Below is a quote from the movie The Barbershop. I replaced the word “barber” with “janitor.”
“See, in my day, a janitor was more than just someone who sits around in a FUBU shirt with his panties dangling. In my day, a janitor was a counselor. He was a fashion expert. A style coach. Pimp. Just a con man general. But the problem with all of you today is that you have no skill. You have no sense of history.”
The janitor. The person you pass in the hallway every day. He (or she) is not exactly an international man (or woman) of mystery nor is he the ignorable ghost as some treat him to. Don’t imagine him as the person who dances with the dookie, rather imagine a classic soul who possesses a key to any problem and can polish a problem no matter how dirty. In my experience, it seems that status dictates how others treat a person. Whether it’s the cleaning crew detailing your Hummer H2, the CEO of your company, or the concubine you practice making babies with every Thursday night; this mode of thinking has been around for as long as there has been a social structure. So people don’t have the courtesy to just say hello to the custodian.
Personally, I didn’t always have this perspective on janitors and janitors. Years of observing office politics gradually tuned the guitar of my mind. Office politics is a sad thing. Supervisors polishing the buttocks of General Managers, regular office workers slitting each other’s throats for promotions, Corporate Auditors treating branch visits like a goddamn FBI raid. You’d think this is Ancient Rome during a power struggle. It’s funny because in the office you can’t talk like a normal human being would. You have to shut up if the person you’re talking to is known to be a snitch, a supervisor, or the nephew of an executive. Who the hell can I turn to for normal interaction? You guessed it… The janitor. He is the most impartial person in his building and because of that he is the coolest person in the building. You could shoot the shit out of bounds because he has no ties to your company. Do you want to throw a couple of F-Bombs into your conversation? Sure why not. Exchanging conversations with the janitor makes you feel like you are in the construction yard. Do you need someone to complain about how ignorant your boss is? The janitor will listen while cleaning the windows.
The concierge is not just an oasis of conversation, but can also help out on days when you’re short on money, or ramen days. If you’re running low on bathroom supplies, he’s there to help you out with some toilet paper rolls. If you don’t have enough money to take a girl out on a date, the concierge can give you access to the roof so you can host a romantic candlelight bonanza. Smoke a cigarette, have some scotch with him on your 15 minute break, ask him to pass a note to the cute girl/guy from the company downstairs, borrow some cleaning solution when you spill ketchup on your tie. The scenarios are endless.
So the next time you order a heart attack combo meal at Burger King, be courteous with the help. It could be the deciding factor if you are going to throw your food back in a few hours or not.