Farm Life

Quitting with class

Catskill Animal SanctuaryWell, I’m looking for an eloquent way to say this but the only thing that really sums it all up is to say that this week really shit the bed. I’m not particularly impressed by my potty mouth but that expression is spot on. I can’t say that it was a terrible week, but it was by no means the stuff of dreams either. Let’s just call it a turning point for me. My first day back to work from my relaxing weekend consisted of getting up at 5 am to shovel my car out from the blizzard the day before. Some would say that I should have taken more initiative by shoveling out the night before work but I’ve learned the hard way that when you park on the street, you have to shovel right before you’re planning to drive anywhere. If you wait too long, the plow will just nonchalantly bury your car and completely undo your many hours of grueling work. So my physical agony began at 5 am and continued on for the rest of the day. I just transitioned from shoveling snow to animal poo. (I assure you, my life is mega glamorous!)

By the time I got to work, I couldn’t keep up the pace and my co-workers finally got the memo that I’ve been slowly writing from the very beginning: I’m not physically built to do this level of work. I am not of the “anything a guy can do, I can do better” mentality. Let me rephrase all of this for the ladies out there who may feel their feminine wiles being ruffled. I am physically able to do hard, physical labor but I can’t perform the same tasks in the same amount of time as a large man who has been doing farm work all his life and unfortunately that is exactly what my job requires. This is a man’s world and an extremely tough, strong, body-builder-type woman’s world too. Despite my best efforts, I’m apparently neither.

With all that being said, I decided honesty was the best policy. The last thing I want is to be unemployed again but I don’t want to be an unwanted, burden to my employer either. For the last few days, I could tell that everyone was uncomfortable around me. They avoided me, wouldn’t look me in the eyes, etc… They’re all so nice that they didn’t deserve this. So I decided to defuse the situation. The first moment I had my supervisor alone I came right out and said “Soooo, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really suck at my job.” She literally stopped, bent over and let out a sigh of relief and laugh at the same time. It was a classic moment. She became absolutely giddy after I said that. Literally, the dark cloud looming over her head for the past few days instantly turned to sunshine. Her reply was “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.” She said that her and the rest of the staff loved me so much that they didn’t want to see me go so they’ve been cooking up ways to make me stay. They even came up with a whole “Jaime Boot Camp” idea where they would have me shadow everyone for a few weeks so I could learn all their tips and tricks to being fast. I was extremely moved by the trouble they were secretly going to because the last few people they had in this position they had no problem asking to leave. I officially gave her my two weeks notice and I told her that I wanted to stay but maybe I could find a different position that would be more suitable. She proceeded to rattle off all of the open positions and told me to go for it and that she’d back me up. She was so happy and so was I. It was surreal.

The rest of the week went a lot smoother after that and my supervisors and co-workers were a lot more at ease. They were sad but at least the pressure was off of them to make someone fit that just wasn’t fitting. With all that being said, the wheels are turning and people are coming up with ideas and ways to make it so I can stay in some capacity. Today, I’m interviewing for their Programs Manager position, which I’m well qualified for and I’d be great at. Wish me luck!

I guess the moral of this story is that it pays to speak up. If something’s not working, just be honest and say so. Don’t just stop showing up. Don’t just give up or check out. I may be out on my ass after this, but at least I can say that I left with their respect and friendship. I’m leaving on the best of terms and if something comes up that they think I’d be good at, I know they’ll contact me. I’m proud that I was able to approach such a tough situation with humor and honesty instead of continuing to do a sub par job and getting fired because of it.

Now, let’s enjoy some farm photos while we still have the chance:

farm photos, pig, feral cat
Going clockwise starting at the top left: Alex and I covering Roscoe the pig with straw. He loves it!; A majestic shot of the sanctuary.; More of Roscoe flinging the straw around and building his nest.; Zombie the feral cat. He gets into the worst fights and comes at the end of the day completely mangled. Last week I thought he was a goner because he couldn’t even use his back legs. However, he’s back in action now.


Bold strokes

drawingI’m increasingly convinced that life rewards those who make bold strokes. Those who grab fear by the ears and headbutt it will be rewarded for their brazen attitude in the end. I’ve always believed this to be true but it’s one thing to believe it and one thing to actually test it. It’s been a few months since I quit my job and moved away from home. I wish I could say that these months have been hard but honestly they haven’t. I have no money and no steady income to speak of but honestly I’ve never felt more content. Sure, I have my moments of panic but they are often overshadowed by a peace that only freedom can provide. My time is my own. No 9 to 5 owns me. I can’t even begin to tell you how that feels. There may be a time in the future where I have to return to the traditional working world, but as of right now, it’s not in the cards for me. I have other plans and even bolder strokes to make.

I want to give some love to a friend, Jess, back in Ithaca who recently made a bold stroke and has already been rewarded for it. A few weeks ago, Jess made the decision to leave a job that makes her absolutely miserable so she can move back to a place she loves.  When she decided to quit she didn’t have a full time job lined up, just the possibility of a part time one. She took a huge chance–and to repeat the same cliche I’ve been hearing over and over “especially in this economy”–but she did it anyways! I told her to just plow ahead and don’t stop moving forward. Don’t stop to think about what you’ve done, just keep on going. And you know what? She hasn’t even fully left her old job yet and she’s already found a new one that sounds absolutely fantastic! And it’s right where she wants to live. I wish you the best Jess and your courage to do something scary to improve your life inspires me.

I don’t think it’s selfish to want to improve your life and to make bold choices in order to do so. (Just know the difference between a bold choice and a stupid one.) I feel like I’m in a place where I can actually give more of myself to others now since I’ve decided to follow my own path. I’m happier and it shows in the way I treat others. I can now spend time with people and not worry about where I have to be next. I always felt like other people owned my time and my talents. I was never using my gifts to improve myself, instead I was using them to improve the status of those I worked for. I want others to join me in making bold strokes. I want people to feel like they truly own the small amount of time they are given, because it is limited. I’m talking about a movement here people. We all have talents and we all have a calling. We each need to realize what those talents are and stop ignoring them. Can’t you hear that muffled little voice deep down inside that wants to be free? Don’t ignore that voice. That’s you in there. Once we each do what we are here to do, we’ll enjoy and value each other and the world around us a whole lot more.

James Brown once said that it’s a mans world. Well I say go out there and show them that you’ve got balls!