Gut Instinct? House Cleaners in Suspicious Situations
Gut instinct is what we call that feeling of unease that causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand. And yes, house cleaners and maids have to develop that instinct. Especially when they find themselves in homes where they don’t belong.
The world is full of crazy people, and unfortunately, you can’t tell if somebody is crazy just by looking at them. So what happens if they hire you and you show up to clean assuming they are normal, but they aren’t?
House Cleaners in Danger Need to Follow Their Instinct
The good news is that the unconscious mind will pick up on clues even before the conscious mind is aware. You show up to clean a house expecting to be the only one there, yet you have a feeling you’re not alone. Someone else is in the house. You can’t see them, but you know you’re not alone.
That is your gut instinct picking up on clues. As you make your way to the living room, you see a drunk family member passed out on the couch. Your first instinct is something not “normal” with this cleaning situation.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
There aren’t too many right answers here. There is a drunk person on the couch. One of you doesn’t belong.
What you don’t know is how long they’ve been there. Is it safe for you to be there? How do you know if you are in danger? What is your instinct telling you?
Logic says you should leave the house immediately and contact the homeowner. Clarify the situation. We’ll call the guy passed out Rob. Is Rob going to wake up and be polite and take a shower and then leave? Or if you clean the house, is that going to madden him into a fury that you didn’t let him sleep it off? Is he going to go ballistic on you?
Do You Know Rob?
Have you been cleaning his house for years and he’s often home, he’s just a harmless, lazy bum? If that’s the case, then it’s annoying that you have to work around him and clean up his puke. But if you feel safe – I hate it for you, but work around him.
Instinct will guide you. If you get an internal message that says “Get out now” then get out. Don’t question it – just get out.
Whatever the answer is, it is critical to your safety to follow your instinct.
What to Do When Your Instinct Goes on High Alert?
Suppose you don’t know Rob and you’ve never met anyone in his house except his wife. One day while you are there cleaning he comes home in a drunken rage. Starts throwing things and cussing. Your instinct will go on high alert – and your adrenaline will kick in that fight or flight mode. Your instinct will be shouting at you “Get out now.” And yes, you should get out.
You have to take a personal policy of safety first.
Your logic mind will fight you with ideas like “I don’t want to lose this client.” And if you work for a cleaning company, you will wonder if your boss will be mad at you for leaving in the middle of a job. Or maybe even fire you.
Here Are The Facts
If you work for someone else and you leave in the middle of a job – yes, the situation will raise flags. You will have to answer for leaving early.
But the company is not there to protect you at this exact moment – they were not there to make the judgment call. Your instincts kicked you out of the house and may have saved you from violence.
Guess what? You’re still alive, unharmed and now you can go to work again tomorrow to clean more houses. If you stay and get the crap beat out of you, you won’t be able to work until you recover. And I promise your cleaning company doesn’t want a lawsuit for insisting you stay in a dangerous situation.
Don’t Cry Wolf
They key here is don’t cry wolf. If you declare danger three times a week and cut out of work early – you will get fired. While dangerous situations do happen in house cleaning situations, they are rare.
Should You Call for Help?
This is a case by case situation. And the correct answer lies in what your instinct is telling you. In this scenario, you’re cleaning a house. At the house is a stay-at-home Dad babysitting three small children. A furious and enraged wife blasts through the door and starts beating on the husband. Do you call for help?
This is a weird situation because she’s beating on the husband, not the kids. The husband is a big man and can defend himself or at least hold his own.
Your instinct says “Help” it doesn’t say “Get out now.” Same drunken rage, different gut instinct. How do you help without overstepping? Forget about overstepping. The woman removed the politeness of the situation when she started clomping on her husband with a lamp.
Ask the husband – “Do you want me to call for help?” He may say yes. He may say no. Either way – the kids are in danger until the mom calms down. If you’re afraid – and you’re a grown up, imagine how frightened those tiny children must be.
Your Instincts Are Shouting
It’s none of your business, but your instincts are shouting at you to get the kids away from the broken glass and fighting. Do that. Take the kids in another room with a door and a lock. Calm the kids down until the fury passes, and the Dad comes to tell you the coast is clear.
Things about this situation are frustrating because there are so many unanswered questions. Is violence like this common here? Is the mother a danger to her kids? To herself? Is this a one-time thing? Is it going to happen again? If you are the boss, should you drop this account? If you are the employee, should you tell your boss? Should you request a transfer to another house? Should you have a talk with the Dad?
You Care Because You’re Human
These are all fair questions – and you will have these questions because you care. You care about other humans, and families and tiny children. If you are the employee, yes, you do need to tell the whole story to your boss and ask for guidance. They will talk to the Dad and work something out.
If you are the boss, yes, you need to have a talk with the Dad. “Hey, I can’t help but notice what just happened. I know it’s none of my business, but can you help me understand if you are safe, and am I safe cleaning your home?”
In this particular case, it turns out that the Dad did NOT feel safe. His wife whom he loved dearly, had been drinking a bottle of vodka day and had gone off the deep end. She was self-medicating her postpartum and was constantly sloshed. Her violent outbreaks were frequent and frightening everybody. He was staying-at-home to protect the kids. As the breadwinner, he was working from home and babysitting. And that’s why he hired a house cleaner – to help maintain balance in the home. He didn’t want to press charges because he didn’t want his wife to have a police record.
It was NOT safe for a house cleaner to be in his house because apparently, it set off jealousy in his wife. He also agreed to place his wife in a treatment facility where she was not allowed to see the kids again until she was sober.
Gut Instinct When You’re Not in Danger
Say you’re cleaning a house, and your racing against the clock to finish. You bump the table while vacuuming and send a fragile ornament crashing to the floor.
“OH NO!” You think to yourself that was such an innocent mistake. And your gut instinct kicks in. You’re going to have to tell the client. That sick “Oh no” feeling will not let you off the hook.
You Will Break Something
If you are in the business long enough, you will break something. It will never be intentional, but you must be professional about how you handle it. As the boss, it is your reputation on the line. If you work for a cleaning company, it is their reputation on the line.
If you clean up the trinket and toss it in the trash but never mention it – the customer will think you stole it. You are going to have to admit it, apologize, and replace it. Your gut instinct knows these rules.
Gut Instinct – Free Guidance Counselor
I’m not encouraging you to enter dangerous or weird situations like a house cleaner. But it will happen. I’ve been cleaning houses for 25 years and just when I think I’ve seen it all… Oh my gosh, more weird stuff happens. You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy stories I could tell. So I’m warning you – you can’t avoid suspicious, strange or unbelievable situations in the homes of your clients. But trust your gut instinct to guide you through the madness. If you fight your intuition, you may find yourself in a harmful situation that you could prevent.
Your gut instinct is your free guidance counselor that will guide you to the proper outcome. Listen and be aware. Your obedience to your inner guide could save your life.
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