Re: Work or Pay Systems
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 06:22:10 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 15, 2008, at 9:12 PM, Jenny Guy wrote:

I'm concerned that this would mean some people's time is seen as more valuable, since not everyone would have the aptitude to do certain high-value tasks.

The only way to evaluate tasks is on an hour per hour basis.

You will quickly find that all tasks worth having done at all will have high value because they enrich the life of the community and/or you are dependent on them being done.

I value the person who cleans the toilets in the CH, a job that would have a fairly low pay in the general swim of things (pun intended), because I don't like doing it and it is very important that they be clean and presentable. And a real value to the package and mail delivery people because they sometimes come in twice a day when they only deliver once.

The person who cleans the toilets is a child psychiatrist who often does it at midnight when she returns from her evening shift an army hospital.

I also value people who dust and mop the CH every two weeks -- they are worth their weight in gold. No one has to go around asking for someone to "please do this."

Our senior elder who sweeps the walks every week. The "lighting goddess" who checks all the light bulbs and changes the burned out ones. And recycles the bulbs. And the person who takes care of the old batteries -- I'm not even sure who that is. I put them in a big jar on top of the refrigerator and go blissfully on my way unconcerned that I am polluting the earth by sending to a landfill.

The person who takes care of the compost and the one who maintains the recycling bins and dumps the container of discarded junk mail into them twice a week.

All these people become as important and often more important to daily life than "high skill" jobs.

In terms of aptitude, the aptitude to sweep those walks or dust the windowsills -- repeatedly -- is as unique as those of the treasurer. If I had to do it I would go stark raving mad. And not do a very good job because I would be trying to get it done as quickly as possible so I could go do something "more important."

I happily spend time improving and updating the database I use to print out contact sheets (one of the most praised things I do), to print out the mail directory so people can get their mail when they move, and the parking diagram so we can identify wrongly parked cars rather than towing them away. Or to find the relative of a person who has had a serious accident.

It's taken me many years to develop these skills but they would have very low priority if we suddenly had to pick and choose which tasks got done this month.

Sharon Villines in Washington DC
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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