Re: work or pay systems
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 13:31:25 -0700 (PDT)
It is easy to theorize. With no data to prove or disprove theories, the debate can go on and on.


Since we adopted a workshare program only a few months ago, I'm beginning to see surprising names attached to tasks. People are stepping up, looking for things to do, and reporting hours.

The big change is in discreet tasks, often small, but things that need to be done. Today, I asked that a task be added to the gardening work day. A simple but laborious task: sorting out the garden hoses, putting the long ones where we needed long ones and the short ones where we could use short ones, and color coding them so it won't be so hard next spring when we have to them out again. I was surprised when told that it had been done _yesterday_ by a person I would never have expected to take on such a task.

The usual suspects are being joined by the rest of the community.

Our system is voluntary but hours are recorded and posted -- the results are public. And we will now have data to build on.

If people are happy with what comes of just this much, we probably won't do more. In other contexts, I've found that just making records public is all that is needed. Measure it and make the results visible.

On equitable hours: I think only the minimum can be equitable. Some people will always do more than others and will be happy as long as it is their choice.

On valuing skills differently: In community, as in families, what is important gets turned upside down. Legal work is much more easily hired out than emergency child care for a three year old with a bad cold who needs a familiar lap in place of a parent. Which is more skilled? Which costs more? Capitalist standards don't apply once you leave the corporation.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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