When people think of cleaners, a floodgate of stereotypes tends to open up. Mrs Mop. You get the gist.

Things are better than they were 20 years ago, but some of these attitudes still exist today. In a work place hierarchy, the cleaner is invariably the lowest of careers.

It’s easy to see why, on some levels. As cleaners, we make a living of quietly cleaning around people. We’re there to do a job, but in an ideal world we do it without being seen, without making a noise, and definitely without causing disruption.  We are the invisible workforce that’s often taken for granted – no one notices when you do your job well, but all Hell breaks lose if you miss a spot.

And that’s how it should be. We’re not there to make our presence known, we’re there to do a job. Get in, get out.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re “just” cleaners. Any more than a woman with children is “just” a mother.  That four-letter word implies an insignificance that shouldn’t be attributed to anybody, especially my staff.

The truth is my staff, and myself included, are proud to be cleaners. There is no “just” in our world. We’re not ashamed to pick up your discarded and soiled toilet paper, empty your bins, or wash your stained tea cups.  We’re paid to do a job that no one else wants to do, which means we’re important.

Don’t get me wrong, in almost every instance we’re valued for the contribution we make to the smooth running of a business or home.  For keeping germs under control (seriously, you should wash your cups more often), helping reduce staff sick days through the application of sanitiser and thinking about the environment by not overdoing the chemicals.

We know we make a difference, even if some people don’t recognise it.

It really upsets me when people use the word “just” to describe themselves, in any capacity, but especially when it comes to seemingly domestic or menial tasks. Cleaning is not something just anyone can do. Yes, we might all have our own chores to do at home, and we might manage it to a certain standard; but to go in to a building and know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by and to what level, takes skill.

The attention to detail required to make sure the finger prints are removed from glass doors, or the phone handsets are wiped down to remove germs, all whilst not disturbing the work spaces of those who live there during office hours, that doesn’t “just” happen. That takes effort, experience, dedication and passion.  It takes care, and that is why everyone at Jigsaw Facilities Ltd is 100% proud to be a cleaner.

Just, or otherwise.