As you probably know, Haven Herbs is a worker owned cooperative apothecary. All of us who work for Haven are also owners (not just employees- there is no "boss"), and that is a very different work dynamic than most people are used to. Democracy at work, being able to balance personal and professional, and working for a company that cares about you personally (and whether or not you thrive) is not common in late-stage capitalism. It is rare and precious and should never be taken for granted. I treasure my connection to Haven Herbs and the work it gives me.
Finding the right folks to join us in owning the company has presented its challenges. So many of us have been socialized to clock-in, clock-out and get that paycheck (and that's it). Still others have been socialized to compete with other workers for attention and favor. We are all shiny here at Haven and all have value, and that takes some getting used to!
What does it mean to be an owner?
Owning a company means working longer and harder when necessary not necessarily getting a wage that is tied to your work hours, and being a visionary, not just a cog in a machine. Owning a cooperative company means we are all on the same team- that's not just talk. When someone is sick or takes a sabbatical, we all have to pick up the slack of some of the work that needs doing.
Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. Not everyone knows how to be openly communicative and an ensemble member. Nor is everyone ready to be responsible for planning and executing a year's (or more) worth of work plan! Worker owners are special and good ones are hard to come by.
To me, ownership has meant getting help to steer the ship (not hurt myself doing it all by myself). It has also (gladly) meant some ego death. I used to be the only owner of several businesses, which meant my word was the way things went down. Now I am one of many owners, and I do not always get my way. And I like it that way.
Not only do I get to defer to other worker owners who have realms of responsibility and skill sets different from my own, but I also get to let go of all.the.things. (Which is hard when you are used to being the only owner- when you let go and it crashes and burns!) I get to exercise radical trust and letting go when it comes to the governorship of Haven. I get to have a voice and make my case for a position, but given all the amazing talent we have recruited- mine is not always the best position. It makes me a better, more balanced person.
My realms of responsibility at Haven are: formulator, sourcing, educator, and community relations. I get to teach free classes, write literature about herbalism, envision and execute all our awesome formulas, and reach out to the community about education, mutual aid, and possibilities. It means so much that I get to do this work for a company I believe in.