Our latest job description read like this:
“Your duties are the same as the rest of the staff”.
Instead of 4 pages of all the small duties a prospected employee is expected to perform to avoid a potential future argument whether a required task was part of the job description, new staff is required to become part of the family.
These long lists are more likely to scare the applicant as it seems a day doesn’t have enough hours to fulfill half of the requirements. In reality these lists contains mundane duties as well as specific skills. 78% are tasks you can do while listening to a colleague and are often done absentmindedly.
At Borderline each individual is responsible for a specific part of our many activities, when needed each other staff is capable of taking over. This fluid working process has never been invented, created or designed it has organically grown that way, just like most things in and around Borderline are the result of an organic process. Our Tea Garden the most visible example.
Early on at Borderline there was hardly enough income to sustain 3 staff members, and there was a part time cleaning lady. When sales picked up and more staff was needed, Nwe Nwe the cleaning lady started to help in the kitchen and would eventually be our full time chef, who also would take over cooking classes when that was needed. She stayed for around 10 years and her sister Nge Nge is still one of us. The duties for cleaning were divided among staff and the next full time staff member would be asked to take on every duty that all others did.
Once we read a review on a website that was very negative. While we received mostly 4 and 5 stars, this customer was so dissatisfied he barely gave us 1 star. One of his complaints was that when he approached the window to order, all staff was sitting on the ground around a low table eating lunch. He saw this as bad business, probably expecting table service in the restaurant.
The reality was that staff probably ate lunch late, and together as they feel like a family and don’t want to eat in two groups. They prefer to eat after the lunch rush. The other reality is, that if they do eat together, the moment somebody orders food, one or more will get up and start to cook. No customer will be ignored.
As staff doesn’t have very defined duties, the day can be very eclectic. Besides handicrafts and cooking there are the Art shows to hang, and don’t forget as of today Revolute will be here for another week, there are jams and peanut butters to make, Cooking Classes to give, Batik Classes to organise and small products to make.
For years Borderline in collaboration with Chimmuwa has made and sold Cotton Present Bags. At Borderline these are hand painted using elements of our garden as inspiration and tool. In that way, our dear friend Bo Bo is still part of our team as it was him who planted most of our plants.
Today we are busy preparing more bags for the annual holiday shopping, each bag is absolutely unique.