"It seems like you like your job? Like you're really passionate about it?"
These were two questions asked of me by one very sweet young woman last week at the second annual Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference.
And there's really only one answer: absolutely, unequivocally, yes. I have been blessed with an amazing career, and have been so fortunate to find a field and a job where I can combine the skills God gave me with a true passion for agriculture. The whole thing results in a career that's not a job; it's that thing I do.
The conference was the brainchild of Penny Lauritzen and the Illinois Agri-Women, bringing together 100 women from different areas of Illinois agriculture to share their work and careers with 300 or so young high school and college women.
Some of the young women I spoke with were certain they wanted to work in agriculture, and some even in ag communications. And one even in the farm magazine business (I loved her)! Others weren't certain they wanted to be in ag. Mostly, those girls were freshmen or sophomores in high school and were less sure about what they wanted to do, period. Which is fine; they have plenty of time.
Over and over, I shared my story and how I came to work at Prairie Farmer, and the opportunities available in our business.
Then the young woman from above asked me if I liked my job. And it occurred to me at that moment that a very large part of my reasoning for loving my job is, very simply, the people. Like the fact that when I go to an event like this, I get to see women I went to college with, people I've done stories with, families I've photographed, people I've emailed. It's encouraging and invigorating. We catch up on each others' kids and families, we commiserate about the (very few) low points in our jobs and rejoice in the (very many) high points.
It's like a big family reunion, or a college reunion with all the people you liked the very most. Like the photo above, with Mindy Bunselmeyer and Becky Ropp and me – we're laughing because somebody made some joke in reference to something that happened in college. I'd be more specific if I could just remember, but there were so many jokes that day…
And it's just one more thing to think about when you choose a career: will you like the people you work with? 'Cause it's icing on the cake when you do.
P.S. Check out this blog, Rural Route Review, written by one of the college attendees of the conference. She rocks.