What’s the motivation of work: Learning from the placement in PANDA

The host organization of my placement is PANDA, a performing arts network and development agency in Manchester. PANDA has a network of over 1,000 individuals and around 400 paying members, but they found it was difficult to make effective communication with and engage the members. So they would like to encourage connection, collaboration and make the members a feeling a community within the network. The purpose of my placement was therefore to inform the establishment of such a scheme, which would be helpful in engaging the members. They “envisage the placement would be a key player in setting this up.”

My placement started last year, 30th October. From the starting date to the end of last term, I researched into the demand, scope, benefits and potential barriers to the two types of community currency schemes: Local Exchange Trading System and Time Banks. The final scheme we decided to set up was Time Banks. (Reasons have been written into the report.) At first, I was very excited because I never heard about community currency schemes and it was good to learn about the schemes when reviewing the existed cases and researching results. With the researching work moving on, I needed to send survey to the members who were going to attend the scheme. But I was told that it was difficult to receive responses. It was also hard to make investigation among the members through other ways. The work was then not as simple as I initially thought. Besides collecting information, I also had to understand the host organization PANDA for a better research result. But the time was limited and the communication was also a challenge. For a period of time, I didn’t know how to continue my work.

But I was really keen to see the establishment of the scheme. When it came to the second semester, I contacted the director of PANDA and we agreed to start by running a trial of Time Banks scheme. There were totally eleven people attending the trial. I contacted and made communication with them all by email. Actually, I didn’t even meet all of the participants. Dozens of emails which related to the scheme are now in my mailbox. Those emails remind me every little time in the second stage of my placement. To be honest, I sometimes did feel tired of communicating by email, and some members didn’t reply actively, but it seemed that I was more motivated than last year. When I had a review of the placement, I asked myself the reason. I thought it was because of ‘people’. I just love to communicate with people. It’s the things you do that matter, not the ways you do it. More importantly, I knew the work I was doing would help engage people.

Everyone has the need for work, but a need is not enough to work in an environment which mostly is just you and a computer. The placement in PANDA was a really unforgettable experience. It also provided me with chance to think about what’s really matter to me. Then what’s your motivation of work?