In a recent blog post comparing the experience of life at Twin Oaks (or Acorn) with that of the mainstream i said a number of things including:
More security, less privacy. More community, less personal access to money. More flexibility, less resume building opportunities.
Tree responded to this by writing a comment that said:
You wrote, “less resume building opportunities.” I disagree. For all but the few members who are abandoning some high-profile career path to be there, TO has way *more* resume-building opportunities than outside. Arrive knowing nothing, manage a major program within a year. Many members use that knowledge to get or create great jobs when they leave.
The FEC communities don’t require you to arrive with any particular skills or money, instead what you need is reasonable to good communication skills and a willingness to learn things and work. We will train you. And as Tree points out, the training is vast. You can learn how to run a business, or a dairy program, or a to program computers, or keep bees, or fix buildings, or teach kids, or how to get arrested at a protest, how to milk a cow, or run a saw mill, or a sewage treatment plant, or make cheese, or build a straw bale, or plumbing, carpentry or auto mechanics (please come and learn auto mechanics!). And this is just the beginning of the list. A number of young members have come after college and learned many of the things which a trade school would have taught, but in a more relaxed and self paced environment. They build elaborate tree houses, learned to cook tasty vegan food for scores of people at once, how to fish or skin a deer. What the flexibility of community living provides in these cases opens an entire world of assisted self directed learning. The communities have basically open “Teach” budgets in which you can get trained in anything that you are interested in and the member who trains you gets labor credits for the skills transfer (you as a student do not get labor credits, unless it is something you are learning to support one of our regularly budgeted domestic or income areas).
So Tree is right, if you are not trying to be the Chief Technology Officer at GigaCorp or the Senior VP for Operations at DowJones Inc, then a stay at the communes will not set your resume back, and could well advance it if you are motivated enough to learn inside of this myriad of possibilities.