I am teaching my youngest daughter how to drive. I have gone through this process once before with my oldest daughter about two years ago. Somehow I have forgotten how difficult the process is. I think it is a bit like childbirth. Time erases the pain because the outcome is so positive. I live in a small town with little public transportation. Having a driver's license is not a nice to have – it is a necessity. Having your kids being able to drive to where they need or want to go is freedom shared both by both adolescent and parent.
The part that I find most difficult about teaching her how to drive is that I am not a trained driving instructor. Though she is taking professional driving lessons, she must practice to get the necessary skill level and confidence to be able to drive on her own. Every outing she is better and her confidence grows. I have been driving for over 30 years. I do not know the individual steps to reversing into a parking spot, parallel parking or merging into traffic on a highway. I have been doing it for so long, that it has become instinct, actions I perform without thinking why.
Teaching someone to drive had made me revisit many of the fundamentals. Like most experienced drivers, I have picked up a few bad habits over the years. Teaching my daughter to drive has made correct my driving style that I have adopted over the years. I once again hold the steering wheel at the '10 to 2' position on the steering wheel and ALWAYS check my blind spot when changing lanes. What made me change my habits? I revisited the possible consequences of not following the rules and how safety is my responsibility.
Experienced Environmental Services personnel often suffer from the same problem. They have been cleaning for so long that they forget how difficult it was to learn the intricacies of their job so that it produced the desired results. It takes years to learn "the tricks of the trade" such as how to carry a vacuum cleaner properly, how to wind a cord, how to fill a bucket to avoid over sudsing, how to remove gum from carpet and how to avoid buildup of dirt and floor finish in corners and along baseboards, how to remove hard water stains… An experienced cleaner can recognize almost any surface, any type of cleaning challenge and just knows what to do… They do their job well. But do they always remember why do they must do their job a specific way?
We often forget why we do our jobs. For Environmental Services they are the reason we have clean, healthy buildings. They have a difficult job – they must clean the building to the desired cleaning standard using cleaning protocols that promote health while minimizing the impact that the cleaning process has on the environment! All of this must be accomplished while respecting a budget. It's not an easy job!
Next time you are reviewing cleaning protocol with Environmental Services Personnel, remind them how important their job is to the health of the building and its occupants. It's just as important that cleaners know why they need to follow specific protocols and the consequences of not following them – as learning the protocols themselves. And when you have a moment, take time to thank these Professionals for the great job that they do and for doing their part to keeping you healthy!