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paul wheaton
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I have a lot of really complicated thoughts. By writing them down, I hope to gain a bit of clarity.

Where all these thoughts are going to end up is that there are three paid positions I am open to hiring for. One person that is a leader in food systems, one person that is a leader in natural building and one person that is the kitchen commander.

EDIT April 2016 - we are no longer hiring for the kitchen commander. We are no longer providing meals 6 days a week, so we no longer need a full time kitchen commander.

Some times, we need a kitchen commander during events, which might be 2-4 weeks at a time. Be sure you're signed up for the daily-ish email to see announcements for any temporary opportunity like that.


Now for the deluge of weird thoughts ....

- -

I need to maximize the forward velocity of the projects in my head. There are things I can delegate and there are things I cannot delegate. Further, the kind of people I need in order to get things to move forward will want income.

Then comes the dilemma: if the property brought in a lot of money, then that money could be spent on such people. But for the property to get to the point that it has that sort of income, it will need those people to build that.

So, the pump needs to be primed. Pay people to build things up so that the property will start to have income, and then that money is used to pay people to make it bigger and better than ever.

- -

For the last 20 months we have had a gapper/volunteer sort of thing going on. Jocelyn and I sat down this morning and talked about how we feel after 20 months. We both feel tired. We agree that if feels a lot like a party that has gone on for 20 months. I proposed to Jocelyn: what if katelin was here that whole 20 months. And when we had an event, we had two katelins? I agree with her response: that would solve 99% of it.

I feel there is a lot of details I want to flesh out about this and a lot of things about a lot of people over the last 20 months, but I very much don't want to publicly fry anybody. So, instead, here are some interesting conclusions:

42) asking everybody to chip in on housework doesn't work.

42.1) if you pay somebody to strictly police it, you can make sure that everybody does their fair share. But along the way, that "cop" is going to have a lot of really painful conversations. And why come be part of something like this if you are going to be part of that kind of pain? And what a terrible job to be the cop!

42.2) rather than pay somebody to be the cop, why not just pay somebody to clean up after everybody else?

42.3) if you don't strictly police everybody, then good people will do their fair share or more, and other people will do nothing or less than their fair share. So, good people are punished and the folks not doing their fair share are rewarded. This is something I just cannot stand.

42.4) Most people seem to feel like they have come to a resort. They put in a few hours of "work" - so they have "paid" for their time at the resort. So when they are not working, they are on "resort" time. Julio will bring them drinks. Julio will clean up after them. Julio will tidy the gardens, serve the food, arrange for proper quarters, take care of their forgotten laundry, bring them their forgotten laptop/hat/gloves/tools/phone/etc. Julio cleans the bathroom, takes out the garbage/compost/recycling/etc.

42.4.1) I think there is actually some merit to this sort of thinking. It does seem to be what wwoof sites suggest is going down.

42.4.2) I think that if a person has come and put in amazing work, that this would be totally okay with me. Of course, if a person comes and puts in too little work and the quality is really terrible, then this is not a fair exchange.

42.4.3) I kinda thought we were doing something a little like this. I never quite got what I paid for and that phase is over. And that led to a lot of really important lessons. In an attempt to summarize: I think that if we continue to travel this path, that we need to embrace this "resort" effect, but it has to be with a bit of thought toward the math involved (coming later).

- -

When a gapper comes here, they are willing to put in work and they hope to learn stuff along the way. Kinda like college with a cool job. you work 30 hours a week on your job, and then you work 30 hours a week on your classes and homework. People want to learn about natural building, hugelkultur, maybe drive the excavator ... they think the work will be fun and the instructors will be cool.

I even thought we were going to do that. We came up short.

My brother reminded me the other day that he never wanted to lead people. He just wanted to build things.

Rick does okay in connecting people to projects, but rick is not a permaculture teacher or a natural building teacher.

I think if a wwoofer comes here and is asked to do work and has no permaculture or natural building leadership, I can understand how that will feel unfulfilling. Further, I think that the quality and quantity of work will suffer. Further still, without strict policing, I think the wwoofer will slide from 35 hours per week to something closer to 20 hours per week. The value of their contribution is much less than the "resort" package that is offered. It becomes not worthwhile to facilitate wwoofers.

But then I imagine the permaculture instructor leading the charge on projects. Complete with enthusiasm, knowledge and leadership ability. Each wwoofer accomplishes five to ten times more per day. And the wwoofer feels like a great contributor. And the wwoofer feels like there is more value to being here. And now it is worthwhile for me to facilitate wwoofers.


- -

Currently, I calculate that each gapper costs about $1000 per month. $500 in food. $300 in excessive tool burn. $200 in cooking, cleaning and other.

Potato village solves some of this. The cost will end up closer to $450 per month. And with lots and lots of food grown here, maybe even get it down to $250.

Then you add in mushroom village. People who have brought mad skills, or people who want to experience more, so they work more. Maybe they are passionate about PEP1 stuff.

So you can have some people who wish to focus on the resort-esque ideas are drawn to potato village. And the people that are drawn to experiencing more permaculture and homesteading are drawn to mushroom village.

But you still need somebody to manage the villages.


- -

ant village is the ultimate solution. Ants don't expect to be getting an education. Ants don't need to be given tasks. There is never any resentments about tasks vs. resort vs. whatever because ants are entirely on their own for their own food and "resort experience". The experience is truly about self sufficiency.

Further, if I have a project that needs to get done, like I need 600 feet of fence built, I can visit ant village and see if there is somebody that would be willing to build my fence - and then we can talk about price or trade.

I think it would be great to have some sharp ants that I can turn to to say "I would like to hire some peeps to help with stuff during this workshop" or "I would like to hire somebody to pop into the house once a day to clean" or "I would like to hire somebody to manage glamping at the tipi" or "I would like to hire somebody to take care of some online stuff for me."

- -

There is the whole "breakfast with spiderman" thing. I think that if somebody is sharing my table and they are here for the "resort" thing, then all of the things I am talking about will seem far too heavy - just like if spiderman were to tell you about his day. But I think somebody in the ant village would not think it is too much. They would also be struggling with a long list of decisions, so their life would also be spiderman-esque.

An ant is building something that will probably be their permanent home. Complete with their permanent food system. Challenges.

A gapper (or wwoofer) is here for a visit. Seven hours of working/learning where somebody tells you what to do and/or what to learn and then the rest of the day is resort living. No ownership. Leave any time.

- -

So this is a two pronged thing:

prong 1: I have proven that I can come up with the funds to pay for these positions. Although it will mean that I maintain the heavy work pace I have done for the last 20 months. On the other hand, if we get good people in, then I think we have an improved forward velocity and I have fewer problems to deal with - so it will actually be easier. Of course, it would be much, much easier if the current kickstarter gets mega funded.

prong 2: filling the positions. Ouch. We have hired people to fill positions. And most of the time the result is awful. And then there were people that did a great job, but could only be here a short while. Jocelyn was reading the book "faviken" and pointed out that the author had the same problem. So I get to pay while people try to learn how to do what they said they could do. We had a kitchen commander for a few weeks that insisted that the job could not be done in less than 60 hours a week. Fortunately, Seth showed how it could be done in about 15 hours a week.

As always, to get something started requires cash flow. I do have a fantasy that 40 awesome people just show up and everything moves forward en masse and I don't have to work, work, work to come up with money. But it isn't like that. So I keep working to pay for materials, repairs and keep things moving forward.

I do like the idea that the big paid positions will come from people that come by as a gapper or an ant or something (deep roots?). That way they can demonstrate what they can do. And if it doesn't work out, they can always go back to doing whatever it was that they did.

So the pump still needs to be primed. And until the pump is primed, gappers should expect that we fall short of the "resort experience". But I think ants will get 100% of what they expect.

- -

And this is a long list of wacky, random thoughts that need to eventually coalesce into something better in time. But I did need to get these words out. Whew! I feel better now.
 
Curtis Budka
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I work in a supermarket, stocking shelves. Because I'm in school, I often get a closing shift. At first, I thought that the reason why I tend to stay late (sometimes up to an hour) because I was just slow at doing all the stuff that needs to be done before the closer leaves. I wondered if anyone else experienced this when they had a closing shift. I've come to realize that it was (and still is) because its somewhat impossible for me to not be thorough and because some people are too lazy to pick up after themselves or do things completely and correctly. So thorough that I've been told several times by multiple people that somehow I am the best at what I do. I never strived for anything like that- just to do the best that I could. All of a sudden, I'm told that I'm in charge of any other part-timers if I'm the only one there with them at night (other than the store evening manager). I never saw myself as a leader, but 18 years isn't very long, so I haven't had the chance to interpret my life very much yet. My point in mentioning this part is that I understand about the people not doing their part. Always think about the next person that comes in after you and picks up on what you left off on.

Hooefully, once I finish those podcasts, I'll be able to make my way over there and do the permaculture thing somehow.
Ultimately, what I want to do is some sort of largescale permaculture homesteading/design consultancy, but that doesn't matter as much as what I think I could get from working there. There is a reason why I would rather be there now than have to wait until your more established. Its the infrastructure, the practical skills, and and even how you go about managing this right from the beginning is what I'm looking for. If I'm going to potentially be doing the same things myself, (potentially on a different scale) then I think that that is exactly what I need. Maybe someday I'll be the village supervisor and be good at it, or maybe I never will be, but only the people from the future know that and I haven't talked to them yet.

The more I think about going there, the more I think it would be a good thing.

I'm not sure what this is, but let's call it rambling about myself.

Disclaimer: it is not my intention to be the glowing angel from the sky that solves all the problems. If I am, i would in fact be very surprised, but so be it. If I'm not, I guess I wouldnt be very surprised. Or maybe the whole leadership thing is going to my head.
 
Stephanie Meyer
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my disclaimer: I know nothing.

42.1 -.3 : can you delegate certain territories of jobs to different people? i.e "It is your job to keep the kitchen clean " Make it a police state, everybody is a cop and if you crap in someone elses territory or aren't pulling your weight that person is coming after you. People who don't contribute need to be weeded out, preferably by their peers. Some people need a gentle reminder, others need a clue by four.

42.4 on : It isn't a resort , it is a university. You pay for your education with the work , you are not paying to be waited on. You want to learn something cool? Put the work in. Kind of like what I tell my kids "If you cooperate or even help with what needs to be done, it leaves that much more time for the fun stuff Mom can do with or for you"

Sounds like there is so much time/energy going into stuff that should be basic (clean up after yourself, etc) that could be so much better utilized in making it an awesome learning experience for people. Too much time on discipline, not enough learning. That has to be incredibly frustrating for people who are pulling their weight ( i.e "I'd like to pick Paul's brain about his awesome idea but he has to spend his whole time keeping these morons from burning the place down")

Maybe you can hire someone who enjoys being mean? ex drill sergeant?
 
paul wheaton
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Curtis,

Come on out and we'll see what you are made of! If you get here early, and you prove yourself to be made of the right stuff, you might find yourself in charge of more than you want.

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Stephanie Meyer wrote:can you delegate certain territories of jobs to different people? i.e "It is your job to keep the kitchen clean " Make it a police state


We tried that. I now regret it. The police didn't want to be the police, so they pretty much didn't do that. These are the people you live with - you don't want to be the heavy.

Plus, who wants to live in a police state?



It isn't a resort , it is a university.


And the university has groundskeeper willie who is constantly cleaning - and getting paid to do so. And the cafeteria workers who are paid.


I think this is an important lesson from the last 20 months: With katelin, our overall velocity is improved 20% to 30%. Without katelin, letting people into the house is too much of a burden. And I'm not saying it has to be katelin - but somebody that lives like katelin.

Ant village or potato village function without a katelin.

 
paul wheaton
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I'm thinking that until we arrange to have a permaculture project leader here that we need to warn gappers that they could be kinda leaderless - thus missing out on a big part of why they probably want to come here.

 
paul wheaton
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Each time something is less than optimal, it seems that the solution is obvious and quick. And, often times, that solution is not quick at all. And then the REAL solution is often times along the line of "there is no spoon."

These last few days Jocelyn and I have had the house to ourselves (have fun at voices!). Oh, sure, we miss all the permies and the activity - but at the same time Jocelyn has spent nearly all day, every day, cleaning up after people that were paid to clean. She is finding that in the office - somebody was squirreling away dirty dishes in a drawer rather than clean them. The cupboards are now overflowing with bowls and plates as we find them hidden in all sorts of places. The flatware drawer (which, a few days ago, was nearly perpetually empty) is now overflowing. Jocelyn thinks there will be two more weeks of full time cleaning to clean up after somebody that was paid to clean.

Jocelyn now chides me. In the past I told her that she has to be sure to TELL people about these little things so they know. And she just says "like with the kitchen towels?"

I wrote about the kitchen towels here. About 20 kitchen towels that had gone many years of being flawlessly clean had all become filthy and permanently stained. Some were gifts. Some had some handmade decorative element. Jocelyn asked around and couldn't find out what happened. So we bought more. In a few days, those were all filthy too. Jocelyn used the mighty power of the english language to do detective work and got nowhere. She then used the mighty power of the english language to remind everybody that there are many grades of rags and towels. Clean kitchen towels are only for drying clean dishes or clean things - not for cleaning dirty things. Everybody nods and roll their eyes at being patronized. More new towels. Those are destroyed too. So, Jocelyn resorts to a stakeout. Spend nearly all of her time near the towels to watch and see .... and .... BUSTED! CAUGHT RED FUCKING HANDED! The culprit's position: what's the big deal? Just buy more towels. They're cheap.

So, first there are the lies and disrespect. Then Jocelyn has to but in a LOT of time to uncover the lies. Then there is bullshit justification combined with resentments all around. Plus, I think that burning through towels is not sustainable. It's hard to talk about how to make things better when somebody has such weak justifications for going in the opposite direction.

And the worst of it: the problem persisted. Worse still: this person passed the problem on to others. And it seemed that the english language ran a distant second to habit and apathy.

I like the idea that by living in community like this, we all learn from each other. There have been loads of ideas presented and my response is "I never thought of that! That does seem much better!"

But the smallest form of disrespect is the beginning of the end. Small forms of disrespect grow up into larger forms until it grows into a poison for the whole community.

And the kitchen towels are just a poster child for a hundred little things.


About six years ago I lived in a community and someone was stealing my food. I sent emails to the group (each more emphatic than the last) and spoke to each individual in person. In the end I caught the culprit red handed. His cheap justifications were horrible and offensive to listen to. Of course he would never do anything to make it right - in fact, he felt horribly offended that I would call it "stealing" - but that's a whole different topic for a different day. The point is: what an enormous amount of work and pain for me to go through. The problem was the system. The system has to be set up in such a way that depends on people being human rather than noble. We all put our food in an unlocked kitchen. We share the kitchen. The systems assumes that we are all noble and that we will eat only our own food. Since only 5% of the population is noble, then it is inevitable that the system will fail.

So the new system is: have all the food you want. It is not possible to steal the food.

If people gather for the sake of living humbly and sustainably, they will respect the food and the source of food. But if somebody comes just to earn money - or the money is of greater value than learning permaculture, then the system will have cracks.


So as I try to solve this new problem, my mind first goes toward the concept of potato village. And then a much better solution: ant village.

With potato village, some towels are provided and then no more. If they are destroyed, then I suppose the folks in potato village might want to start a kitchen towel fund. A certain number of dishes and flatware is provided - and then .... they might need to whittle up some new dishes and flatware. Food is provided - but only the basics. The villagers will need to do all their own cooking and cleaning according to their own standards. And Jocelyn doesn't clean up after them.

With ant village, I don't provide any food or any kitchen towels. Nor do ants use my dishes and squirrel them away in drawers and other odd places. Nor does Jocelyn need to clean up after them.

- -

Sometimes people learn that the stove is hot because somebody told them that the stove is hot.

Sometimes people learn that the stove is hot because somebody told them that somebody got burned touching the stove.

Sometimes people learn that the stove is hot because they saw somebody get burned touching the stove.

Sometimes people learn that the stove is hot because they got burned touching the stove.

Sometimes people learn that the stove is hot because they got burned several times.

Sometimes people have been burned several times and they still don't understand that the stove is hot.

Nearly everybody thinks they are part of the first group. Almost nobody is part of the first group. This is human nature.


- -

From the beginning of this post.

Each time something is less than optimal, it seems that the solution is obvious and quick. And, often times, that solution is not quick at all. And then the REAL solution is often times along the line of "there is no spoon."




 
Michael Cox
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Paul - many years ago we were laying some pavers in a lawn to stop a muddy track forming between the back door and the woodpile. My mum wanted a path that turned a corner and then went in a straight line along a fence line, where the existing muddy track cut the corner. We laid it as directed and when winter came the muddy track got worn again and the pavers ignored.

Human nature is such that people carrying an arm full of firewood will walk the most direct path, rather than take an artificially tight corner. Domestic tension ensued - we were given orders to "follow the path" and not wear a muddy track. Eventually we moved two of the pavers to round off the corner and the path quickly dried up.

The lesson: Look at what people are doing naturally and make systems to support that. It is easier to change the systems for fit the people than change the people.

Your "Resort" analogy bears some consideration - if there is a market demand for a permaculture working resort there must be a way to leverage that to push other aspects of the project forwards. I'm thinking back to a field work centre that I took a group of school age Geology students to for this. They had a catering crew who did a basic mess meal, and they had field staff who took groups out on the hills to look at rocks. The field staff were full time residents (either at the facility or very locally) but had days off to do their own projects (hiking/climbing/mountain-biking for the most part).

  • Resort style Board and accommodation only

  • Put a fair price on this - some people will want to come to your place for a few weeks for particular courses, projects etc... and will be taking time out of their lives to do so. If I take two weeks out to go to an intensive, full immersion course I definitely don't want to spend a substantial amount of my time on domestic admin. This is two weeks of my annual leave after all - the holiday/resort factor is important and providing if you provide that I'll happily pay a little more for it.

    I don't know what physical facilities you have in place for this, but a dedicated bunkhouse/mess/washhouse for resort guest sounds like it could be a very important part of the long term financial and education part of the overall project.

  • Paid for schemes when on site

  • Most people will want to do "something" specific while they are with you. You could have rolling week long courses, or seasonal projects, or "tag along with Joe Bloggs as his helper" or whatever. A simple menu of options. Tool intensive projects and "taught courses" then could carry a surcharge over low input options.

    This resort enterprise should ultimately be self funding and pay a living wage to those who staff it. I don't know what you local wider population is like, but you may find someone locally who has no interest in permaculture but would LOVE the reliable extra income of one day of room cleaning a week when the rooms change over.

    How this might fit into the bigger project - well your resort folks pay that extra to have the resort experience, but they are essentially out of the hair of the permanent/long term residents. Perhaps Paul commits to an couple of evening meals a week in the mess hall? Or the menu of options for the day/week includes "walk around the site with Paul". Paul gets to walk the site (I know he has mentioned previously that not getting time to do this is getting him down), the resort crowd pay a small premium to get some time with Paul, and Paul gets some income to push the project forward.

    I've run out of time, and haven't polished this properly - but could a more commercialised "resort" approach actually take some pressure off the hardcore permies crew on site?

    Mike
     
    Curtis Budka
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    Ill use the grocery store analogy again (although most business probably do this in some way).

    Here is an open source time clock program. Couple this with a productivity calculation sheet that the gapper fills out daily and you have a short list of info for each gapper. Based on the results from that, you can take it for what you will and act on that.

    We have productivity sheets where we record the number of cases put up, which earns a certain number of hours. Total hours earned/hours worked=%efficiency.

    For example:
    10 ft of fence built: 1hr @ 100% efficiency
    Moving the animals: 45min @ 100% efficiency
    1hr spent building a rocket mass heater: 45 min @ 100% efficiency


    Also, Paul, what exactly do you mean by coming early? As in before I finish the podcasts and doing the potato gapper thing?

     
    chad Christopher
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    Time bank. Structure. An actual time card based off democratic time bank. You eat, use card. Want toilet paper? Use card. If it is operated through commadary, it SHOULD work. Worked in a 5 family co-op housing unit in Berkley, ca. Btw, you can use gift cards, ordered from a company that provides the service. If the charges are internally exchanged, there is no fee. Viola, free private bank. Oh yeah, the age old question, how do you value non labor work? Easy...look online to see what the average person pats, OR have a conference and decide.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Michael Cox wrote:The lesson: Look at what people are doing naturally and make systems to support that. It is easier to change the systems for fit the people than change the people.

    What people are doing naturally here, is not picking up after themselves; which I think is in part why Paul calls it treating the place like a resort. Dropping beer bottle caps on the ground. Letting granola bar and candy wrappers fly out of their pockets and cars. Using an empty bedroom to work/play on their laptop or smartphone and getting sand and dirt all over the covers and sometimes inside the sheets. Washing and drying their clothes without emptying the lint trap or sweeping up the debris that lands on the floor when they dump out their camping laundry bag. Half washing dishes so that, for example, there is visible greasy film left inside a glass mug from their butter coffee. Tromping on the snow on the porch and walkway creating hazardous compact snow and ice instead of sweeping or shoveling it away.

    Just a few things we tried:
    --labeling the dryer with a sharpie and putting a lint collection box very handy (we'd actually prefer they line or hang dry clothing and have clotheslines and clothes drying racks very handy, too)
    --hung shovels and brooms under the eaves so they are close and easy to grab and take care of the walkway
    --labeled garbage cans easily accessible.

    We are frequently changing and upgrading systems here; always looking for ways to improve. In our time here, it has been our experience that the vast majority of gappers and other full-time residents suck at picking up after themselves or at cleaning things.

    -------------

    Btw, I did not resort to a stakeout to catch kitchen towel offenders! In fact, I usually avoided the kitchen for a lot of reasons. And I was horrified that the destruction of kitchen towels bothered me so much. I like to think of myself as more easy-going than that. It's just that on top of ALL the other bits of disrespectful behavior and damage being done to things that Paul and I paid for, it became the poster child or the tipping point.


     
    Julia Winter
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    "This is why we can't have beautiful things"

    I don't know what to suggest - I just hear a voice (a female voice) saying this when I read the story of the kitchen towels.

    I'm living next door to an intentional community. I am now officially a "Friend of the Columbia Ecovillage" - hurray! It took over a year for them to create a 3 month pilot program for a few ex-members and close neighbors. One thing I've noticed is DAMN they have a lot of meetings! And a lot of signs telling people what to do, what sort of trash goes here, not here.

    There's a sign on the paper towel dispenser in the common hall's bathroom (these are fairly standard public bathroom paper towels, albeit brown instead of white) that says "paper towels can't be recycled - landfill only." It bugs me every time I see it, because you can certainly put brown paper towels in a compost pile! I have a small urge to graffiti the sign, but I resist the urge.

    I'm afraid I don't have a decent point, other than living in community is hard. The rewards can be great, but the costs are great. I can't wait until you have more time and space for yourselves again. Creativity needs a time and space for retreat.
     
    Michael Cox
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    What people are doing naturally here, is not picking up after themselves; which I think is in part why Paul calls it treating the place like a resort. Dropping beer bottle caps on the ground. Letting granola bar and candy wrappers fly out of their pockets and cars. Using an empty bedroom to work/play on their laptop or smartphone and getting sand and dirt all over the covers and sometimes inside the sheets. Washing and drying their clothes without emptying the lint trap or sweeping up the debris that lands on the floor when they dump out their camping laundry bag. Half washing dishes so that, for example, there is visible greasy film left inside a glass mug from their butter coffee. Tromping on the snow on the porch and walkway creating hazardous compact snow and ice instead of sweeping or shoveling it away.


    Jocelyn, you are right that that doesn't sound great, but it tallies exactly with my experience of communal living (I run a boarding house for 50 teenage boys!). You have basically got a classic example of the Tragedy of the Commons. While those behaviours are not great, it is probably going to be difficult to change the people especially in a system where there is a rapid turn around of people. You get one person trained, they leave and another person with bad habits arrives. So, my view is to roll with it - make them pay more to be there so that you can employ a "resort manager" and budget for all the crappy jobs that come with having these people around.

    Some specific thoughts following your comments above:
  • Lock rooms which are not in use, but provide an area where people can sit and mess around on their laptops.
  • Charge more for guests -> have a paid role for a regular outdoor litter picker for example, say once a week for 2 hours.
  • Regarding dishes - not everyone has the same standards of clean. My father in law will spend 30 minutes hand washing the dishes after dinner each evening. My mother in law ends up redoing half of them. When we visit we all have our own tea mugs so we can be sure we get a clean one! If quality control is an issue a simple solution is a dishwasher.


  • These are just a few thoughts for how you might shift the burden back on to the guest while at the same relieving the points of tension.
     
    Scott Hoelscher
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    Paul previously stated:

    "The systems assumes that we are all noble and that we will eat only our own food. Since only 5% of the population is noble, then it is inevitable that the system will fail.
    So the new system is: have all the food you want. It is not possible to steal the food."


    I have a good friend who has been in high level IT for many years. Think Boeing,GE,Fed Reserve......you get the picture. He had many, many struggles with people (mostly higher level) stealing his work, his solutions. One day after talking about this problem with him for the 1000th time!...... the solution was simple. "They can't steal it if you give it to them" And that's what he did. He inundated those that were always taking, offering them more than they could handle. And within a short period of time the situation straightened out and he could actually accomplish something. Prior to that he was spending all his time policing his work and not making progress on solutions.

    Point being: If it's not possible to steal something, people won't. And obviously conversely: If it is possible to steal something, people will!
     
    Stephanie Meyer
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    I can understand being upset about the towel issue, not for the towels, but that takes a certain level of disrespect of other people's needs to continue doing something like that after they asked you not too. It isn't so much a "mine" issue as just kind of a character indicator for the person stealing/destroying/acting like a pig etc. Some of it is probably just immaturity but sheesh.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Julia Winter wrote:
    There's a sign on the paper towel dispenser in the common hall's bathroom (these are fairly standard public bathroom paper towels, albeit brown instead of white) that says "paper towels can't be recycled - landfill only." It bugs me every time I see it, because you can certainly put brown paper towels in a compost pile!



    Hmmm ...

    I think that if a paper towel has oil on it, it will be an excellent firestarter! Cardboard and newspaper make excellent firestarters too.

    In an effort to reduce what goes to the dump by a factor of 20, it could be worthwhile to have two grades of compost: one for horticultural endeavors, and one for an attempt to just convert it from physical carbon to gaseous carbon. But that leads to: why paper towels in the bathroom? Why not just a towel.

    Sorry - I'm realizing that I am wandering a bit off topic. Maybe this should be a whole different thread.

     
    paul wheaton
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    Michael Cox wrote: make them pay more to be there so that you can employ a "resort manager" and budget for all the crappy jobs that come with having these people around.


    This is actually not a bad idea.

    I think if we tell people that the expectation is 35 hours per week, plus $100 per week to cook and clean up after them - and, at the same time there is opportunity for people to earn $200 per week cooking and cleaning up after others .... I think there could be some people that would be cool with that. And then say that they could do potato village where there is no weekly fee, but they will need to do their own cooking and cleaning.

    So if people don't mind "roughing it" then they are at potato village. If they want something nicer, they could have that something nicer, for free, but they do their 35 hours plus 10 hours per week of cleaning up after others.

    - -

    On a related note, when we were emphatic last year about people needing to chip in to help with the cleaning and cooking, about half the people decided that cleaning and cooking for gappers came out of the 35 hours. In fact, one guy insisted that he was going to spend his full 35 hours per week helping in the kitchen. Not only was he terrible at it, but I think he only spent about 15 hours a week on it. And his being here ended up costing me about six hours per week (of my time) to deal with his shit. And he never was "convinced" (he felt strongly that I was wrong on all points unless I could convince him - I felt strongly that it should be the other way around) that the function of a gapper was to put 35 hours a week into moving projects forward.

    This guy is a poster child for the value of potato village with strong leadership. Plus, while I am certain he would never have what it takes to attempt ant village, the mere existence of ant village could be pointed to to say "I think you should pony up $800 and be an ant so that you can decide how to best manage your day."


     
    paul wheaton
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    Stephanie Meyer wrote:I can understand being upset about the towel issue, not for the towels, but that takes a certain level of disrespect of other people's needs to continue doing something like that after they asked you not too. It isn't so much a "mine" issue as just kind of a character indicator for the person stealing/destroying/acting like a pig etc. Some of it is probably just immaturity but sheesh.


    That is my thinking. The towels are an example of many similar things.

    I think the most important lesson from all of this: when Katelin was here, ALL of these problems went away. Forward velocity on all projects was moved forward dramatically. I was able to get the kickstarter prepared. If Katelin did not come by, I suspect I never would have found the time to get the kickstarter off the ground. A week or two after Katelin left, the problems slowly started to come back.

    When Katelin was here, I got more work done. Jocelyn got caught up on her work and all of my accounting. Discussion was about new ideas and new things.

    Before Katelin was here, it seems that 15% to 35% of my time is consumed with "he said / she said" and "who made that mess" and "why did ____ not do the thing they said they would do" and endless, endless attempts to solve tiny problems.

    After Katelin was here, Jason and Seth tried the role on for a while, and using Katelin as a metric, they were able to do much better than any time before katelin. But the little problems did eventually wind their way back. Little things that Katelin solved on her own. Things that the others here just don't seem to see.

     
    Michael Cox
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    Paul - regarding paying people to do cleaning jobs, quality control is a big issue. My clean may not equal your clean, and if you have people changing over quickly then you are continually needing to train and re-train staff for the same job. I'd suggest finding a permanent employee for those kind of tasks - even if that is someone who travels in from outside the community.

    Also, I read an interesting analysis - from outside the field of permaculture- of why some projects succeed and fail in businesses.

    The authors had identified three critical factors necessary for success:

    Authority, Ability and Duty - they dubbed the principal "ADA" and if any one of the three is lacking then your project is unlikely to succeed. If you look at the success you describe from Katelin you would probably be able to identify the ADA attributes:

    Duty - keeping the place clean and running was her responsibility - it didn't fall between 3 or 4 people, it wasn't an add-on low priority item.
    Ability - she had the skills to do the job, she could recognise issues and come up with strategies to address them.
    Authority - I'm guessing here, but I assume the phrase "let me just run that by..." didn't come up much. She had the authority to take action and make decisions without referring to a higher authority.

    You said you had some initial success with others trying that role, but it just wasn't as good as when Katelin was doing it - looking at that frame work can you see a factor that was perhaps missing for that person to succeed?
     
    Talia Ilom
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    To the housekeeper position...
    I am SO there. A few questions...
    How should I get in contact? Send 100$ contact service fee via paypal to (who?)
    Please point me to where Kaitlin has been mentioned to help me understand what kinda shoes I should expect to fill
    About me...
    I've been studying/practicing/evangelizing permaculture for 6 years.
    2 years (total) experience living in intentional community. I have a natural proclivity to keep community space nice (kitchen, living room, workshops, gardens, etc.) I'm willing to support systems by making signs, constant friendly reminders, whatever it takes through trial and error and communication
    Have listened to MANY (but not all, sorry) of the podcasts. I even hung out with Paul once! On Paul's FB profile banner, I'm the lady with her hand in the air.
    As cheezy as it may sound, I see this opportunity as a call to duty. Thanks in advance for helping me get in contact to move this forward!!!
     
    Ann Torrence
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    Even at my own place, where it's just me and DH and we deplore it when it looks like the Clampetts showed up uninvited, I still have to do a trash patrol every couple weeks.

    When I lived in an intentional community/college co-op, I observed that many people my age had no idea HOW to clean. As in it had all been done for them. Knew kids who threw away a shirt because they were privileged brats and didn't know how to sew a button back on. So I suggest the following interview questions in addition to have you listened to xx podcasts:

    what were your household chores as a child?
    when did you last you sew on a button-do you currently have the tools to do so in your possession?
    what's your favorite laundry or housekeeping tip?
    what day does the recycling get picked up at your place?

    They seem like trivial questions, but you will find out a lot about their attitudes about general housekeeping and tidiness. If they don't know what day trash day is, they probably aren't taking it out themselves without being asked. If they are used to being catered to, you don't want them underfoot. You aren't running remedial kindergarten or worse yet, remedial parenting.

    And I'd ask them to hypothetically answer how they would handle a situation: someone is repeated drinking your private stash of whatever beverage. someone isn't tidying the pooper. People treat others they way they expect to be treated themselves, most of the time. So what they say could be quite revealing.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Talia, getcher ass out here. No need to send money, I remember you. You met my uncle in colorado, right?

    For the housekeeper thing: will set you up with probably 30 hours of stuff to start followed by five to ten hours per week. And it all depends from there. Once you're here, we'll figure out what your long term goals are and figure something out. Email jocelyn at richsoil.com and she'll get you squared away.

    As for katelin, look for the thread about "magic boobies". The key is that we have had a few women here and no guys that just NEEDED the place to be clean and couldn't stop themselves.

    Here's the pic:

     
    paul wheaton
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    I observed that many people my age had no idea HOW to clean.


    Ann, I suspect that I am one of those. Which is a big part of why I think it is painful to ask people to clean. The idea of being asked to clean stuff, even when I made the mess, is seriously broken in me. I do clean, will clean, and have done a lot of cleaning in my time .... and am very anal about quite a few particulars, but it is still a swimming-upstream sort of thing for me. And housekeepers appear to be able to, universally, clean anything ten times faster and much better than me.


    So I suggest the following interview questions


    I think we've been going about this all wrong. I'm now thinking that the thing to do is to have 20+ people here. Some can clean and most only think they can clean. You give them a chance and see what they do.

     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    paul wheaton wrote:The idea of being asked to clean stuff, even when I made the mess, is seriously broken in me. I do clean, will clean, and have done a lot of cleaning in my time .... and am very anal about quite a few particulars, but it is still a swimming-upstream sort of thing for me. And housekeepers appear to be able to, universally, clean anything ten times faster and much better than me.


    The way I've explained it recently is kinda like this. Imagine you're not a computer person, and your daily job has become to learn how to write computer code. It's not anything you're good at or inclined to do, or have an aptitude for. Logic and code is not your thing. This would be a big painful mess.

    So, with a lot of the folks here, I've explained, made checklists, pointed out what I see and what they don't, and...it was just painfully not their thing.

    As for Talia's question about Katelin, here's perhaps a bit of an example of what we've been struggling to express.

    Today, I returned home with a fresh bouquet of flowers from the store. We have some dried flowers in vases around (some that dried nicely from a bouquet Erica Wisner brought us, plus some origami flowers made by Rebecca and Bella! ), a few of which needed some refreshing. As I was changing vases around a bit, there were two things of note.

    1. When Katelin was here, there was an aging bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen island. The water in it had turned brown. One of the first things she did was change out the water so it was clear, and she changed that water every day until the bouquet was done to keep it clear and fresh smelling. I never asked her to do this, though I noticed and thanked her heartily!

    2. As I was shifting around vases and dried versus fresh bouquets, I found a vase in the hall bathroom (which I don't usually use since we have a master bathroom for Paul & myself). It had water in with what should have been, or was, a dried bouquet. The water was brown and brackish and the stems were rotting and molding in the water. It's likely that those using and cleaning that bathroom (for 6-8 weeks after Katelin's departure) hadn't noticed or hadn't thought to clean the ick that formed in this vase (despite it being a clear glass vase). Maybe they even added water thinking they were helping.

    I laughed about the rotting vase of flowers with Paul as yet another example of the things people don't notice. I've let flowers get icky in a vase many times before, just by getting busy, or distracted, or running to and fro. It happens to the best of us. It's just that when missing things like this is more the norm than the exception that it gets a bit much.

    At the risk of being overly cliche: it's an exercise in frustration for everyone to keep trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Instead, I like the idea of people shining at what they enjoy and do best.

     
    garrett noble
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    Hello there Permies

    Paul and Jocelyn,
    I think what you are trying to do at wheaton labs is really awesome!
    I was reading this post, and a few things come to mind.
    First is the concept of ownership. I believe it is human nature for someone to take better care of something that they own. They are more responsible, they maintain things on their own, and they just care more. Kitchen towel example: As a kid I would use kitchen knives outside. Mother always got mad. I didn't know what investment those knives embodied. To me they were just one of several knives. Now that I have a family of my own I understand that those knives represented a portion of the small amount of disposable income my mom had. They could be replaced for 20-30 bucks, but when you have 200-300 dollars a month to pay for things other than fixed your regular fixed expenses, 20-30 bucks is basically 10% of all that you worked for that month. Until you are in the position where you are dishing out your money for something: the somethings appear to be cheap, and easy to replace.

    I started to read a book: the 5000 year leap. The author talks about Jamestown when it was first being settled. They failed miserably. They were "sharing" labor and resources in a pool under the premise that you put stuff in, and can take stuff out when you needed to. It wasn't working. People were getting sick, starving and dying from exposure. I believe it was the third year that a gentleman came to Jamestown (cant remember his name right now) and did something he wasn't actually authorized to do. He gave people land. Something like 5 acres on the condition that they pay a tax of corn to the community. At this point things turned around. They finally had something of their own. They stopped having as much sickness. People stopped starving, and everyone built the shelter they needed.

    I am renting a house right now. There are tons of things that I would like to do to improve the property. Build a fence, Improve the irrigation infrastructure, Lay tile inside, Pour a cement pad to do auto-repair work on, Build a garage, Add insulation (100 year old house with none in the walls), Plant fruit trees, Build wicking garden beds, and all sorts of things to make the place more visually appealing as well as make to make my wife happy. We plan to sick around for the next 4-5 years, and then we will be moving on. I can't afford to make most of these investments in the home, as much as I would like to. But if this was my own place, I wouldn't think twice about making these investments. While I am renting I will do some things like put in a fence, that make life easier while we are here, but my soul isn't in it the same. I am going to do good work, but Im not pouring my life into it.

    Secondly I would like to comment on Policing people. I am currently in the Marine Corps Reserve. Marne Corps boot camp is an interesting place. People from all walks of life come together and have to coexist in an extremely stressful environment. The recruits generally behave exactly how they are expected to behave; the reason for this is fear. They are terrified of being the one that gets noticed by the drill instructors. One way to get people to behave is to make them afraid. That unfortunately works only as long as they are afraid. Once you get out of boot camp, you go on to other training. It is incredible how one person can be spotlessly clean one week, and two weeks later they are a complete slob. They lost the fear. I guess my point is, fear doesn't work.

    Something that I have seen work is a desire to please someone. I know a guy named Kyle. He is the kind of guy that you just want to be around. He makes you feel good. He builds you up. makes you believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. He was running a summer camp that I participated in. All the people that were there did what Kyle asked them to do. They did it unquestioningly, because they wanted to please Kyle. But even this wont work if you have the wrong people. All the staff there were extensively interviewed and screened, as well as all the participants. You have to have good people to make good things happen.

    Sorry for rambling, but I just had to get this out.
     
    Julia Winter
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    Hi Garret, welcome to permies!

    I so remember the "improving a rented property" dilemma. I did that over and over. Mostly, I was investing my time and energy (to refinish the wood floors, for example) and I probably didn't always make a rational decision. Not that I regret the things I did. I couldn't buy a house until I was 34, whatcha gonna do?

    One thing you might want to consider is to propose an improvement and offer your labor to your landlord, if he/she covers the costs of materials, permitting, etc. At that point it might very well be worth your time, if you plan to live there 5 years.

    I think you're right about fear based motivation being fleeting. And I can totally remember natural leaders for whom people just knock themselves out. The guy who ran the marching band at the University of Illinois, the "Marching Illini" (I've blanked on his name, of course). I always said he could make 300 people do what they didn't want to do and be happy about doing it!

    The ownership difference is part of the strength of the ant village idea, I think. I also think that with time, and continued world domination outreach, the right people will be drawn to the ever increasing awesomeness that is Wheaton Labs. The cleverer ones will see the awesome sooner.
     
    J.D. Ray
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    I've just discovered/read this thread, have little idea who most of the "players" are, and only a passing idea of the situation at the Wheaton/Campbell (Campbell/Wheaton?) residence. I do, however, have quite a bit of experience with the sort of things being discussed here, though in different domains (my wife and I owned a restaurant with seventeen employees, hardly any of which respected either us or the investment we had in the infrastructure beyond our ability to sign a paycheck).

    So, I have the following things to say (hopefully they contribute to the discussion):
  • Whomever this Katelin person is, if there's a way to get her back, do it. Within limits, it probably doesn't matter how much it costs you to do it.
  • People only have regard for things they have investment in (kitchen knives, for instance). If you want them to treat something with respect, make them invest in it. The only way most hotels survive their guests is that there's the implied threat that damage to the room will be charged to their credit card.
  • Historically, the entire reason money was invented was to create a base standard through which things could be traded. Any effort to create an alternate system to do what money does naturally is like eschewing pure alcohol in favor of wine for disinfecting a wound. Yes, it's better than nothing, but it's not as effective, easily transportable, quality controllable, and standardizable as the pure alcohol.
  • Whatever price you set for services, it's probably lower than the market will bear. This comes from your misbegotten idea (I'm making a great presumptive leap here) that what the market will bear is borne of what you'd be willing to pay for such services.
  • Deciding to build in accessibility to your resources devalues those resources. By this I mean that, if you provide what you call a potato village to grant accessibility to people who can't afford to be charged resort-scale fees to be taught something, then you reduce your ability to accommodate the people who will pay those fees. This reduction in value may be in line with your values vis a vis spreading of the word of permaculture, but that doesn't reduce the fact of the matter.


  • I feel like I could go on, but I don't want to over-occupy the soap box. Paul, you probably already know that you need to hire staff. It sounds like you just need to get on with it. How to pay for it? Out of the wallets of the people who are creating the requirement for you to hire staff. If someone shows up and does an amazing job, quietly refund a bit of their fee. But get the fee from them first, and don't discuss with them or anyone else how you arrived at the amount of refund, if any. There be dragons.

    I hope all this helps, because that's really the way I intend it.

    Cheers.

    JD
     
    kadence blevins
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    I had a thought. It kinda seems like the gappers who clean after themselves etc are usually fine. The gappers who dont need to pay x amount for not keeping up their housework duties. The combined x amount is the pay for the kitchen commander person. Also that would hopefully be equally more income for them with more gappers there and hopefully equivalent to the amount of work.. x amount of work per gapper is x amount of pay..
     
    J.D. Ray
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    Kadence, the problem with that is you set up an adversarial relationship between gappers who clean up after themselves and the paid cleaning staff, because every time someone takes responsibility to clean up after themselves or someone else, the paid-to-clean person sees their paycheck shrinking. The last thing you want is good people fighting with each other while bad ones run rampant.
     
    paul wheaton
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    garrett noble wrote: I believe it is human nature for someone to take better care of something that they own.


    This is all about "human nature".

    As I have mentioned in other threads and in podcasts and presentations: Community stuff is 90% of the challenge in permaculture. And my definition of permaculture is "a more symbiotic relationship with nature so that I can be even lazier."

    I think your observation here is correct - which is why I am putting a larger emphasis on the ant village stuff.

     
    paul wheaton
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    Julia Winter wrote:
    I so remember the "improving a rented property" dilemma.


    I've done a lot of that. And I've been in the position where I would specifically talk to the landlord about my intent to improve the property, but my worry that I would be charged more rent due to the improvements. The landlord would assure me that that would never happen. I would then put in major improvements and then my rent would double. Why? Because now he can get more.


    Then, I remember a few years ago I wanted to find a rental situation where I could do my permaculture experiments. I knew that I would be making major improvements that I would walk away from and get nothing. But I NEEDED to do this stuff and I could not afford property. It took months to find a situation. And then the place I ended up, it turned out they needed a renter so bad, they would use this clever technique called "lying".


    So then there is the other side: the landlord will knock off some of the rent if certain improvements are done. And then the improvements either never get done, or are done gut wrenchingly poorly. And the tenant says "that's $10,000 worth of improvement!" but the landlord says "You made it worse!"


    So I like the idea of the ant village: a dozen people, each with an acre. They do their thing. And after a year or two, if they want to leave, others can offer to take on their patch instead of a patch of bare land. Maybe the offer is $2000 and the seller can say "I'll hold out for $4000." The key is that a person could make improvements to their acre according to what they think a buyer would be willing to pay. And, more to the point, a renter can be compensated for the improvements they make.


     
    paul wheaton
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    I want to say, just because this is on my mind this minute: I like the idea of 50 people coming out here this year. And then for each of the things that I want done that I am willing to pay for, I will have a large selection of people to choose from.

    I like the idea of paying somebody to make improvements to the tipi.

    I like the idea of entering into a business relationship with somebody to manage the tipi as a glamping thing. Or maybe the pebble program.

    I like the idea of getting an acre on the lab fenced off so gardens can be started. I could see paying somebody for that.

    I like the idea of paying somebody to make upgrades to wofati 0.7. In fact, I like the idea of hearing from three or four different people about what sorts of upgrades they might try.

    I like the idea of paying somebody to finish the 10x10 wofati.

    I like the idea of paying somebody to plant the seeds for a living fence.

    I think I have about 20 projects for which I would be willing to pay somebody.

    At the same time, I like the idea that there are several people here that are getting their own things done and are willing to take on gappers. Then the gappers come and I am pretty much uninvolved.

    I like the idea of, out of the people that are here, some people will lead workshops. And I can hire some people to help with the innovators event.

    Maybe there is somebody I could hire so that every time we have somebody come/go they wash the sheets, clean, etc.

    And then there is the whole idea of getting the wood in for winter: I would be willing to pay for a few cords.

    And if there are 50 people here, I suspect that there will be several others that would be open to hiring others too.


     
    paul wheaton
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    kadence blevins wrote:I had a thought. It kinda seems like the gappers who clean after themselves etc are usually fine. The gappers who dont need to pay x amount for not keeping up their housework duties. The combined x amount is the pay for the kitchen commander person. Also that would hopefully be equally more income for them with more gappers there and hopefully equivalent to the amount of work.. x amount of work per gapper is x amount of pay..


    I suppose that's not a bad idea. Although I suspect that each gapper will be certain that they are doing their fair share and, thus, not put in to the kitty. And then there is the point of what if everybody puts into the kitty, but nobody does the work and takes from the kitty?

    Then there is the issue where a person takes from the gapper resources, and then takes the kitty, does a poor job of that work, and does that work during the 35 hours instead of "on the side". So now, we need somebody to police that - and that gets to be a drain also.




     
    Ann Torrence
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    paul wheaton wrote:
    I observed that many people my age had no idea HOW to clean.


    Ann, I suspect that I am one of those. Which is a big part of why I think it is painful to ask people to clean. The idea of being asked to clean stuff, even when I made the mess, is seriously broken in me. I do clean, will clean, and have done a lot of cleaning in my time .... and am very anal about quite a few particulars, but it is still a swimming-upstream sort of thing for me. And housekeepers appear to be able to, universally, clean anything ten times faster and much better than me.


    So I suggest the following interview questions


    I think we've been going about this all wrong. I'm now thinking that the thing to do is to have 20+ people here. Some can clean and most only think they can clean. You give them a chance and see what they do.


    I think there are universal questions, regardless of whether they are cleaners or not. Mine might not be the exact right ones, but I suspect that people who don't pick up after themselves in the kitchen also don't return tools to the workshop, operate equipment safely, and generally are a danger to themselves, others and progress. If you can't pick up a beer cap, sew on a button or do chores without being asked, do you have the personal maturity to operate an excavator? Like I said, neither you nor Jocelyn has time to act as remedial parents. If they don't come housebroke, send them on.
     
    paul wheaton
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    So far we have had about 200 people come through here.

    I like the idea that we have about 50 more people come through and two of them turn out to be strong leaders that will set up a permanent residence here.

    With a strong leader, the gapper program is worthwhile. It is worth paying somebody to do the cleaning. Everything is solved.

     
    Julia Winter
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    It's good to want.
     
    Curtis Budka
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    Would you be willing to break down the job of the maid into smaller jobs, paid by the task (like your to-do list)? I think part of the issue with having a salaried person is the obligation is poison thing. If there is only one task that is to be done in order to get paid and make Paul happy, you have less of that problem. This would be difficult/impossible to do for the other two positions because they focus on leadership. I would be willing to do something here and there (on top of all the other projects), but I don't think I would want to commit to a full time cleaning job.
     
    Pia Jensen
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    Curtis Budka wrote:Would you be willing to break down the job of the maid into smaller jobs, paid by the task (like your to-do list)? I think part of the issue with having a salaried person is the obligation is poison thing. If there is only one task that is to be done in order to get paid and make Paul happy, you have less of that problem. This would be difficult/impossible to do for the other two positions because they focus on leadership. I would be willing to do something here and there (on top of all the other projects), but I don't think I would want to commit to a full time cleaning job.


    yes...I've been the cleaner before - it does need defining and organizational controls (personal caretaking prior cleaner) otherwise - it will be hard to keep the position filled (high turn over in cleaner industry in general)
     
    paul wheaton
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    I think that right now we could use somebody for about four days of cleaning. But the thing is that what we NEED is somebody that can see the issue and will jump on it and just do it. They need zero instruction - they just need me to get out of the way.

    I know that to most mortals this sounds ridiculous and impossible, but please go read my thread called "magic boobies". It is a very real thing. Frankly, I'm to the point that I don't want to pay for anything other than magic boobies.




     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    paul wheaton wrote:I think that right now we could use somebody for about four days of cleaning. But the thing is that what we NEED is somebody that can see the issue and will jump on it and just do it. They need zero instruction - they just need me to get out of the way.

    The people who do this, magic boobies or no, "see dirt" as I put it.

    For example, if we put on the task list 'clean the fridge,' someone might do a decent job of cleaning the shelves, drawers and cubbies inside the fridge. Someone who "sees dirt" though, would wipe down the ketchup and condiment jars that are sticky on the bottom before putting them back in, or might notice that a container lid isn't on quite right, or might wash down the top and sides of the outside of the fridge, even if not specifically instructed to do so. The tricky thing is, now that I've explained that, most people would think, 'oh, of course I'd wipe the sticky off the ketchup' or whatever, though it's really, really a huge variable in how things get cleaned. The BIG part of this that is we just don't have time to train or instruct someone on this kind of thing.

    I've made checklists or task lists...and even then things like LOTS of dirty hand prints on the walls, or spilled potting soil on a window sill, were missed because they weren't on the list. By the time I put every little thing like this on the list, I could have cleaned most of it myself.

    I'm not quite sure what Pia means by organization controls and defining. We're pretty dang happy with folks who enjoy cleaning and just take charge of it.

    Some tidying tasks could be put on a task list that might be more of a one-off situation, such as stacking leftover poles/wood from various projects, or a big bunch of dish washing from having an event or food preservation marathon. So, not to contradict Paul, , I imagine there could be some specific things split out at times.

     
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