He recalls a couple of incidents while training with ISS Integrated Services a decade ago.
“It was a session on handling vacuum cleaners. Most of us were new to the equipment. Here we learnt that a vacuum cleaner could do both dry and wet vacuuming. Though it was exciting to handle machines, an unknown fear of faltering remained within us. And then it all happened. It was Rakesh, my colleague and a new entrant, who had to demonstrate the operation of the machine. Nervous and scared, Rakesh forgot to attach the dust bag! Within moments of starting the vacuum cleaner, the whole room turned into a chaos with dust particles flying around! Rakesh stood stunned, embarrassed and shaken with the fear of losing his job. His sorry state sent us into uncontrollable laughter. For a while, we forgot that we could have done the same mistake.
Over and above, two other colleagues added to the mess when they failed to differentiate between dry vacuuming and wet vacuuming. We all ended up in a pool of water besides the dust and dirt. The worst was when the water seeped into the machine and the motor got burnt.
Years passed, even today, when I recall Rakesh’s face, I cannot suppress a smile…
At the receiving end
Incidents like these may tickle the funny bone at the particular moment, but when one is on the job, that too at a senior level, one is always at the receiving end. Five years later, working as a trainer, I began duty as usual at a site in Thane. The morning shift had four janitors, my colleague Sandeep and myself. But that day, when none of the janitors turned up, Sandeep and I did not wait for substitutes to arrive and took on with the vacuum cleaner and ringer bucket. It did not matter at that moment, as work could not stop. A long expanse of marble flooring and the office area had to be cleaned first before the staff arrived.
As I finished the round of mopping in the front office, I quickly placed the ‘wet floor’ sign board, as the floor was still damp and it was time for staff to arrive. I saw the owner of the company entering as I continued cleaning the other side. Within a few seconds, I stopped short as I heard a loud thud followed by a scream. I burst out laughing when I turned to see the owner on the floor. She had missed the sign board and slipped. Quickly absorbing the seriousness of the moment, Sandeep and I rushed to help her.
Even though we were not to be solely blamed for the accident, we faced the brunt of the angry boss. Such incidents put us in odd situations, nevertheless, we also learnt to handle temperaments… it’s all part of the game.