This is what happens when you’re too good at your job.
A few years ago, a friend of mine who was working as a Production Assistant on films was given the advice, don’t be too good at your job. The producer/life coach was sure that if a P.A. is too organized, too efficient, too amicable, the higher-ups will attempt to keep him down forever.
I’ve always thought that sounded like bullshit, but the overarching question remains: is it possible to be too good at your job?
Based on the experience of a cleaning lady at the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund, Germany, you absolutely can.
According to Auction Central News, one of the museum’s janitors went to work one evening scrubbing a giant stain off the floor only to find out later that it was a $1.1 million art instillation. Worse yet, it was on loan from the museum by a private collector. The piece, by late artist Martin Kippenberger, was called “When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling.”
“The late contemporary master had created a tower of wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water,” wrote the publication.
“It is now impossible to return it to its original state,” said a spokeswoman from the museum.
This whole situation seems unavoidable. Reportedly, “cleaning crews had orders to remain 20 centimetres (eight inches) away from artworks but it was unclear if the woman had received the directive from the external company that employed her.” But if an artwork was carefully constructed to look like dirt, how could a cleaning lady know where the museum ends and where the artwork begins?
The art world may have lost a valuable work, but on the bright side, Thursday was actually a great day for perfectionism. An artist painted a pool of drain leakage with such realism that a janitor mistook it for genuine dirt, and a janitor was so zealously dedicated to her job that she scrubbed the shit out of the surface, “until it gleamed.”
I guess there is such a thing as a job too well done.