Balanced Jobs in a Housing Cooperative – Part 2

I wanted to follow up from my previous post about how our housing co-op could implement a form of balanced job complexes.

Our group did agree to try balancing out the work.  We came up with a list of 12 jobs, and then it made sense to split those jobs in to two types: A and B.  Type A jobs are more empowering work, they generally involve more creativity and some skill.  Type B jobs are not bad jobs but they are less empowering and more rote.  

Although at first it may seem like overkill to take the time to split up household jobs in a balanced way, ignoring the distribution of household work seems to ensure that the work is not shared fairly and even worse, that existing social hierarchies are reproduced in our household division of labor.  

Here are the jobs we came up with.  Since there are 6 of us in the house, it makes sense if each of us takes one Type A job and one Type B job.



Type A Jobs:


1.  Treasurer
Keep track of utility bills as they come in,
Make sure utility bills are paid
Sum up the bills for that month
Keep track of savings account
Make sure everyone pays on time
Deposit checks or cash payments
Make mortgage payment on time
Prepare monthly report on utility bills, savings, etc.



2.  Food/Kitchen Manager


Manage communal food – including splitting up costs, who buys it, etc.


Maintain schedule for communal meals


Verify that kitchen chores are being done, and resolve any issues


Manage the refrigerator – make sure old things are removed



3.  House Project Coordinator


Collect and keep track of list of house repairs and renovations needed


Working with the house, prioritize list of repairs


Identify list of materials needed to complete repairs


Organize the work for the repairs, either through work parties or based on individual volunteer time


Prepare reports for the meetings to talk about status of different projects

4.  Social Action / Community Outreach


Be the default contact person for outsiders (other than applicants) contacting the co-op


Reach out to other groups or individuals on behalf of the co-op, when needed


Setup meetings or invite people to dinner that the group wants to meet with


Manage the planning of occasional get togethers, community parties, or other events that the group wants to have





5.  Garden Steward


Facilitate the planting of the garden in our yard


Manage the work needed for the garden – whether through work parties or individual volunteer time


Identify list of materials needed for garden


Prepare reports for the meetings on status of the garden



6.  Financial Planner


Manage co-op’s plans for how money will be saved and spent


Take in input from all members on financial priorities, to construct a plan


Create a plan for group to eventually own the house, if that remains one of our goals


Identify ways that we can save more and spend less as a group





Type B Jobs:


1.  Reading/book club chair
Collect and organize list of books/readings that the group wants to read
Maintain a realistic schedule for the readings and discussion
Facilitate obtaining at least 1 house copy of the reading
Remind people at meetings what is next on our reading schedule
Encourage discussion through e-mail group when necessary



2.  Compost Manager


Manage the addition of waste to compost pile (i.e. make sure ratios are correct)


Maintain pile of brown matter to add with food waste


Make sure the pile is turned at the appropriate time



3.  Recycling/Trash Manager


Maintain schedule for who will take out trash and recycling


Verify that these jobs are done, and remind people when they forget


If someone is unable to take out the trash/recycling for some reason, make sure it gets done



4.  Yard Manager


Verify that yard is kept decently clean


Schedule yard clean-ups when necessary to clean the yard up


Manage any non-garden related yard projects



5.  Applicant Liaison


Manage placement of roommate ads


Be the contact person for applicants


Schedule meetings between applicants and current housemates


Keep track of and share written applications submitted by applicants



6.  House Cleaning Manager


Verify that the house is being kept clean


Make sure people are cleaning up after themselves


Manage house cleaning chores


Schedule any house clean-ups that are necessary





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