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The Smokin’ Domestic & Household Worker

I bet the majority of you thought you were going to see a smokin’ hot housekeeper, chef, butler, or nanny huh? Sorry to lead you on, but this “smokin’” is in reference to the “smoker”; you know the one that smokes cigarettes (Newport, Marlboro, Lucky Strike, etc.). Anyway, we get many clients that call us and request that whatever candidate we send be a non-smoker. We have actually had people that were right for the job, had a great personality and the perfect fit lose out because they smoked. The client will say, “I smelled them as soon as they sat down” or “I don’t want them smoking around my child” or “I don’t want them taking numerous smoke breaks on top of their one hour break.” I get it; however it saddens me that the perfect person lost the opportunity because of Mr. Lucky Strike.
I know all of our smokers think that they cover up the smell well or they would never smoke in front of the children, but the fact is people who do not smoke smell it no matter how much perfume you use or even how many times you wash your hands. The last thing employers want to do is lay down on their $25,000 couch that reeks of cigarette smoke or look for their housekeeper that is outside smoking for the 4th time of their work day.
What to do? I really don’t know. I mean millions of smokers hold high powered jobs and are great workers, but when it comes to domestic work it is really taboo to smoke. I wish I could end this with a definitive answer, but all I got is quit smoking. I am sure there are some other alternatives. Hopefully, someone reading this is a smoking domestic & household worker who is happily placed with a wonderful family and could give us some good insight.
Written by Justine Hall

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Glenn Greenhouse
Glenn began in the “family business” more than 30 years ago, by coming to work for his Father, Martin Greenhouse. He often recounts how nervous he was, when at 19 years old his Father forced him to pick up the phone and speak with David Suskind. This was to be the first of dozens of phone calls and meetings to come for Glenn……with Celebrity Clientele. Glenn considers himself very fortunate to have spent his life working at a job he truly loves and as he puts it: “earn a comfortable living at the same time.”
Glenn Greenhouse

Latest posts by Glenn Greenhouse (see all)

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  • Avatar JOHN DAYKIN says:

    In a home, the principal has every right to have everything the way they like it. Employees must remember they are working in a home, not a public workplace where they may expect more consideration of personal and individual rights outside of those mandated by law. The employee must be a match to the employer’s tastes, style, and whims. Matching only job skills is not a match. The rule is although you are an employee you are also a guest in someone else’s home. So if you are guilty of any social indiscretions that offend the principals, such as smoking where prohibited, using ribald language, or dressing inappropriately, the principal has every right to ask you to leave and not come back just as they would ask any other guest. Smokers need to find a compatible employer, not ask for special treatment in someone else’s home. I have places where our staff can smoke with care and consideration on the job; my employer smokes cigars daily and gets it. That’s so very rare these days, and job seekers need to change with the times.

    • Avatar Justine says:

      Great John. I think a lot of smokers do not realize that they carry a smell. I once went to get a massage and the persons hands smelled like cigarettes. I kindly asked for them to wash their hands, but it was still in the hair etc. Not a pleasant experience. I get it. People have their “Thing”. I relate it to coffee. Some people NEED their coffee to get thru the day. It is just sad when everything meets except for this. You are 100% correct on also being a guest. That is where I believe people forget. I always ask people “would you let a guest do this in YOUR home” or “how would you feel if you paid them a salary and they did this to YOU”?

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