I am not “your,”or anyone else’s, janitor

Dear (anonymous) Sir,

A few days ago, you asked the internet through a google search, “does my janitor who is a male like me and im a male (gay)?”  And the internet took you to my blog, in the hopes it would help you find your answer.  (Yes, the internet does have its own hopes and dreams!)  I highly doubt you found what you were looking for, so I decided to fill in the blanks, in case you try again in the future.  I will be taking some liberties and making some assumptions, in order to create a concise response.  If I am off base, please, call me out!

I’m sorry to let you know, the internet cannot answer questions that are this specific to your personal experience.  You can glean a whole lot of information that might help you put words to your feelings, which is super helpful.  But the internet does not know your situation, does not know your janitor, and does not know anything beyond whatever it is that people write on it.  Is there a chance that your janitor wrote about you on the internet?  Yes, maybe.  But you will not be coming upon that writing by asking in that way.

In order to learn more about this, you would have to interact in real life.  Also, you may want to ask yourself instead, “Do I like my janitor, like, do I like like him?  And if so, do I want to do something about it, despite potential consequences?”  You might want to weigh the pros and cons.  You might want to feel out the situation in more nuanced ways before jumping to conclusions or potentially propositioning him directly.  You could ask for advice from people you trust and are close to.  Hell, you could even anonymously ask for advice in myriads of places online (again, I’d suggest focusing on your own feelings and not your janitor’s)!  But you will not come upon much success by googling it.

Equally important though, please disregard everywhere in the above paragraphs where I indulged the idea of “your” janitor.  He is not your janitor.  You do not own him.  You may not know this, but he doesn’t actually even work for you!  I am going to assume you are not his direct supervisor, and are instead someone who works in a building (as a lawyer, businessman, teacher, or some other profession where you work in a space.)  And he cleans your space.  You, in a way, do own that space.  It is sort of “your” desk, “your” trash can, “your” chalk board, etc.  That is fine.  But, again, he is not “your” janitor.

Let’s go out on a limb and imagine you are his supervisor.  In this case, and only this case, it could maybe be appropriate to call him your janitor.  My supervisor does this – she will refer to us (the people who do work for her) as “my guys.”  This has the potential of fostering a sense of camaraderie, like we are a team, and she is our leader.  This could be OK.  But to singularly be someone’s something, even in this context, would be strange.  If you are his supervisor, I’d suggest cutting out the “my janitor.”

I’m just going to say this directly, as a janitor who cleans classrooms.  I am no one’s janitor.  I am employed by a school district.  My salary is worked out through the annual budget, which comes from taxpayers.  I am in a union; I pay a union due, and they do work on my behalf.  I clean classrooms that are, spaces owned (in a way) by teachers and utilized by students.  I do not work for teachers.  If teachers have a problem with my work, they could go to the principal and/or my direct supervisor.  The reason she is “my” supervisor is because, ideally, she has our collective best interests in mind.  And because she is above me, on the power scale, and it is therefore obviously not actually owned by me.  It is more appropriate.  “My boss.”  “My professor.”  “My doctor.”  “My therapist.”  These are common and straightforward.  “My busboy.”  “My waitress.”  “My maid.”  “My landscaper.”  This is a different story; this is slippery.  Watch your step.

Sincerely,
Not Your Janitor

 



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