Why is “maintenance” such a difficult concept for many Albanians?

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MaintenanceThe second law of thermodynamics states that things are in a constant state of decay, thus anything and everything in this world is in a constant state of consumption and entropy. Man-made materials are especially prone to this law. Thus, objects and subjects alike require a certain level of maintenance for them to operate at an optimal level for the duration of their individual lifespan!

These are some examples of everyday maintenance situations:

  • A door needs to be oiled from time-to-time so it doesn’t squeak.
  • A chair needs to be tightened or slightly strengthened to maintain its rigidity.
  • An elevator needs to be mechanically maintained for safe and efficient use.
  • An irrigation pump needs its tubes cleansed and adjusted so that it works when most needed.
  • A road needs to be maintained so that it does not wear out faster or become dangerous.
  • A friendship needs to be maintained as well, it requires care for the other.
  • Etc., etc.

However, these situations and the general concept of maintenance still seem to be a hard concept to grasp for many an Albanian. Just the other day I was taking the elevator up to my parents apartment to notice that it had worsened though there are people that are paid to maintain it. But this is just one example, the hardest part to understand is why this is so wide spread as a cultural phenomena, which leads me to reach these various conclusions:

  • On a psychological level I understand this to be the result of brute “selfishness” and lack of care.
  • On a practical level I understand this to be the result of “too many” things to worry or take care of.
  • On a financial level I understand this to be a lack of “resources”.
  • On a business level I understand this to be a lack of “management skills”.
  • On a human level I understand this to be a lack of “will” to change things.
  • On a political level I understand this to be a lack of “understanding” on the need to change.

Garden

It is as though we are under the impression that if things are left on their own they will somehow fix themselves without our intervention, which is a very fatalistic worldview. At least this is true about the elevator that I mentioned earlier.

As a consultant, sometimes the best illustration that I use with some of my customers is that of a garden which needs to be maintained for it to remain beautiful. Though as Albanians we are very capable to enjoy and appreciate beautiful and functioning things, at the same time, we often seem unable to move ourselves to the point where we can do what is necessary to maintain or even improve on them!