Maids of Honor

Today’s blog is dedicated to a key member of  Indian families – our Maids! The ladies, men, boys and girls who clean up our mess, cook our meals and thrash our garbage. If you employ a worker/s you are a boss and a team manager! Yes you may or may not achieve that status professionally but you got there long time back managing your home. Today I want to present some prejudices how our home manager avatars differ from our work manager avatars:

  1. Leave – Your work entitles you paid leave usually between 2-4 weeks a year. Then you have weekends off,  national festivals and most importantly the sick leaves. You work with integrity, or not, these days off are your right in lieu of your duties. Our hardworking housemaids, have permission of mostly 1-2 days off a month that too when they provide a good enough reason and in advance. If they fall sick that eats up on these 1-2 days! More than 1 or 2 days, there is trouble , there is argument, there is threat of a salary cut and there is disrespect. Where does the fair and just manager vanish in managing your home employ? Why cant we factor in leaves for these workers just like we wish our bosses at work would factor in ours? Why do poor families not deserve vacation time or festival time off with their loved ones?
  2. Raise – We WANT and DESERVE a raise at the end of the work year. Again, its our right to keep up with inflation and our lifestyle demands. That raise has to be justified mathematically in our books and salary slips. Why is there no mathematical standard for a raise demand for our home workers? Why do we feel pain when we have to give a raise to our home workers while we expect our companies to share the profits with a happy heart. Why do we treat a raise as a favor to our “bonded” labor where as a professional raise is the stepping stone to new avenues?
  3. Work Culture-Isnt this the most important! Our HR departments and their antics to please us – work parties, free lunches, morning muffins, team engagements! So damn useless yet so integral to keep your spirits motivated to give your best. What is engagement for a maid – a sleepy good morning, a mundane instruction to do the same old house chores, some leftover food from the night before, a chai (elaichi/ginger chai not allowed) and a grumpy door banging goodbye! Repeat this 4-5 times every day and here’s the work culture we present to our home employees. Yet we crib if we feel he poor girl/boy is not giving in his/her best and loving their job!
  4. Promotions: An 21 year old engineer starts off with a technical job and aspires to be a CEO one day. He/she would like his workplace to support his aspirations and aid in his upskilling and promotions. You do not want to be stagnated doing the same thing forever.The home bosses we are, are insecure and not supportive! If we get good and honest help we want that person to be the same way all their lives. Up-skilling would mean looking for an alternative and thats a unacceptable option to have. Would we help our cleaning lady get promoted to a cook or a babysitter or even a shop salesperson? Why do we as home bosses not want to fuel aspirations of our employees for them to do better and bigger?
  5. Mistakes – Justification for our work mistakes – we are human, we are still learning, you cant be right and perfect every time. We deserve to be pardoned and most importantly treated with respect for earning up to our mistakes. Do we do the same at home? Yes we pardon but it could be accompanied by a threat or humiliation. Its our right to add that extra emotion because how can someone make mistakes when they do the same thing everyday? Not acceptable is it? Our jobs involve intellect so we deserve to be more respectably pardoned? Are we more human because we got to study and utilize our brain compartments more than our physical endurance?

We may earn less or more based on the opportunities that our economic conditions provided us with. No matter what category – there are honest, brilliant, hardworking, cunning, selfish, shrewd, ethical and non ethical workers populating every category. If the educated class deserves the basics of a justified salary, well deserved raises and bonuses, an exciting work culture and the right to be treated with respect then the less educated working population should deserve similar if not same.

Be good bosses to all your employees! some 360 degree reviews are graded by the Gods of karma!

Big shout out to my house helps over the years – Narayan, Lakshmi, Shanti, Pushpa, Geeta, Diwali, Rajma, Hemal, Sangeeta, Sujata, Ram, Ravi, Rekha – Thank you!


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