A graphic-designer finds a workplace where tensions can be discussed openly

Klaus Van Thoor

Klaas van Thoor 1990 –

Klaas has worked in organic gardening, tool- and die-making, parts production for the automobile industry, and graphic design. 

While I was there, the company where I trained in Germany went from a friendly, comfortable place to a 24/7 production company with around-the-clock shifts. At one point our old boss was replaced. People didn’t matter to the new boss: they were numbers on a spreadsheet. Soon we were doing rolling shifts – early, late, at night – that were entirely out of sync with the rest of the world. I know of colleagues whose marriages collapsed. Another left because he valued time with his family above a well-paying job. 

Today, Klaas works in the graphics department for the Bruderhof’s Community Playthings business.

I work with brothers and sisters all day long. Not under them, and not over them. Even my so-called boss is my brother, spiritually speaking. When there are tensions or problems, we talk about them openly. There’s a sense of teamwork that I know is very rare elsewhere.

To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dung fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should. It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesuit poet
After community meals, the men do the dishes.

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