‘When I decided I would do cleaning, first I discussed it with my family’, said Mrs István Konkoly, Marika. ‘My husband supported me all along, he encouraged me to try it and see for myself if I liked it and wanted to carry on. My daughter didn’t have anything against it either, when she’s asked about my work she tells it straight that I’m a cleaner. I feel appreciated in my work, there are some who specifically asks for Marcsi to clean her room. What I do is a matter of trust and has a lot of heart in it. If somebody leaves their coffee cup on the table, I wash it up and don’t make a story out of it later in the break. What I see, I keep to myself.
You have to understand what you are doing as a cleaner in many ways, this is something newcomers find surprising at first. You have to know your detergents through and through, what can be used for what, which detergents mustn’t mix. Our floor cleaners are alkaline, whereas for windows we use acidic cleaners. Since the coronavirus appeared, we get to clean even more surfaces, using special detergents on door handles. And which is the most difficult part of my work? Maybe the mopping. A cart can hold 15 liters of water which has to be changed quite often to ensure efficiency. Clean water is the point of the whole process, without it all the detergents are good for nothing.
You got to bend your back and carry stuff a lot. For this work you got to have good physical condition and be able to carry on till the end of the shift. Of course there is a way to help us, for example if the office workers clean up their desks, it’s easier for me to dust the desk. If there is no obstacle (shoes, boxes) left under the desk, I can reach around alright with the vacuum cleaner. Or say, if your wrap the chewing gum into a paper napkin before throwing it in the bin, it won’t stick to the bin wall when I’m emptying the bin.
Those who are more demanding about their environment tend to notice my work. There were times when I found a thank you notice on the desk, or on the keyboard, I keep them in my shift log. It’s a great feeling when they notice my work.
Our work is teamwork. We cover a bigger area in pairs. If somebody is reluctant or doesn’t support their pair, they will never be part of the team, no matter how long they are coming to work.’
MRS ISTVÁN KONKOLY, MARIKA