Small City Saturday: Joining Forces versus Going it Alone


I’ve noticed lately that there is a trend toward creating small businesses, working mostly for oneself, and generally starting a lot of new projects. Whether these projects are non-profits meant to benefit the community or businesses meant to benefit with money, I see people wanting the luxury of exercising full control over their enterprises. Sure, the blame is there too, but people seem to be excited to take credit and all the benefits from the things they start.

Much of the media attention and notoriety in my small city goes to people who started something: a non-profit agency, a business, a new city program. There are very few ways in which “serial joiners” like me and Husband are recognized. This is fine, but it is interesting. Serial joiners, as I define it, are people who join forces with those who start new initiatives rather than adding to the initiatives themselves.

My perception is that, as our city starts to prosper with a lot of momentum but few solid results so far, we don’t just need new initiatives. We need more joiners. We need people who will show up for the meeting, take the survey, give two hours to the volunteer project, and go home afterwards. These people seem to give less, but they also get less: no one writes about the regular old members in the newspaper. However, without a strong base of people who are willing to donate 20 dollars, the campaign never gets funded.

Lately, I’ve really been interested in how people do little things – sure, it’s wonderful to get the $10,000 grant, but how often do you put $10 toward a project you care about rather than buying a burrito or a new lipstick or a phone case? I’m interested, more than ever, in the many ways that individuals make small contributions, because I really believe we get farther when many people band together behind the ideas of those around them than we do when we each are angling for our own slice of big-idea fame.

So I’m challenging myself this week to find 3 important, interesting projects/businesses/non-profits that could use my small-impact support, and I’m going to do what I have to do (volunteer, donate, or just show up). Is there a way that you can do the same thing? We probably won’t be recognized for it, but when big things happen, we’ll know that we had a tiny part in it.

3 Comments, RSS

  1. Vic Crain December 2, 2017 @ 5:40 pm

    I enjoy reading your posts, but you’ve missed a key point on this one. Yes, there is an exhilaration in working for oneself, but there is also a necessity. Once you reach somewhere in the range of 45 to 55 (depending on line of work), you cease to be employable in corporate America. In fact insurance advisors encourage companies to get rid of older workers to reduce health insurance costs. (That’s actually in some of the training material I saw in getting an insurance license myself.)

    At that age range, you’re going to see a massive income cut, your health costs will be upwards of $1,000 per month per person, and government benefits last for 26 weeks in most states, and you’re not eligible for Social Security. You need to have 6 months income in cash and be prepared to start a business, or take a low paying job (Wal-Mart greeter anyone?) and be prepared to abandon your home. It’s bad.

    Beyond that, Social Security doesn’t pay enough to meet expenses in most areas of the US. That the cause of people leaving the US to live elsewhere (the “American Diaspora” about which I’ve blogged). In the US, Americans can anticipate upwards of $240,000 of medical expenses in later years that Medicare doesn’t cover. A lot of seniors rely on Medicaid, which the GOP is trying to kill.

    So unless you’re a teacher with a secure pension or have great wealth, self-employment isn’t a luxury — it’s Plan B for when Plan A abruptly ends. It’s something you need to plan to do.

  2. MW December 3, 2017 @ 6:50 am

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and liking my post about crocheting. I share some of your thoughts about planning and I happened to teach too!

  3. fakanal01 December 3, 2017 @ 1:46 pm

    Very good post!Welcome fakanal01 caffee.Thanks.

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