The other night in the middle of milking I had a thought about my present state of employment. I shared that thought on my facebook page and I guess people liked it. Because it was a mid milking ramble I didn’t get out my full thoughts about the subject, but now that I have a moment I feel like I should expand and fully explain my theory on how working with cows is nothing like working with an office full of women and also totally like working with an office full of women.
Previous to my career and life change I had a cube job. The normal 8-5, weekends off, pants are not optional, don’t show up with wet hair from the shower because you woke up late job that the majority of our nation holds. The sales and marketing world was good to me but I have never been the type that has done well in collaboration with others. Which is fancy talk for what my kindergarten report card so clearly listed, “Does not play well with others”. It’s not that I don’t like people, I think this just states that I was just meant to be in business for myself.
When I was given the opportunity to join the farm and leave the cube life behind I jumped! I mean farming is a job where you have no boss, the cows don’t care what you wear and you are independent as can be.
Here is my new reality:
I must wear pants- I mean, I can wear shorts or overalls or whatever, but there must be something on the lower part of my body. This isn’t a newsflash by any means but it’s pretty much an unspoken rule that pants are required for farm labor. The good news is that the cows don’t care if my pants match my shirt or if they are clean. In fact I am positive the cows want me to wear dirty pants. Wearing a clean pair of pants to the barn is a super fast way to make sure that something happens that will cover you in a not so fine layer of manure. The only way to ensure a faster delivery of manure to your pants is to go to the barn with clean, good pants on. Which leads me to…
I now have multiple wardrobes- I am far, far, far from a fashion obsessed girl. My desire in life is to have clothes that fit me and don’t make me look like a moron. My closet has space in it as does my dresser, which is where I keep my “good” clothes. The clothes that I wear when I am concerned that the general smell of manure or jeans with acid holes will clash with the people I am attempting to surround myself with. I now have two classes of “good” clothes. Clothes I wear when I am in a business setting and will never work as barn clothes and clothes that I wear into town that are only one “quick stop at the farm” away from being barn clothes. And then I have my barn clothes. My barn clothes can be divided into several categories- Standard barn clothes, no major holes, not majorly hideous. Layering barn clothes, not layering because of warmth but because they have large holes in “sensitive” areas. By sensitive I mean, jeans that the ass or crotch has ripped out. A good pair of barn jeans is worth their weight in gold so I keep these in the hopes that I will suddenly take up sewing as a hobby. The last category of barn clothes is the “Please don’t let anyone see me in these clothes, barn clothes”- This category of clothing came from Goodwill, they are horribly ugly and would scare small children, but I have them because sometimes all the other categories of barn clothes are in a heap on the laundry room floor and as I stated earlier, on the farm pants are NOT optional.
Working 9-5- Workin 9 to 5, What a way to make a livin, Barely gettin by, It’s all takin, And no givin, They just use your mind, And they never give you credit, It’s enough to drive you, Crazy if you let it. …. Really, 9-5? Try 5-9, sing a song about that Dolly! Use your mind? how about your body and your soul? Sing a song about THAT Dolly!
I am not the boss of me- Long gone are my fantasies that farming meant that I would be my own boss. I am now stuck in the proverbial “Too many chiefs, not enough Indians” scenario. My life is ruled by 100 females and their offspring. They don’t care if they hurt my feelings, on occasion they seem to take joy in hurting my body as well as my feelings. Weekends, holidays, what are those? Influenza, swine flu, bottle flu? Who cares, get your butt to work! My cows demand to be milked at the same times every day, they want their food at the same time every day, they demand my full attention at all times. If I fail to meet their expectations and they get agitated with me, they are very likely to show their displeasure in my performance by flinging poo at me.
The pay is lousy- You think farmers are rich? You’re wrong. Average household income for a dairy farmer is somewhere around $57,000. That’s not each, that’s household. And that of course isn’t the case when the milk price tanks and all of a sudden it costs us money to stay in business. Seriously, in 2008 and 2009 the milk price was so low dairy farmers were losing money every day.
I work with 100 women- I am on call 24/7/365. If one of my bosses needs anything I am there, 2am or 2pm. I used to not understand that there were two 4 o’clocks in a day, I now know them both very well. These women expect me to wait on them hand and foot. They work approximately 20 minutes out of every 24 hours. The rest of the day they nap and take extended lunch breaks with their friends. I am expected to work hard enough to provide them with free meals, served to them fresh and made to their exact nutritional needs. I am responsible for their health care and making sure that when they need to see a doctor they get in for an appointment immediately. I am also the nanny to their children, responsible for providing them with a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for them to grow. I am their maid, if you think a women’s restroom at a gas station on the turnpike that hasn’t seen soap in a week is bad, you should see what 100 cows who refuse to be potty trained and produce over 100lbs of manure each can do to a clean bed. To add insult to injury, every woman I work with has better boobs than I do!
Given all of this you might think that my cube job was calling my name. But the truth is that I wouldn’t trade any of this for my days back in the office. I love my cows and if anyone is going to be the boss of me, I am glad it’s my beautiful bovines. They are the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I drink beer at night.