Monday, May 15, 2006


When I finished highschool in 1985 I didn't want to go straight to the university, I wanted to get away from books and homework, I wanted a job...

Some friends of mine worked as cleaners at the State Hospital in Copenhagen and suggested I applied for a job there. After my job interview my friends told me the interviewer didn't like me, she thought I was a bit dim and unmotivated, but my friends had a connection with the people doing the actual hiring, and someone might do me a favor...

I was lucky and got the job, which meant that since I lived at my parents house 40 km from Copenhagen and had to report for work at 0.600 every weekday, I got up at 4.30, rode my bicycle to the nearest train station (6 km) got on the first train, arrived in Copenhagen at 5.45, and then jumped on my SECOND bicycle parked at the station so I could rush to the State Hospital, change into my work uniform and report at my supervisors desk at:... 0.605

My supervisor never failed to inform me that showing up five minutes late was NOT acceptable, and there were PLENTY of people working there which had to travel EVEN LONGER distances and they showed up ON TIME.

So I cleaned offices to begin with, and got the occational abuse from overworked chief surgeons who needed to dump some frustrations (considering the quality of cutting these overpaid did on me when I was a patient at the same hospital - maybe I should have given THEM some abuse? But ya' gotta know ya' place, right?)

It was pretty boring, but somehow I greatly enjoyed it.. I was making real money and after a while I could perform in my job with very little MENTAL effort, it was all about using your hands NOT your brain which suited a daydreamer like me perfectly.

After some time my supervisor picked me for the special team which did in-depth cleaning, an unexpected treat! - most of the guys working there were my own age, 18-20 yrs, and we worked in groups of two to four people.

The hospital would shut down an entire ward and we would have two weeks to clean everything, from top to bottom, inside out. The thing was that we could usually do the job in maybe five the remaining time was basically "party time".
Some guys would go off to a remote part of the hospital and sleep for a couple of hours, other like me and my team would go out on the balconies and look at the girls form the nursing school next to the hospital, or just sit around and listen to music. We were alowed to bring radios along with us when we worked, and it was during this time that I discovered Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" and the early albums of Lou Reed, courtesy of my workmate Flemming who was a former Mod and a big alternative rock fan (I usually met him every time the Ramones played in Copenhagen)

Despite the boredom of our job we actually had a lot of fun together, but after about a year my supervisor moved me to the replacement team and I was back to working alone again.
I pledged to be put back with my mates from the team, but my supervisor ignored it, I was needed elsewhere, or maybe she just didn't like the idea that people could have a good time at work.

A few years later the department of cleaning was closed down due to expense cuts, and today the hospital have their cleaning done by a private company which has won several awards for security, efficiency and quality-control.

Watch the video of me using the water-hoover...
Not my people
Not my war

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