When we started Freedom Cleaning Services my wife, Mardi, was going back to school to get her degree. Shortly after she graduated, we had some close friends over. I was chatting with one of them and he said to me, “So, what’s Mardi going to do, now?” I informed him that we had a business (he knew this) and that we would continue to work the business and grow it. He laughed and said, “But she has her degree, now. She doesn’t want to clean houses for the rest of her life, does she?”.
I don’t believe he intended for his comments to be as hurtful as they were, but I think he erred on two points. First, he implied that owning a cleaning business was just about cleaning. He ignored the fact that as co-owner, Mardi had to work on marketing, bookkeeping, sales, scheduling, customer service and purchasing (not necessarily in that order). Tasks that he, as a route sales driver, didn’t have to worry about (except for the selling, obviously).
The second error on his part was the assumption that a job in service to others was somehow menial or demeaning to a college-educated person. The thought that performing a task that makes people’s lives easier, while it can be back-breaking and grungy at times, is somehow beneath a college-educated person is offensive to me. Heck, Mike Rowe makes a pretty nifty living off of doing disgusting, dirty things.
We know we’re not curing cancer, here. The job that we do is by no means essential to human life. We are a luxury and we are under no illusion otherwise. We provide a service. Perhaps we can make someone’s home healthier or save someone some time, but in the end, it’s a service. There have been many quotes about serving others. Some of my favorites are:
We all work in a service job, regardless of what our actual title is. Whether you’re flipping burgers or making sure your shareholders get the biggest return for their investment, you work for someone. At the end of the day, however, we must answer to someone more important than our direct supervisor or our customers. More important than our spouse or our children. We must answer to ourselves. We should be able to look ourselves in the mirror before we go to bed and say, ‘I did my best today using the gifts that I was given. I did my job in my chosen profession and I did it well’. If you can say those words to yourself, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a high school dropout or have a doctorate, you are a person of value.
What service do you find absolutely indispensible?