December 2009 Archives

December 28, 2009

Nanny-Sharing: Finding the Right Fit Can Be Challenging

An interesting article in a recent Wall Street Journal describes the author's struggle to find an appropriate nanny-sharing setup for her infant daughter. The challenge is twofold: first, finding a family to share with, and then finding just the right nanny to care for your child.

It's probably best to face the two challenges in the order listed, so that you and the other sharers can hire the nanny together and be sure everyone is fully on board with that crucial choice. There are a lot of issues to negotiate in setting up the sharing arrangement, too--hours, transportation, what the children are to be fed, what types of activities you want them to be engaged in, and how you'll share costs and deal with taxes. All of these questions are resolvable, especially if you talk about them in advance--as with most sharing agreements, communication is key here.

Sharing child care has a ton of advantages. It saves money for everyone, conserves resources, and provides children with opportunities to socialize with others in a home environment. Challenging as it may be to find the right setup, once you do it's likely to benefit your family in the short and long term. 
December 23, 2009

Seattle Times Grapples with the Stickiness of Sharing

The Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest Magazine just featured a great article about sharing.  Something I love about the article is that writer Carol Ostrom seemed to search far and wide for examples of the most difficult sharing arrangements, and she grappled with some of our biggest fears about sharing. In fact, she interviewed me at great length about my own most challenging sharing experiences, and probed to learn about how they were resolved. As she puts it, most people's biggest fear around sharing relates to "c-c-conflicts." 

And I'm glad she chose to focus right in on this, because skeptical readers might otherwise roll their eyes an article that extols the virtues of sharing, without addressing the barriers.  This is especially important, because she didn't just write about simple sharing arrangements, such as lawnmower sharing.  She actually gave examples of what we might call EXTREME SHARING, including a moving example of organ sharing (donating a kidney to a stranger).  She even touches on the sharing of lovers among members of a commune (noting, however, that the commune members found that possessiveness and jealousies eventually got in the way of sharing everything). Very interesting stuff!
December 9, 2009

The Return of the Holiday Party: How Sharing Makes it Happen

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Yup, it's that time of year again--holiday time. But it's also recession time, and businesses are spending less--and an easy place to cut costs is to reduce the costs of company events. One of the casualties of the recession has been the traditional company holiday party--but sharing is helping the tradition make a comeback. According to the New York Times, smaller companies can present parties on a budget by sharing the costs of venue and food with other companies. For example, a Philadelphia catering company offers Snow Balls, described as "all-inclusive, shared corporate holiday parties," as the solution to the difficulties of entertaining during the recession. A New Jersey hotel is offering similar options. The benefits extend beyond giving the employees an event to go to--organizers point out that the companies and their employees have the opportunity to network with the other businesses sharing the venue. Certainly, connecting with others is one of our favorite benefits of sharing, at holiday time and throughout the year.