If it takes one person 10 hours to dig a trench, how long does it take 10 people? Potentially 10 times as long, but it’ll be a lot more fun in the process! It does, of course, depend on how many lunch/coffee/beer breaks there are in the process. And the time taken is probably directly proportional to the amount of chatting, bird watching, tickling, and pushing of other people into the trench.
Many jobs are seriously hard yakka when you tackle them yourself, but more of a party when you tackle them in a group. So why do we insist on doing everything ourselves?
I learnt years ago that it is very difficult to ask for help. I also learnt that it is truly important. When I had chronic fatigue syndrome, some jobs were literally beyond me. Being housebound so much, and for so long, I became very isolated and went extremely crazy (hard to believe, I know, but take my word for it!). So I had to ask for help. I needed people to visit. Our friends were crucial in helping my husband with the daunting task of keeping me from disappearing totally inside my navel, as well as helping us get stuff done occasionally.
Once I got better, though, I slipped back into that old habit of not asking for help. Asking for help is a very vulnerable thing to do – you feel exposed, and in our society, asking for help can be seen as a sign of weakness and inability to cope. We soldier on, we do it tough, we man the barricades and don’t let anyone see us cry. It’s really very sad.
So I have a new idea. I am going to start a working bee club. Anyone who has a big job to do, or a tedious job, or simply a job they think would be more fun in company, can sign up and post their job on the group calendar. Anyone in the group who is free that day can show up to help with the work. And when the helpers have jobs of their own to do, what goes around will come around and they will be helped in their turn.
Help could be anything from providing food for the workers, babysitting ofchildren too young to help, or actually doing the job – everyone helps out according to their skills and interests. Heck, with the really boring jobs you can show up and play a guitar to keep us entertained, or read from a particularly good book, or stand on your head to keep the kids entertained, if that’s your idea of fun.
I think this is an idea with great potential. Potential to make difficult jobs easier. Potential to create a sense of community. Potential to connect people who might otherwise be isolated. Potential to be a lot of fun.
I don’t know if it will work. But it will certainly be interesting! So if this sounds like a good idea, why not sign up to my working bee club (email me), or start one of your own?