Arjuna got attacked on Facebook not so long ago.
A well meaning person pointed out that our wages are pretty low. This is absolutely true but we do get a bonus once a year. As a co-op we decide on how much we want to take out of our business, it’s sort of like saving throughout the year without needing the discipline – and more to the point, we decide how much our hourly rate is as well!
We tried to explain this to the Facebook poster in question but she still wasn’t very happy with us.
The thing is, working at Arjuna is about a lot more than money.
It’s a co-op which means we don’t have a boss. Sure, there’s a hierarchy based on experience. But if a newer co-op member has a good idea, it gets listened to. Everyone is respected and though we have room for teasing, dignity comes first.
We also get business experience in a way not offered elsewhere. If you’re interested in organising catering events, you can do that. Want to do social media and website stuff? Sure, here are the log ins. If you want to work in the kitchen, we can train you to do that. Learning to be a buyer is an option. And all of us take turns on the till, stocking and looking after customers.
If you become a worker, you’ll be a business owner too.
There’s a great bit of evidence (study) that says having a job that you’re passionate about is more important than your bank balance. Promoting eco friendly vegan and vegetarian food is something worth doing.
Arjuna has its ups and downs but I think all of us who work here find our passion grows rather than wanes.
Also, many of us bike or walk to work because the shop is in central Cambridge and we don’t have a car park. Car commutes aren’t good for us. Biking or walking is statistically likely to make you happier.
Also I’d say that a co-op model prompts people buddying up. Have you ever spent time in or with one of those families with ten kids or more? The siblings tend to have a few favourite family members. Most of us have one person we work with who we get on with really well. For me that’s Hollie – she’s a hilarious, resilient, dreadlocked goddess and I never dance but she makes me dance!
Having meaningful work with people you can laugh with is worth a lot.
Everyone’s priorities are different and no life is perfect. It might be you need to work hard for a stretch and pay off a mortgage or raise littleuns (though we have several Mums and Dads at Arjuna who manage just fine!)
We hope you FEEL you’re on the right path in life right now.
We think we are!