We are Jay Baker and Jane Watkinson, a Sheffield-based socialist, feminist and vegan couple trying our best to make a positive dent in the world around us.
When we meet someone, one of the first questions we all ask is: what is it you do? We implicitly know what the do implies: work. What we do is key to whether society judges us as a success or not. But what does success mean?
Often success is only viewed in a narrow commercial sense, even if it comes at a huge cost to people’s health, time and work/life balance. Wouldn’t it be better if we stopped to think about what success means, not just to the person working but also the people their work affects? This is why we focus on social impact: the effect on society, well-being, community engagement and the environment.
However, often things that have a high social impact don’t have a high financial return, and this is where the dominant conception and structure of work and value is highly flawed.
For every pound earned by advertising executives, they destroy an equivalent of £7 in the form of stress, overconsumption, pollution, and debt. Conversely, each pound paid to a trash collector creates an equivalent of £12 in terms of health and sustainability.
Combined, we have worked in the social and community sector for 25 years and we use our skills and experience to help promote work and activities that achieve social impact. We are co-founders of AFC Unity, and Libre Digital and its two initiatives, the FreeTech Project and SilenceBreaker Media.
Despite each of us regularly working 60-80hr working weeks (most of it unpaid), neither of us have ever had conventional jobs and we reject the concept of “Alarm Clock Britain” as a pissing contest for who gets up earliest and works the longest – what matters is the work we do. Life is the sum of our actions.
As technological advancement means automation takes over what many of us call “bullshit jobs,” this will leave us all with an opportunity to focus on collaboration, creativity and – above all – community. Striving for a better society means, in our case, choosing quality over quantity, morals over money, people over profit, and true values over the value of things.
With that in mind, we of all people understand people’s pursuit of their dreams and we will do what we can to help make them a reality.
We envision a world where the value of work is measured by its social impact and part of a healthy work/life balance, encouraging activity, creativity, and community.
Our work ETHIC:
Empowerment: our approach is focused on empowering those we engage with to fulfil their potential and continue their activities long after we’ve worked with them.
Time: we understand time is precious and investment of it should be towards sustainability.
Hope: we are focused on a positive approach and on realising alternative possibilities for the future.
Inspiration: we aim to inspire thought and initiative in those we work with, so they can in turn inspire others too.
Cooperation: we are keen to work with others in creative ways to contribute to a better community.
Watch Rutger Bregman explain some of these key points in this 2 minute video: