Let’s Live Together.
After World War II, there was so much prosperity that it seemed like a grand idea for everyone to have his/her/their own everything. Suburbs grew fast. Many of us grew up in a single family home in the classic nuclear family. Suddenly everyone had air conditioning, and his/her/their own car, and nursing homes for elderly relatives.
Although single family homes have a lot to say for themselves, they have become an expensive way to live—for our planet and for each other.
That’s why I am now a huge fan of multi-generational, multi-family, multi-whomever living. I speak from experience: My beloved and I moved from a too-pricey apartment to a house we share. The benefits are endless.
There is work to do to make multi-whomever living possible for more folks, but that work is already starting to happen. Today I learned there is language to describe that process; creating Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs if you have a taste for acronyms.
The Atlantic has a new opinion piece out that goes into detail about Accessory Dwelling Units that I highly recommend. Just as zoning laws encouraged single family homes, we could change the zoning tide and encourage sharing.
What does this have to do with work? Everything, I think. Our workplace is, by necessity, becoming multi-generational. The skills of getting along together at work can also be learned at home, where one needs to learn patience about key issues like who took the last apple. At the same time, sharing lowers our cost of living. Lowering costs is not just for young people any more. Boomers are learning, perhaps for the first time in their largely economically blessed lives, that belt tightening includes sharing.
Living together also includes learning true admiration and respect for each other. Each of us in our shared house is finding admiration for the other’s unexpected skills. We are also learning new skills ourselves. For me, it is part of a continuing lesson in not blurting out every passing thought. For our collective three cats and a dog, it is that noise-making is ok but inflicting injuries is not, which is a great reminder for those of us in the house with two legs, as well.
Ronna Lichtenberg is your Business Granny, whose life now is about learning and sharing how to comb through the tangles that show up in everyone’s everyday life. She started work as a kid in her Dad’s bar, in complete violation of Child Labor Laws. Since then she has had fancy jobs, gone to fancy schools and programs and has been lucky enough to have a family much cooler than she is. People tend to come to her for advice about money and the relationships that come along with it: bosses, employees, investors, stakeholders, public officials and people who just have opinions.