invisible stories

„We work in pairs, in 1200m2”

Mrs András Konkoly Magdolna commutes to work in Budapest. She used to do white-collar work and worked in a bank and as an accountant. Although at first she was planning to work here for a few months, she has been working as a professional cleaner for 5 years already.

“A restroom is a restroom everywhere, the kitchen is a kitchen everywhere’, says Magdolna. ‘This is a job like everything else. I got payment for it, you have to do your job honestly. I go to the capital to clean, I have never made a secret out of it.

We work in pairs, in 1200 m2. Every shift we have 100-110 rooms per cleaner. Dusting, cleaning, emptying the bins, mopping and vacuuming are everyday tasks, plus we take care of the restroom, the kitchen, the stairs and the corridor. With the appearance of the coronavirus disinfection came as an extra task. You have to put your heart into your work, that will make it thorough. I am in constant contact with the janitor of the building, he will tell me if there has been a painting or a conversion somewhere, in which case I need to spend more time there.

We cover the area with a mopping cart with only our drinking water and a transparent bag with us. We don’t bring up anything and we don’t bring down anything. Our job is a matter of trust. Wherever we enter a place, it’s somebody’s work and a bit their private life too. We see who loves plants around, we could tell how their day went by. But we don’t touch anything and only clean the desk if there is nothing on it. However, if there is still a question, for example we find a seemingly important document on the bin, our cleaners will report it to their team leader, me, and I will put on a notice showing if it is indeed waste or just got there accidentally.

What is the most difficult part of my work? Maybe lifting the 15-liter water bucket. I change the water in it quite often, the clean water is very important. By the end of the day each of my muscles are sore, I bend my back, lift my arms and carry stuff a lot. But when a room is nice and clean, the tiny parts come together and I feel satisfied.

What else is important? We are like a family. We have dinner together and we support each other emotionally too. Those who cannot work in a team and help the other will not stay for long.”