Penthouse and basement
It is my last couple of weeks as planner and i have quite enjoyed the communities highest executive position. One of the last things i will be doing is running (with a great group of advisers) the communities overall budgeting process. There are lots of different budget lines and significant knowledge within the group about each one of them (some from the area manager, some from the member survey we have taken, and some from the diverse knowledge of the perhaps 10 people in the room who are designing our budget game).
We look at whether we can raise population to cover the requests for sabbaticals and if this will create a room crunch or a labor problem from doing this fix. We speculate on whether good managers will return (often saving us money, but sometimes costing us labor) or poor ones will drop the job and perhaps the community. Are we budgeting or are we forecasting? We need to cut $17K from the money budgets, we need to cut 7000 hours from our work area labor budgets. It is a lively, complex and high impact discussion.
At Acorn the painters are nearly finished. We just need to move some boxes and bookcases and we can clear the last hall for cleaning and priming (ok, “some: is perhaps an understatement – hundreds”. i try to do this with a guest who is struggling with mental health problems and they are unable to follow the simplest instruction for more than 30 seconds. Tim (pictured below) stepped in and took their place.
In the space of half an hour i have gone from our highest executive function, to some of our simplest manual labor. This is not unusual however, many members of the budget team go from our spirited negotiations to gardening or tofu or hammocks making, this is what life on the commune is often like.
It is actually one of the things i love about community, the differentiated social status of different jobs being significantly compressed in the community context. i already have some guilt around feeling like i manage/organize too much and dont do enuf “real work” which is more physical labor. And the rationalist part of my brain tries to justify this by considering the money saved or the work that gets completed (by others hands typically) which would not if i had not been pushing. And there are times when i feel like perhaps all the organizing and bottleneck fighting would get done by someone else and i could spend more of my time just helping clean the floor like almost everyone else.