Some of my articles regarding emptying trash have been questioned by readers. It is the option of some that I make the work of a janitor sound more difficult than it actually is. According to one reader, “All a janitor does is pull trash, dust a little and goof off,” and I am, in fact, making the job sound like something it is not. I’d like to clarify.

We are not in the cleaning business; rather in the people business. We serve you and I apologize for letting you down in your expectations. I regret that you have observed a worker “goofing off” but can assure you that most of us really take our jobs seriously and simply do not have time to goof off very much, if at all.

I can assure you that custodial work is not only taxing but can be dangerous to those who perform these repetitive tasks day in and day out. For instance, do you realize the exposure risks a custodian takes each day when they clean the typical rest room? They run the risk of not only being exposed to dangerous pathogens on surfaces but also in the air. Go the video that shows a “toilet sneezing” to realize the droplets of vapor are not necessarily plain, safe water.

Try to pull a trash can liner where someone has thrown away a needle or broken glass or messy diaper. Then experience the fatigue that comes from sweeping a floor, pushing a vacuum cleaner, sweeping/mopping stairwells, hauling trash to a dumpster that may not be conveniently located. Try bending over for hours using a bowl swap to clean toilets and urinals. Then stretch yourself to reach vents only to have the particles drift into your eyes and nose. Take a strong whiff of some cleaners and aerosols that are part of the supplies provided. In the end, we want you to be able to take for granted that your office area will be clean, inviting and safe upon your arrival. Most custodians deserve your respect, not your disdain.

Maybe the person you observed was just tired since this could easily be a second job so he/she can provide for their family just to make ends meet.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or