I’ve had some things on my mind lately and one of them is that people have a really hard time trusting other people going through life fearful of each other. We aren’t necessarily taught to trust but to always look out for someone ready to take advantage of us. Even the best intentioned people don’t trust and always hold reservation. This co-op project hits people at the core of this fear because to have a worker owned cooperative people need to trust one another and they need to be open, honest with one another and that may just hit the nerve people can’t stand to have touched. Too painful. Too uncomfortable.
In a worker owned cooperative you are asked to, 1) give your money to buy into the business in order to have a full say in the way it works. You have to trust everyone to hold onto your money. 2) to get raises, promoted or for anything to happen you have to let people see who you really are because if they don’t trust you then you get none of these things. 3) in a cooperative where there is consensus people have to speak up, speak honestly without emotion, like anger, and be heard and that much open honesty can be a scary thing for many people.
Everything about a cooperative is also new to people who their whole lives been told or have had a job where they were told what to do, when to do it by, and then wait, wait, wait for critique, some kind of reward or even a word that can take months, or a year, before the review by which time much is of it often distorted and you don’t end up looking as good as you really are or told how valuable you have been. We are often critiques negatively hardly if ever hearing anything positive.
That’s what is different about a cooperative where people talk, talk all the time with one another, giving constant feedback, praise and even give assistance to do better in a world where we are taught we have to do it all on our own. Stand on your own two feet. On your own merit. We are judged by uncaring, heartless, distant people. A cooperative goes against the whole notion of doing things for one self, ‘what’s in it for me’ outlook. That is taken away and replaced with, what’s good for all of us. Is what I am doing going to benefit all of us? How? And, there’s no quarterly returns.
That’s why I keep plugging away hoping someone (in Denver area) other than myself gets it and decides to join me in creating something better.