time to time, and you’re going to get irritable, have PMS, mood swings or whatever.
And on those days, you have to remember, “Oh right, we agreed on day one that we might not even like each other, but we’re going to try respectfully to get along in the same space.”
You Might Be Able to Patch it Up Easily
So this might be one of those scenarios that you can patch things up really easy without it going down the road of you losing your job. Or being threatened, frightened and all these things because that’s not a good environment to work in.
So, don’t try to change them but change you and the way that you interact with them. Because right now you can give all your power away to them or you can keep all your power and you can empower them to be nice to you.
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