Monday, November 22, 2010

Embrace your roots

If you know me at all, you know I'm a Missouri girl to the core. One reason I love my job so much is that I get to meet great folks from across my favorite state! I'll be honest, I am so proud of my Show-Me State stomping grounds that it takes me by surprise when anyone suggests I would have rather grown up somewhere else.

(Editor's note: My Missouri girl roots are also getting me excited about this weekend's football game...when my Missouri Tigers will beat those silly birds to the west! Thanks to a great boyfriend for getting tickets!)

Anyway, back to the main purpose of this post. Just the other day, I was talking to someone who lives in the county north of my hometown. Naturally, I told him where I grew up, hoping to help us relate to each others as "neighbors." Instead, his response to my enthusiastic statement was a sympathetic, "I'm sorry." I cheerily answered with a short, "You don't have to apologize, I loved my rural roots."

It turns out, my phone friend grew up in a large suburb of Kansas City, and just doesn't think there's enough stuff to do in rural mid-Missouri. I refrained from telling him about all the joys of country know, things like learning how to ride a bike on a gravel road, picking wildflowers on a summer day, caring for baby lambs or calves or any other livestock offspring, and spending time in grandma's kitchen baking with the expert.

Those are just a few of my favorite childhood memories, and for each one on my mind right now there are a thousand more. Memories are a special piece of life for everyone rural and urban, midwest and coastal, north and south. Memories give us an appreciation for all of life's joys, different as they may be. That call was a reminder that the things I value may not be as glamorous to the person on the phone. Yes it's true, not everyone appreciates the smell of fresh manure, and doesn't think of checking cattle as a fun afternoon activity.

It made me think back to an interview I had during my freshman year of college. One of the interviewers asked me why I'm interested in agriculture. That was easy, and before I had time to think about a polished answer, my heart blurted out my feelings for me with this quick statement: "It's where I came from, where I am, and where I'm headed. If it weren't for agriculture, I wouldn't be here today."

No matter where you come from or where you're headed, just be sure to appreciate the life that you have been given and the experiences who have made you the person you are today.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Find a Job you Love

I started this blog in hopes of writing about my transition from college girl to career woman. Well, I'm five months into my full-time role and obviously haven't spent much of my free time on a personal blog. With some encouragement from my friend Anna-Lisa, who was so nice to give a shout-out to girls like me in a recent blog post, I felt the need to get back in the blogging saddle again!

So now I'm promising to blog weekly with insight and lessons I'm learning along the way, starting with a timely post for my soon-to-be graduate friends! Last spring, I blogged about the power of passion. I've since read posts from bloggers who are frustrated by the overused "passion" cliche.

I know passion isn't the sole ingredient to career success, which is why developing real skills is so critical for making progress in a career. Some of those skills include the ability to prioritize, provide solutions, balancing multiple projects, managing time and meeting deadlines, just to name a few.

However, after spending only 20 weeks in the workforce I can tell you my experience has relied on both my skills and passion alike. You see, it's Sunday afternoon and between watching the Chiefs play (hopefully they show up to the game sometime soon) and writing my personal blog, I've got a few things to work on for my job! My motivation to work on projects after the office is closed and on weekends is a direct product of the passion I have for the job I love. So as you're searching for your perfect post-graduation position, don't forget to pursue the jobs that will make you happy and leave you fulfilled when the day is done.