“I have the best private staff ever!”
Ever wonder why your domestic staff are masters of their craft? We are not just talking about how dedicated and hardworking they are. We sometimes ask, where did they learn their extensive skills? Why are they so good at what they do? How long did it take for them to reach this level of expertise? From my own experience, I can tell you it takes a lifetime.
Childhood usually seems to be the starting point, no matter where one comes from—and I am no exception. The first time I hand washed my own school uniform was in the early years of grade school—my knuckles and palms were left raw from the friction of the garment on my skin. My first burn (of the first degree) happened while I attempted to make an omelet (it is a bit hazy how it turned out). When I burned a hole on my skirt when I did not adjust the iron on the proper setting. By the time I was a teenager, I had already been through domestic boot camp!
My grandma used to tell me, “When you’re cleaning, do not leave a single stone unturned, otherwise don’t bother at all. A good cleaner seeks out the dirt, not hides it. That goes for your morality and values, too!” As the saying went, cleanliness is next to godliness. Being clean is a sign of spiritual purity or goodness.
In this industry, we’ve heard so many stories from people who left their families behind so that they can give them a better way of life, and a good future for the children. Some of us might resent the idea, but these are people given the choice and opportunity to make a difference in their loved ones’ lives. Whether that might be working hundreds of miles away from home and being apart from them for days or weeks, or be thousands of miles away across the ocean and on the other side of the world, and be apart for months or even years at a time.
While the parents and other adults left to work, many of the older children were left responsible for domestic work. These children had to take over as parents to look after the younger ones (and sometimes the elderly as well), under relatives’ close supervision. There is no better way to train someone than immersing them into the situation. Responsibilities at home do not end in just looking after others, but ensuring they are nourished and in a safe, clean environment.
Many children with smaller siblings start helping out as soon as the younger ones are born. That includes washing and preparing bottles, fetching diapers and burp cloths, holding and feeding the baby, and changing diapers. Repeatedly caring for children, of different generations; whether siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, one’s own children and grandchildren, makes one a professional in early childhood development.
After the under-cooked and burnt foods (and pots) at some point they become masters in cooking, graduating to cooking for large and larger parties. They learn how to take care of clothes to make them last. Proper care of every type of garment is a must, including simple mending and hemming, adjustments, and letting out. Many learn the craft of sewing and how make their own clothes, as well. The same goes for ironing and proper pressing of clothes. Learning the proper way saves money!
Upkeep of a home is another story; simple skills in maintenance and minor carpentry is also learned at an early age. The love for animals and plants is not a bad addition to the trade either. Many make a skilled trade out of them as they become adults.
When the time comes for these individuals to decide what they want to work on professionally, many had built-in confidence to travel around the world, knowing they would excel in their trades, as they had been working on them since childhood themselves.
New York City, being a large pool of talents and skills, we sometimes take for granted how each individual developed their craft. Our professional workers in private service come from many different cities and countries rich in culture and talents. These dedicated individuals, being service oriented and with high standards in their work, seek out a private staffing agency like ours, who can help them connect with those that value these high standards and can help them grow.
In our staffing agency, we’ve heard countless stories from people on how they developed their trade. Most have to leave behind their countries or hometowns to find a better way of life, but that isn’t always the case. Many are just putting a lifetime of domestic craft, built out of both necessity and love, to good use.
Article Written by Rosalie Aguilar