Tenacious. Resilient. Responsible. Hard-working. Bold. Gutsy. Resourceful.
What do these characteristics have in common? I would argue that you can find them in the majority of young professionals who had a farm-related background or are still connected and involved with their farms. Whether you grew crops or vegetables, raised chickens or beef, I think the single best way to have grown up was on a farm and I count my blessings that I was lucky enough to be among the very limited population that was.
I might be biased, but…OK, I’m very definitely biased, but that doesn’t detract from the statement I’d like to make. Caution, if you weren’t raised on a farm, you might not like this.
But, farm kids make the best employees. They truly do.
Hear me out.
Weeks ago while trying to describe my work ethic, I was searching for a way to define how I approach problems, tackle projects and basically get things done. I said that I didn’t believe in 9-to-5 and thought that if something had a deadline and needed to be finished, you worked away at it until done even if that meant long hours into the night or over weekends. In a side remark, I described it as having the farm-kid factor. No further explanation was needed as I was among fellow farm kids.
Later on as I was driving home, I was still thinking back to that statement. That label. Growing up on a farm has impacted my life in so many ways; some I’m not even aware of until it’s pointed right out to me. Everything from the way I attempt to do most things myself first like fix or replace parts in my car to how I feel the need to pack as much productivity as possible into the daylight hours. I notice that when I come home from work, it’s so difficult for me to stay inside or park myself on the couch after having sat all day at the office. When I get home, I’m itching to get some fresh air and get myself away from the screen(s).
I’ve also noticed that my upbringing has had significant impact on the people I call friends. I’m drawn to folks that share a lot of similar characteristics. My circle of friends is made up of some great women who have started out in smaller, rural areas and have worked their butt off for everything they have. I find it admirable that they have gained success by their own merits and continue to chase their goals without depending on anyone else to do it for them. I’ll be the first to admit that I really struggle to connect with people who have had most things handed to them in life.
So, what is it about the farm upbringing that sets us apart?
Straight outta the gate, my siblings and I were given jobs around the farm. We weren’t overloaded with impossible tasks and it wasn’t some sort of child slave labour camp, but we had chores that we were expected to help with because we learned from early on to share the workload and to take an active part in the success of our family farm. Many hands make light work.
From an early age, we learned how to help care for the animals by feeding the the calves, putting fresh bedding in the pens, and helping with harvest. We also learned about responsibility with our 4H calves by training and getting them ready for the shows and achievement day competitions over the summer and fall. These experiences taught us to care for more than just ourselves. We had real, live animals that were depending on us for food and shelter so it wasn’t even a question of whether we felt like helping or not, we simply just did.
These early lessons instilled a huge sense of responsibility in me later in life which has carried over to my professional life. I fully believe in taking responsibility for what you do and in being a strong part of the team.
As I was growing up, I learned pretty quickly that having an open mind and a willing attitude would get me much further in life than if I waited for everything to be done for me. I would also describe this as being not afraid to learn. There were a lot of times when I was working on something on my own and would have to rely on my own resourcefulness to get the job done. The expectation was that you always first attempted to tackle something yourself, and then if you couldn’t figure it out, ask for help. I was taught to never shy away from something that seemed impossible and I always surprised myself when I was able to tackle an especially daunting task.
Maybe it’s just me, but I see this problem a lot with millennials these days. It seems like they’re almost scared to try, or maybe scared of failure. Whatever it is, I know that being resourceful is more of a frame of mind than anything, and a willingness to try all options before admitting defeat.
I hope this doesn’t sound redundant, but I truly believe farmers are some of the hardest working people I know.
Why? Because the work is not over when the clock strikes 5. Heck, it’s not over when the clock strikes anything because the work is never truly over. This includes holidays, weekends, even Christmas morning. There’s a million and one jobs to be done on the farm and they are never-ending. I grew up seeing first-hand that your success is a direct result of how much effort you put in. Therefore, as I carry on through my work now, I know that hard work does pay off and it’s important to put the effort in otherwise your results will be less than thrilling.
I was also taught the dig-in, get your hands dirty, and do-it-yourself attitude from a young age. My father made no real distinctions between my brothers and I. Sure, there were some brute-force physical tasks that I couldn’t do, but I found plenty of other equally sweat-inducing jobs to do.
There’s plenty of other attributes that I haven’t listed, but these 3 stick out the most to me and I find to be most relevant from industry to industry. Do you agree with me? Is there something big I’m missing? I want to hear your thoughts on this!
To close, here’s a list of sweet songs for all the rockin’ farm girls in my life:
Link to site/post here: Country Girl Power Playlist by POPSUGAR