Cleanliness is Next to… Cash?
Avril 2014
"To finally be happy and efficient, we must work differently." These were the words used by Olivier Schmouker when introducing the topic of his October 12th article in Les Affaires newspaper. Well, well. I continued reading, my interest piqued by this appealing entry into the subject. Schmouker introduced Zenith Cleaners, a Montreal cleaning company that also provides training sessions to stressed-out CEOs. The company encourages executives to join one of their cleaning teams for three days where they will learn to dust, wash floors and clean toilets. These practices will be beneficial on the personal and professional fronts.

Surprised? I admit that I was surprised… but maybe not for the same reasons as you. I am inherently convinced that manual work leads to inner peace. I clean my own home and I still don't have a dishwasher. It's a choice. As stated by a person attending this audacious training session, "the act of cleaning soothes the body and the mind." However, when reading Schmouker's article, I asked myself the question: who cleans the homes of these CEOs? Do they pay someone to do it, which is often the case? And they go on to clean someone else's home? Not really… The article featured the story of one CEO's experience who enjoyed cleaning his own home. Once I had confirmed this fact, I then began to appreciate the concept behind Zenith Cleaners.

There is obviously a meditative aspect to this type of task. It's as if the brain were going into another kind of vibe. Zenith Cleaners focuses on this aspect of its business to appeal to executives who feel the need to take a step back, to take time away from the maelstrom of issues to be dealt with, the multiplicity of meetings and endless urgent fires that need putting out. What a luxury to spend three days not having to be a boss, to simply be a part of the labour force, 100% in the moment.

The training session proposed by Zenith Cleaners also intends to teach humility. Usually, it's the CEO who gives the orders. At Zenith Cleaners, the roles are suddenly reversed. Executives roll up their sleeves to perform menial tasks, they work to serve others. Schmouker related a participant's statement: "Cleaning makes you humble; you discover that the most modest acts may take on great importance." How very true! By the end of the week, the toilet bowl sure needs a good scrub.

Why on earth am I talking about all this? Because when I was reading this article I thought about farmers. I told myself that their basic common sense, which I so appreciate, and their humility are probably 100% related to the fact that they are 100% involved in the action and are solidly rooted in reality. Farmers are obviously business leaders too, but a different kind. On the farm there is always some manual work and menial tasks to keep them grounded. Think about it: there must be some über cool CEOs in need of inner peace that would be willing to pay money to clean up your barn, wash walls, and supervise feedlot calves. And for a little extra, you could even send them to clean the slurry canals.

I'm kidding. But I'm not that far off. There would evidently be some supervision required to guide the novice through such a learning experience on the farm, but what a great opportunity for anyone seeking humility and peacefulness! If you're looking to make a few bucks to help pay some bills, just think about all the cleaning and washing that needs to be done and smile: there is a huge potential at your disposal to provide a unique and lucrative learning experience. You just can't stop progress!

Colette Lebel, agr.
Director Cooperative Affairs
La Coop fédérée
Fax: 514 850-2567


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