Re: work and expectations
From: MelaSilva (
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 09:45:49 -0600
>, I believe, is that we give without expectations for the level of effort of
>others.  The desire to help is nutured in an environment of acceptance
>of whatever people are willing to contribute.  To do otherwise would no
>doubt lead to friction.    

This is a very generous and beautiful statement when it applies to motivated

Here at Southside Park we are a condo association, which means that the group
is responsible for ALL outside maintanance of ALL 25 homes, the common house
and common ground. We have almost 1/2 acre of lawn that needs to be mowed
every week from March - October, 20 fruit trees that need to be pruned every
year, long stretches of sidewalk that need to be swept, leaves that clog
gutters and need to be taken out of gutters with the help of tall ladders
every year, fences that need repair, kids playground that needs regular doses
of a truck load of wood chips, commonhouse  porches that need to be swept and
cleaned, 3 dozen windows in the common house that need washing, linoleum that
needs mopping, a  laundry room that needs cleaning, bookkeeping, neighborhood
meeetings, tours, conflict resolution, group childcare to be arranged,
community pantry to be kept stocked,  etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

Are all the rest of you paying for maintanence? Or maybe you don't have much
property in common? Or do you have consequences for those who don't
participate in upkeep? Are we the only ones who endlessly come up with new
work plans in the hope of inspiring more folks to participate in upkeep?

We thought everyone would pitch in based on the high level of participation
during planning. Wrong. !/3 of the members consistantly do a lot, 1/3 do some
or are sporadic, 1/3 do very little. Many folks feel that coming to a meeting
once a month and cooking once a month is more than enough, and honestly don't
think they are the problem. General work parties, when we provide breakfast
and lunch, and everyone sees lots of folks out there working, hauling gravel
or whatever, are popular. But that doesn't get the regular weekly boring stuff
 How do we inspire folks who are  stressed our at work and come home to  kids
with all their demands, plus the demands of  schools and sports,  to willingly
spend 1 or 2 hours a week doing chores around the common area? A few of them
think that those of us who only have work and no kids should take up the slack
for the next 10 or 20 years.  Many of us who spent 10 hours a week the first
year or two doing what others "couldn't wouldn't didn't" have pulled back.  
I sure don't know what the answer is. I do know I am no longer willing to do
it all,  angry that it isn't more equally shared, and unhappy with the general
And I feel strongly that groups that are not yet build should make it clear
over and over again that everyone has an obligation to maintain the community.
 We have  discussed using the plan many Catholic schools in our area use.
Parents are required to put in 40 hours per school year, and are billed $10
per hour every month if they have not put in the minimum of 4 per month.
Several of our members feel this is the wrong approach. Others feel we could
then use the $ to hire someone to do some of the chores. But where do you draw
the line? And many feel that working together is one of the great strenghths
of community, and shouldn't be traded away for a little more cleanliness. 
Perennial optimists, we are set to try a new plan, where everyone submits a
personal work plan, outlining how many chores and meetings and work parties
they are willing to commit to in the next 6 months.  I'll let you know how it

Pam Silva
Southside Park, Sacramento CA


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