Canadian cleaners are generally respected and appreciated by employers and society, and they exude self-confidence and love for work.
In China, cleaners are the object of praise in literary works. I remember when I was young, when my teacher assigned essay questions such as “The Person I Admired Most” and “The Greatest Person in My Heart”, the students especially liked writing cleaners. For example: in the cold and dark early morning of late autumn, a lonely figure, obscured, sweeps the street meticulously. Shi Chuanxiang, the most famous cleaning worker in modern times, was originally a “dunghuazi” who was oppressed and despised in the old society, but became a model worker in New China and created a legend of the times. The dung-digging workers who are not afraid of dirty and smelly once provided touching material for us elementary and middle school students to write “the greatest people of our time”. However, the reality is very skinny. The income of cleaners is not high, and the work is dirty and tiring. It is not the ideal career that everyone is pursuing.
Subvert the traditional impression
Due to the influence of traditional thinking, we Chinese have more or less misunderstandings about the job of cleaners. Many people, especially immigrants who arrived earlier, feel that it is no good to be a cleaner. Most people would rather go to a restaurant to work than a cleaner. Even if they are a cleaner, they feel that they are not decent.
In 2003, I rented a multi-unit apartment next to the University of Ottawa. The neighbor next door was a young couple from Guangdong. The hostess took care of the 1-year-old child at home, and the husband worked to support the family. Although they rent houses like us, their living standards are significantly higher than those of us who live on student loans.
I guess her husband must have a secure job, and how to find a satisfactory job is our most concerned topic. So, when I was chatting with her, I just inquired about this information by the way. I asked her husband where to work, she only mentioned a location instead of the name of the work unit I wanted; when I asked him what kind of work she did, she changed the subject, so that after being a neighbor with her for more than half a year, I actually bothered I didn’t know what her husband did. It was not until the day she bought a house and moved to ask me to take care of her children that she told me that her husband worked as a cleaner in a public middle school. I understood why she didn’t want to mention her husband’s work.
What is so ashamed to say? In Canada, her husband’s job is not only not shameful, but also very decent. The image of Canadian cleaners is absolutely beyond your imagination. They don’t need to get up early and greedy, and they won’t get dirty, their workload is not heavy, and their social status is not low.
Our school has a cleaning team composed of more than 10 people. If they are not holding cleaning tools in their hands and driving a cleaning car, others will not know that they are not teachers. A while ago I worked overtime and walked late when I suddenly heard someone calling my name in English with a familiar Filipino accent. It turned out to be Renel, a cleaner who hadn’t seen me in two years. I heard from a colleague before that he asked me about my situation. As soon as we met, he happily gave me a big hug. He keeps his head, wears glasses, and is still as neatly dressed as he used to be, and he loves to spray perfume. According to the current words, he is a “fashionable uncle”, not at all like the cleaner in our impression.
I know all the cleaners in the school and I often chat with them, especially the uncle Ben who has a common mother tongue. He is from Taiwan and is in his 60s. He speaks good English. He wears a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He is the typical thin figure of the older generation in Taiwan. On the surface, he looks more like a retired teacher. He is humble, friendly, hardworking, and respected. We greet him every afternoon when he comes to work.
Canadian cleaners are generally respected and appreciated by employers and society, and they exude self-confidence and love for work.
Although there is an old saying in China that encourages equality in the industry, it is called “three hundred and sixty lines, the best of the best”, but in reality, China’s cleaners still face “job discrimination” to a certain extent. How many people are willing to choose cleaning as their lifelong career, and how many parents will proudly tell people that their children are cleaners?
In contrast, Canadian cleaners are much fortunate. They are generally respected and appreciated by employers and society, and they exude self-confidence and love for work. When I was working in the tax bureau, an Indian female cleaner would vacuum our office once a day. As long as she comes to us, without her calling, we will automatically put down the work at hand, get up and give way, so that she can clean the place under our feet and under the seat. When she finishes vacuuming, we will all say “thank you” or “thank you very much”. Now I work in the school, and the cleaners in the school are also very respected. When they cry for the loss of their loved ones, we will send comfort and hugs; when we have enough food for activities, we are the first to think of it. It is to leave food to them in the evening shift, because they always get off work hard when others are off work and can’t see them at work, in exchange for a comfortable, clean and beautiful environment; at the retirement meeting, they will get the same as their teachers. Gift, equal thanks and blessings.
Having a house and a car is not a dream
In Canada, many people choose cleaning work as their lifetime occupation. I also know many people who work in this field, some are cleaners, some are salesmen who promote cleaning services, and some are engaged in human resource management in this field. Why is this industry favored by everyone? Because cleaners do not need high education, nor do they need to take a license, the starting point for entry is low, and social needs are stable. They are an industry that is quick to learn and can support their families. Canadians trust professionals and believe that professional work needs professionals to do. Many people, especially the elderly, do not clean themselves even if their income is average or even if they have limited means. Instead, they ask someone to do it once a week or two.
In fact, it is not possible to hire a cleaner in Canada, so you must make an appointment in advance. I was in a hurry to move because my child was going to school last year. I wanted to ask a cleaner to help me clean it, but the agent who helped me buy the house told me that I couldn’t hire someone for the temporary request. Actually, I didn’t ask for on-site service for tomorrow, but even 3 days later, people felt it was too sudden.
Of course, people’s favor for this job is inseparable from its income. Compared with ordinary “tired neck workers”, cleaners are paid generously and enjoy complete annual leave and various social insurances. The hourly salary for cleaning workers is about 30 Canadian dollars. If you work 8 hours a day, your daily income is more than 200 Canadian dollars, which is about 1,000 yuan. A senior colleague of mine is a single mother. She gave up teaching and turned to cleaning work because of the high salary of cleaners. She did not return to her original post until her daughter grew up and the financial pressure was reduced.
The hourly wages of some private cleaners are higher than government regulations. Why is this? Because the government cannot spend taxpayers’ money indiscriminately, wages have risen very slowly. For example, I only increase by 50 Canadian dollars a year. However, prices have risen sharply in the past year or two, and labor costs have naturally risen. Eight years ago, private cleaners charged 20 Canadian dollars an hour, but now they charge 35 Canadian dollars. Last week, I asked 2 cleaners to clean for 5 hours, and it cost 350 Canadian dollars, which is equivalent to twice the salary of a bank front desk staff who has been working for several years.
So, if someone tells you that Canadian blue-collar workers make more money than white-collar workers, don’t believe it. The minimum hourly wage in British Columbia (BC) where I am currently is 14.6 Canadian dollars. BC’s hourly wage has been between 6-8 Canadian dollars in 2001 and lasted for nearly 10 years. It was only adjusted to 11.35 Canadian dollars in 2011 and then increased to the current 14.6 Canadian dollars year by year. The current bank front desk work starts at 15 Canadian dollars an hour. The wages of cleaners have been maintained at a level of at least 2 times the minimum wage. It is not an exaggeration to say that Canadian cleaners are well paid. For example, the annual salary of a restaurant waiter is about 42,000 Canadian dollars, and the annual salary of an ordinary white-collar worker is about 50,000 Canadian dollars. Everyone else owns the same as the cleaners. Naturally, there is no need to mention the house and car, and traveling on vacation is not a dream.
Chinese people like “iron rice bowls”, Canadians also like “eating imperial food”. Most of us Chinese who enter government departments rely on our expertise to do professional jobs that the locals cannot do. For cleaner jobs with low technical requirements, this “emperor’s food” is not something you can eat if you want. I once asked the aforementioned Uncle Ben about how he got the job, and his answer was not beyond my expectations: “I was lucky. There is a neighbor who works in the Education Bureau. She told me the news. I applied. Later, she became my recommender and was hired after passing the personnel assessment.”
The economic benefits and social recognition of Japanese cleaners are not low
In the UK, office workers and cleaners respect each other and have a harmonious relationship.
In Canada, the barriers to entry into the public service are not as high as expected. For example, as long as you have a legal work identity certificate, corresponding academic qualifications (because many Canadians do not choose to go to college, most ordinary positions only require a high school diploma), you can provide a certificate of no criminal record, and someone can prove that you are an honest, honest, A trustworthy person is fine. However, there is little hope of getting started. This is like a singing competition. There are a lot of people participating in the audition, and very few can go to the formal stage.
The difficulty in entering government departments lies in their recruitment methods. The recruitment of government departments usually starts internally. If the system is unable to recruit people, it will be open to the society; even for external recruitment, candidates recommended by internal employees are given priority. Therefore, for ordinary people without personal connections, the chances of wanting to hold an iron job are slim.
The purpose of this recruiting method is not nepotism, but out of trust in internal employees. It is just that the personnel arrangement pays special attention to seniority and seniority is a painful process. In our school, it is impossible for ordinary cleaners to work day shifts. Only one or two experienced workers can get the morning shift worksheets from 7 am to 3 pm, and the rest can only be at 3 pm Evening shift at 11 o’clock in the evening. Therefore, being a cleaner in the public service is really not an ordinary lucky one, and being able to work in a day shift is even more difficult.
Cleaners also have expertise
The professionalism of Canadian cleaners is commendable. They are well-trained cleaning angels and environmental beauticians. When they come, the dirty world is gone. Last week, a student in our school accidentally dropped the lunch box on the floor, and the soup and other food were spilled on the floor. The student apologized at a loss. The lunch supervisor immediately cleared the venue and surrounded the site with pagoda tubes. Ask a cleaner for professional treatment. In our opinion, if you pour some soup and sprinkle a la carte on the ground, can’t it be done by sweeping it with a broom, and it needs to be so exciting? However, the cleaner came with her own set. First, she took out a 20 cm high plastic jar and gently shook the jar body. After the yellow powder spilled on the ground evenly covered the food, she began to remove the dirt. The cleaned ground does not leave a trace, which is different from what we did.
Our school cleaners not only use brooms to sweep the floor, they will use a small cleaning and maintenance vehicle to remove the dust first, and then grind off the marks on the ground, so that the cleaned ground is very clean. It is true that there is a specialization in the art industry, even if it is sweeping. They are proactive and meticulous in their work. In order to make the classroom look larger, our department wants to replace the triangular desks with rectangular ones. Renelzai carefully asked my request before leaving. When I came to work the next morning, I saw neatly arranged tables and chairs, newly added cabinets and sofas all in place.
Although my friend Betty and her husband are in their 70s, they are keen to travel around the world. Every time they go out, they leave the keys to the cleaners and ask her to clean the house regularly. She proudly said to me: “I never have to worry about losing anything. My first watch is there, and it has never been moved. If you want to hire her, I can help you ask if she has any available seats. You.”
From the cleaners, we can see that Canadian society has indeed realized the professional ideal of “only the division of labor is different, there is no distinction between high and low”. In fact, not only Canada, but many countries in the world-including our neighbors Japan, Singapore, and other European and American countries, the economic benefits and social recognition of cleaners are good. Chinese people like to say “no comparison, no harm”, but I think the comparison should not bring harm, but should be a change in the perception of things. If we know the current situation of cleaners in other countries, should we be grateful from the heart when we face cleaners in the future?