Hello to all my readers
After all my promises I let life take me over again and have not blogged for two weeks.
I will have many posts coming out this week, but firstly I thought that I would offer some explanation re why I have not posted. For those of a nervous disposition look away now, especially those who exploit others; for those who don’t exploit others or those who have been, or still are being exploited I think that you will appreciate that someone has finally had the balls to write about one of the biggest warts that goes on over here; and probably in other countries that people move to, that is the exploitation of people who have to work to fund their dream.
There have been a few things that have spurred me on to write this blog, the fact that my dear friend told me I should write my second book about my experiences, as there is no-one that has given an honest account of the shittier side of moving out here, and what people who are simply trying to work to fund their life choice experience.
The second is that my dear friend in Majorca has told me that she loves the fact that I capture the “nitty gritty” of making the move, but also that my positivity shines through.
The third thing is that one of my readers (thank you Ellen in America) has told me that as the late great Nora Ephron said when quoting her dying mother “It’s all copy.”
And last, but never least is what is the point of having a blog if I cannot write what I want?
So taking my friends leave I would like to start on a positive: We have worked for some really lovely people over here, people who have become our friends despite that fact that we work for them. These people are, more often not, people who have also had to work for a living and recognise how hard it is and how difficult it can be finding work out here. They have probably, over their time, experienced what we have experienced, and through their own integrity (and intelligence because you have to be intelligent to have integrity!) they never exploit the people who provide them with a service.
These people have experienced the other side of the coin, of people abusing their trust, of people simply not turning up, or saying that they have done things that they have not, but that has not meant that they judge all people the same. They know who they are, Rich and I still provide them with services and to them I am grateful.
We have provided services to people who are fair, and clear with what they want, and grateful for the service you have provided. This post does not reflect on all people we have worked for, but sadly we have worked for some ‘warts’!!
I would also like to say thank you for those who have said that they will wait until Rich is available because he “is worth waiting for.” My husband works hard, he always turns up, (which a lot of people don’t) he gives his best, as do I, and whilst I know that these people I have mentioned have always appreciated it, it is a shame that some people do not!
I think that it is fair to say that people who know us know that we have a strong sense of doing the right thing. We have based any work we have provided on reliability and integrity (in fact I might have said before that I could be perceived as having too much integrity, because sometimes it is to the detriment of myself that I apply it .. more of that further on.)
So here have been my experiences,and I hasten to add here that I have provided no names, or locations with regard to my tale. If someone feels that I am talking about them then that is on their conscience and not mine, and any similarity to people or places (although I have been so vague I don’t know how you would see any similarity) is purely coincidental. France is a big place!
So here we go…..
There was a place of work where I was asked to clean 14 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, 7 kitchens and 7 living areas, for 62 euro. The person who owned it thought that if the previous people who had been in the property had not paid for cleaning that they were going to ‘clean’ it themselves meaning that the property would only need a ‘light clean’.
Now I would ask what is the definition of a ‘light clean’? Because to me you still needed to check and clean every microwave, still needed to check that all surfaces were clean (which more often than not because the property had been left for a week it still needed wiping down.), that all fridges were clean, the floors still had to be hoovered and mopped. So really there was no such thing as a ‘light clean’ and I found myself working for six hours or more for 62 euro. (Add to that I had to take my own hoover because of the 15 hoovers dumped in the hall not one of them worked properly, which probably explains why no-body did the bloody hoovering!!)
I cannot do a job badly, it is not in me to not give a good service; add to that I was conscientious because of the next group of people that would come to the property, and I could not leave it dirty for them. I think that it is fair to say that my conscientiousness and my integrity were taken advantage of.
Why did I do it? Because we needed the money. When I was there because I had agreed to do a good job.
I know a lady that took over when I left because she needed the money, for me this is taking advantage of people, or another way you could look at, is exploitation!
I also know that others had worked for these people before us, and they left for the same reasons and others, but those other reasons will have to be included in my book.
Then Rich worked for someone, and at the time we did wonder why nobody else had applied for the job when we met them; but not long afterwards we realised why. They were so rude! When we met them they could no understand why the previous person had just stopped going and not told them, they explained that good communication was essential, (they were not in the country). Now as you may have guessed I am okay at communicating, but I would send emails weekly with photos of what Rich had done, before and after and they just wouldn’t reply. Or when they did reply the emails just became ruder and ruder, as if we were servants, and stupid. Now as you know I will work hard for anyone but I am not a servant, or a minion and I sure ain’t stupid!!
I let it go and let it go, rising above it, but it got to the point that their rudeness and negativity was affecting us in all aspects of our life, we started to dread their emails, and never knew how long we would have to wait until payment was received. We decided to walk away. Something that we did not want to do as Rich had worked hard on their garden, although they did not think so.
After that I was advised by someone that they have had lots of people who have stopped working for them because of their rudeness, and that the people have said that they speak to you as if you are a servant, and below them. Ain’t that the truth! I must admit I think that their heads may have exploded when they received my email saying that we were no longer going to work for them, it was professional but direct and mirrored their language; I always find it interesting when people take offence with the tone you use when you have simply mirrored their language back to them!
I knew then why the person before us had ‘just left’!!
But the crux of my story comes with my most recent experience. I found a job (I have to say here I want to work, but I want to ensure that I can get work in the field that I register in so I need to establish if this will be the case first, and my experience to date had not been great, but I lived in hope!)
The people seemed very posh and they owned a chateau quite a way from my house (lets just say the best part of a four hour return trip). They seemed very polite said that they had a manager and that I should meet the manager when I arrived.
I did! It was all I could do not to stand there most of the time with my mouth open when they were speaking to me. Whilst I was there (and this place was incredible) they had a row with the neighbour, and said manager was just so confrontational I thought that they were going to spontaneously combust!
Now the mellow Mois in me, (as you know follow the Tao and all that, so I try not to let ego get the better of me) just took a step back and watched the day unfold. They had no idea that their actions and what they were telling me that they were insecure in their role, trying to hard to be hard (not sure if my readers in other countries will understand that but it means as if they would hit someone if they needed to, were not afraid) which told me that they were not ‘hard’ at all. Otherwise why do you feel the need to keep telling me that you were going to “rip someone’s throat out.”? Or “got right in their face”? Seriously I kid you not! At times I wanted to giggle. Here I was in this beautiful place surrounded by beautiful things and all this person wanted to do was have a row with everyone. Now the people who know me know that I don’t argue anymore, but in the same vein I am not afraid of anyone. The only difference? I didn’t feel the need to tell them that.
But the main thing here is that they had other young people working for them and this person came across like a lunatic. They “didn’t do lunch”, could do everything that was needed from electrics to building walls to doing the cleaning in such a short space of time that I can only assume that they were related to “The Flash!” Everything I was shown I was told “I can do this in an hour and a half.” Or “I can do this in half an hour.” I knew this was to intimidate me into thinking I was slow, and also so that they could then not pay me the agreed amount at the end of the day. They were setting me up to fail, and I would imagine setting everyone up to fail so that it looked as if they were indispensable. They were that insecure.
So here is what I was asked to do in seven hours:
Clean a grand hall that was bigger than my house, a living room that was also bigger than my house, the kitchen (including emptying and cleaning the fridge, loading and unloading the dishwasher twice, and putting the shopping away), two studies, a bedroom bigger than my living room, a bathroom bigger than my bedroom, a dressing room, the grand stairs and the servants stairs,wash the front door, and sweep the front steps, and clean the toilet. Phew that wore me out just typing it so after eight and a half hours of solid slog (remember I should only have been working seven) with no breaks, not even a drink of water I was f*****d, and I still had one room left to do that even ‘The Flash’ took an hour and a half to clean. We had to agree that I could not finish the job. It was obvious that I was never going to finish the job.
‘The Flash’ then advised me that I had to remember that I had only been given half of the list that they expected me to do, because in addition I would also be required to clean the library, including all of the books, the dining room, do the washing and the ironing and polish all of the wooden floors – all in seven hours!!
They were quite surprised when I then said “That is not doable!”. I think they were surprised that someone had actually stood up to them, but that may be because this someone had just listened to them talking about themselves and had not told them anything about her. That something being that I will answer you back if I don’t agree. Their mouth fell open but funnily enough they did not get in my face, which was probably a good choice.
Despite the fact that I was obviously not up to ‘The Flash’s’ speed, they asked me to go back the following week. Rich was furious because they paid me ten euros less than the agreed amount, he had to drive over 244 miles that day to drop me off and collect me, and he said that they had obviously planned all along not to pay the agreed rate.
My friend implored me not to go back, I had hurt my back and nearly killed myself working so hard non stop because good old integrity had kicked in. In fact it remained in place and although I knew they were exploiting me I felt that if I had made a promise I should honour it. They did not however, and cancelled the following week. Praise the Lord!! My friends jumped up and down with joy, as did Rich because he did not want me to go.
Now here is the crux, they wanted to pay 10 euros an hour, and expected all of the jobs I have listed completed in eight hours, but when I found them on the internet they charge over £500 for cleaning if they rent the property out!!!!!
That is exploitation!!
It needs to stop!
Again as with the other people I have mentioned I have since found out that other people have gone to work for this place and left because and I quote “the manager was mad, and it was impossible to get all the work done in the time they expected it done.” !!!!!!!
There is a pattern here folks, no matter how much people want work you will not get anyone worth their salt to provide you with a service if you try to exploit them; so don’t then moan if you end up with people who don’t give a good service, or don’t turn up, or simply walk away and don’t tell you, if it keeps happening you need to ask yourself why?
So folks my apologies for being so knackered that I have not been able to write. I have decided that I am going to take advice from people who are dear to me and I am not doing cleaning for a living, so no all you little spies out there I will not be registering as a cleaner! But the monies earnt will be declared, have no fear (I know it worries you!) For those people who I help with their cleaning you know of course that I will always help you, because you have integrity.
There are many more stories I could tell but you will need to buy my book for that.
Someone has suggested that we set up a closed Facebook site where we can advise people who NOT to work for. That way they may have to stop exploiting people, start to pay the going wage, and treat the people who work for them with respect. It is not rocket science to know that if you treat people well they will give you over and above what you have asked for. I know we do.
More happier posts to come, but this had to be said.
Like I said, I am not a sheeple.
If you want to comment then please please provide some feedback.
Trust me there will be more posts to come……
Fascinating! I know you want to stay above it all, but these people should be publicly shamed.
I know it is a joke, wait until you read my book, there is more!!!
Oh Dear Moira, I really do feel for you, you sound just like me, I am the what you see is what you get sort of person and I always treat people well regardless but if I have something to say I will say it, you should not have worked all those hours without a break and at the very least a drink, if (Flash) was able to do it in the time why were they not doing it themselves, when will people realise that they will only get what they pay for, I think the facebook page would be good, like check a trade.com, there are often people on FB looking for a trade.
Finally I know you said you would now not clean for a living but you could always be self employed and state your services and hourly rates, just an idea x
Thank you Roz, other people i work with have suggested i should do something else, and im going to go down the decorative paonting route. Look out for my mirrors nd chandaliers over the next few eeks, you will love them. Xxx
I cant wait and I think you will be much happier doing something creative x
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