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"Not my job"

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Amazonia posted 7/1/2013 13:16 PM

There is a common attitude in my office of "that's not my job".

I understand it as a concept when it is work. People have different jobs, people specialise in things, people don't have bandwidth to do everything and do it well. Admin people should do admin work, execs should do exec work, program staff should focus on their own programs, etc.

Where it bothers me is when people do things like spill water on the floor at the water machine and don't clean it up, or overflow the coffee maker and leave a puddle leaking everywhere, or take the last doughnut and leave the empty box sitting there when the trash bin is three feet away.

When I use the kitchen, I tend to wipe down the counter, since it's generally covered in water, coffee, sugar, salt, crumbs around the toaster, etc. I have sixty seconds while the coffee machine brews my espresso, might as well just wipe things down.

Three years ago, I started here in an admin job. I have since grown the position to be one of substantive work. I like the work, not overly fond of the company though. The only other people who I've ever seen wipe down the counters are two admin women who are close to retirement, and have been doing admin jobs their entire lives.

The other day, I was wiping up someone else's spilled coffee when another person on my same "level" walked by, and admonished me not to clean the counter. According to him, doing so shows a lack of ambition and will pigeonhole me into being a low level employee forever. According to him, it's a akin to "dress for the job you want" - execs don't wipe up spills.

W. T. F. Is being a dick really necessary to advance?! Has anyone else encountered this attitude? Am I being naive to think that by making the office a slightly less gross place to work, I will make a favorable impression (not to mention just being a decent human being), rather than digging myself a shallow grave?

itainteasy posted 7/1/2013 13:25 PM

Oh Ama, I work with pigs too.

NO ONE in this medical building is capable of putting a rep lunch away or wiping the counters/tables or doing the dishes.

We have one doc that actually spills/drops food all over the place and STEPS OVER it. He also will put his plates next to the bin but not in.

We think his wife follows him around at home with a mop/broom/vacuum/laundry hamper.

He has said and I'm quoting literally "My job is saving lives not cleaning up messes"

Well, my job is drawing blood and sending it off to the lab properly handled and labeled. Not cleaning up messes.

Yet, I clean.

Being a dick, I hope, is NOT a requirement for success.


From one counter cleaner, to another, thank you for not being a pig.

[This message edited by itainteasy at 1:26 PM, July 1st (Monday)]

Lyonesse posted 7/1/2013 13:30 PM

In my field, and I suspect in many others, having the support of the admin staff is vital. Having been at both ends of the job hierarchy, I know it makes a good impression when there is that one exec/professional who takes the time to relate to staff as a human, make his/her own photocopy, wipes his own spill. That is the person staff wants to go to bat for.

I always try to chat with our admin people, maybe bring a small gift when I come back from a conference (like $1-$2 small). I know I get various special privileges because the admins have my back, and my paperwork magically makes it through the system while others are waiting.

I think your co-worker has a rather narrow view of how things work. No, he shouldn't be neglecting his job to go unplug the bathroom drains, but he also doesn't need to be seen throwing his paper towel on the floor instead of in the bin.

I know my H has been able to solve a lot of problems for his department because he has always kept good relations with the operations staff and the janitorial staff. People think he is the amazing problem solver and he looks good. His secret is pretty much not to be a dick to people whose help you might need. It's not his job to do anything related to the facility, but when he was able to solve the A/C problem with one phone call, everyone thought he was a wiz with amazing pull.

nowiknow23 posted 7/1/2013 13:38 PM

One of the lessons of office life is that at least half of the alleged "grown-ups" in the world are really petulant, messy adolescents at heart.

I'm a mid-level manager, and I wipe down the counters when I'm in the break room and even clean up spills on the floor so no one slips on them. And there are directors in there all the time doing the same thing.

If I saw a VP doing it, I might be surprised, simply because the VPs never go in the break room - they send their admins instead.

Dark Inertia posted 7/1/2013 13:48 PM

Oh, wow! This thread reminds me of someone who said that if there is no trashcan in the bathroom she will just throw the paper towel on the floor.

The other day someone spilled orange juice at work on the counter, and then just left it there. Seriously?

[This message edited by Dark Inertia at 1:48 PM, July 1st (Monday)]

MissesJai posted 7/1/2013 13:59 PM

I've personally seen our CEO wiping down counters in the bathroom and in the kitchen on the executive floor, so that gives me hope. I'm too am one that wipes down counters and cleans up messes behind others. There is a small group of us, our director included, that cleans behind others. Its frustrating as hell. Between the kitchen and the ladies bathroom, I wonder what the hell these people's homes look like!

[This message edited by MissesJai at 2:00 PM, July 1st (Monday)]

TrustNoOne posted 7/1/2013 14:40 PM

"Not my job" does not fly in the Fortune 100 Corp where I work.

Everything is everyone's job. In fact, were anyone to mutter those words it would get around pretty fast.

I'm a Director - and I clean up the breakroom, have wiped up spills, scrubbed a coffee stain out of the carpet, and even picked up the errant paper towel off the ladies room floor.

"Not my job"....pfffft.

We spend more time in the office with each other than at home with our loved ones. The least we can do is be clean and respectful.

letitout posted 7/1/2013 14:42 PM

I'm a SAHM now, but when I worked as a dietitian it was expected for me to clean up everyone's messes. Dietitian does not mean food sanitation of employees (I worked in research) But I did it anyway because it's my nature to be neat. Then I hired another Dietitian and the fun started. She actually tried to "up one" me by redoing the whole kitchen and labeling things, and going to the supervisior telling him how SHE does all the cleaning. I thought that was a crazy way to get attention.

lieshurt posted 7/1/2013 14:45 PM

In my office, "that's not my job" applies to the men. There are 3 women (including me) and 8 men, but it's always the women who end up cleaning up.

welcome14 posted 7/1/2013 15:18 PM

I work in a medical clinic and it's just as likely to see one of the male docs wiping up and washing whoever's dishes in the sink and the female supervisor does also, so I work with a great group here, and if I heard someone say "not my job" I would sure call them on it. Not your job to make the day more pleasant in an easy way that doesn't cost a penny? Really? Good on you for doing it, and keep up the good work!

Amazonia posted 7/1/2013 15:21 PM

Most in my office won't do it if someone is around, but it's remarkable how messy they get when no one is watching.

My much-complained-about cube neighbor is actually one of the worst offenders. For an extremely detail oriented person, she's pretty oblivious. I have seen her grab her cup of coffee so that coffee sloshes over the side and hurry away - and when I comment, "I'll go ahead and wipe that up for you" or something, she gets all "wipe what up?" I also watched her take the last doughnut (after walking over, saying, "Oh, are you going to get a doughnut?" to which I answered, "Probably" since I have no self control and then when there was only one left in the box she took it while I watched, then said, "I guess there are none left"), put the lid back on the box, and walked away. I was like, "If that's empty, aren't you going to throw it away?" Her response? "Oh no, I don't throw things away. Even at home, it always drove my mom nuts, because I'd put the empty milk carton back in the fridge."

Snapdragon posted 7/1/2013 15:31 PM

In my office are the coffee princesses.

A coffee princess would never dream of making another pot. The world was placed to serve her. Let someone else do it. She'll just fill up her cup and leave 1/2 inch in the bottom of the pot. The thing is, her co-workers know who does this and have talked to her. But to no avail. I don't know who it is. They won't tell me because they know I'll catch her and light into her!

There is magical thinking going on, also. Fairies fill up the containers of forks, spoons, etc. Fairies clean their crumbs out of the toaster and burnt on food from the toaster oven. Yep. Nice! I always wonder what the homes of these people look like.

aesir posted 7/1/2013 15:44 PM

One of my managers put a sign in the breakroom reminding people that there mother does not work here so they should clean up after themselves. I jokingly gave them shit saying the sign gave <redacted> permission to be a slob. When they asked, I reminded them that one of our best day shift staff was <redacted>'s mother.

Dreamboat posted 7/1/2013 16:47 PM

In my office of about 150+ people, there are only 2 admins (with the exception of the exec admins for the CEO - he has 3 ). One is the front desk receptionist and the other runs the mail room and stocks supplies. So if you do not clean up your own mess then your WILL hear about it from your co workers because there literally is no one else to clean it up for you. I cannot imagine it any other way.

The only thing that gets to me is when one of the girls pees all over the toilet seat and doesn't clean it up. That is just nasty. Plus we have those paper toilet seat covers you can use. Regardless, I have having to inspect the toilet stall before using it!

Amazonia posted 7/1/2013 16:58 PM

Honestly, cleaning up a kitchen isn't an admin job. I think that's what gets me about this - somehow admin = maid?? That's b.s.

The building has a cleaning crew that comes through at 8pm every night, but if everyone left every mess in the kitchen until then...

Dreamboat posted 7/1/2013 17:57 PM

The building has a cleaning crew that comes through at 8pm every night

And the cleaning crew in my office absolutely does not do dishes. They do wipe down counters and mop the floor, but that is the end of their responsibilities.

But seriously, if someone in my office consistently left dirty dishes in the sink, they would one day find they dirty dishes on their desk because the rest of us would get pissed. If they constantly made a mess when they were getting coffee then eventually someone would call them out on it because the rest of us would get pissed. We are engineers, not maids and not pigs.

Sad in AZ posted 7/1/2013 18:27 PM

I work in a concierge suite; we pay for kitchen use, reception desk service, etc. I will always wipe up my mess and any mess in my way (i.e., it will get me dirty if I don't), but I won't go out of my way to clean anything else. I do give the stink eye to execs who leave their cups in the sink rather than put them in one of TWO dishwashers and will call someone out who makes a mess and walks away from it. But, then, they are not my coworkers; they work in the other offices on the floor.

ETA: When I worked in the nonprofit, one of the other directors posted a sign in the kitchen that anything left in the sink at the end of the day or in the fridge at the end of the week would be thrown away--and she did it. It could have been someone's silver tea set--if it was in the sink or the fridge, it went in the garbage.

[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 6:29 PM, July 1st (Monday)]

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