The last twenty-four hours have been nerve wracking. After being the “boss lady” for two months, I was offered a chance to run back to the security of a steady paycheck. Did I want that? That’s a big NO. Did I seriously consider it? Yes, I did. Why, you ask? Because humans crave security. People who say they don’t want security are lying to you and/or themselves. I basically had a chance to say, “Ok, here’s a safety net until I can totally get on my feet.” It was tempting. I could pay off some bills, get season tickets to the Preds, not watch every penny we spend for a while…
For those who don’t know, let me give you a little backstory. Back in December, I resigned from a job I had been doing for almost ten years. I had been unhappy in an office for a while, but finally reached my breaking point. I was super stressed and it was affecting my home life and my health. I hated every single day I had to go to work. The kicker is I have a degree in animal science and live on a real live working farm with cattle and yet I was sitting in my office every day looking at a computer and wishing I was doing something on the farm. December came and I went for it. I left the security I had built up since I first started a full time job and came home to explore my options and revive the “old” Katie.
Fast forward to now. I have loved my time at home. Yes, there is still stress, but it’s stress for my own business and my own family. I’m not continually solving someone else’s problems and worrying about somebody else’s profit and loss. I get to pick my little boy up off the bus every day and work in an “office” where I can watch him play. I get to interact with our cattle daily and feel the peace that physical labor and curious calves provide. It’s been awesome for my soul and my sanity and I really think my whole family has felt a burden lift.
It all comes back to the money though, doesn’t it? In the end, it’s all about the money and the freedom that provides. We are very fortunate to have little debt. Outside of hockey, we don’t do much traveling or spend a lot of money on entertainment. We have savings and are generally smart with our money. I say all this to say that money really shouldn’t be that huge of a deal for us. My sweet husband still works full time and I am bringing in income here and there and eventually will sell calves. A few cutbacks, nothing even extreme, and we can make it. Everyone needs money though and we are no exception, don’t get me wrong. To us, the call of paying off what little debt we have and building up our savings is what draws us. The security of it all. That has been my hardest struggle with being the “boss lady” around here. I don’t want to feel like I’m punishing my family with my decision. And I have a lot of guilt around that, more than anything.
Stay with me here, this is where it gets interesting. I promise you this happened. Yesterday, on the way home from taking my son to school, I prayed to God to show me that I was still doing the right thing and someday it wouldn’t feel this hard. I remember exactly where I was (coming up Blair Hill for you locals) and I prayed it more needing support than begging for a sign. I kid you not, three hours later I got a call about a full time job. I wasn’t exactly sure how to take that, honestly. I was praying for something to show my faith wasn’t in vain and this shows up. Again, why does everything have to be so hard for me? (See my last post for that reference.) All I wanted was to feel a peace that I was still on the right track and I get an offer to basically negate all this “nonsense” and go back to work like a mature, responsible person. I’m going to be honest, the thought of going to work full time made me want to cry. I love my new journey and I’m finally settling in to being my own boss. It was hard. Was this God’s way of saying I had a chance to make a bad decision right or was this a test of my faith? In the end, after talking to my husband, soul searching and running it through my head a billion times, I had to go with my heart, which was screaming that I didn’t want to go back to safety. I didn’t want to stall my dreams and goals again for someone else. The real Katie is a daredevil and loves the challenge of doing something people say she can’t or shouldn’t. That Katie knows she can do this and provide for her family, if for no other reason than to prove it’s possible. And that Katie is the one that I was searching for when I took the leap the first time. I called and let them know that I really appreciated the offer, but I would never work for someone else full time again if I didn’t absolutely have to. Like the first time, I have peace with my decision. I’m sure when I can’t buy season tickets, I’m going to question my sanity, but here I am.
When I picked up Tuck off the bus and pulled in the driveway to check the mail, one of our neighbors, Ricky, was coming up the road on his tractor. He is one of the ones we went to the TCA conference with and one of the people who encouraged me to take the Artificial Insemination class (which I am signed up for :)). In the way of farmers, he started mid-conversation by asking if I received a certain monthly magazine, which I didn’t. He told me to look into it and I told him I definitely would. I also that I had signed up for the AI class and was taking the advanced master beef class in March. He was happy for me and headed off to finish his feeding. (As a side note, if you don’t know, farmers “ain’t got time” for greetings and goodbys. I knew my father-in-law was like that, but apparently it’s a thing. Conversations to just begin and end abruptly.) About fifteen minutes later, my doorbell rang. Standing on the front porch was Ricky with two of the magazines he recommended and a sire catalog for when I need to pick a “daddy” for my AI cows. Short, sweet and to the point, he handed those to me and I said thank you and he was gone. Let me tell you something. I know I am a Steele and that kind of gives me a foot in with this farming thing. I get that. But as a city girl learning the ropes and wanting to fit in and be something the founders of this farm would be proud of, having a farmer show up on your door with magazines for you to learn is something I can’t explain. Knowing that he doesn’t question my seriousness or my ability to do this thing is priceless. Honestly, one of the things that has aggravated me the most so far is the lack of female leaders on our local level. I realize this a rural county and things are what they have been for years. Men fill the leadership positions and people talk to your husband before you, since he’s the farmer, right? While my husband loves this farm and the work done, he’s not interested in how we make it run. He trusts me to research and make the best decision and is ready and willing to help. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not much of follower and this farming thing is no different. I have opinions and ideas and I want to be active in making it better for all of us and not just through my husband. The industry needs new blood and I’m here for it. Someday it won’t just be men filling these positions I guarantee you that. But for now, I’m content to build my knowledge and reputation and make this farm the best I can.
That went a little off track, but I’m here to tell you: I am passionate about what I want to do and how I see our life in the future. Do I miss the security of a steady paycheck? Yep. But it isn’t worth stalling this opportunity I was given or letting my dreams take a backseat to someone else’s. Nothing makes me feel more at peace than feeding our cattle and my afternoon conversations with my kiddos (aka calves). After a stressful day, driving the little Jeep with my trusty cattle dog co-pilot, carrying buckets of feed to our cows and calves, driving the tractor to feed hay, and interacting with our littlest ones to get them used to people…well, that makes it all worth it to me. Nothing beats a day on the farm for peace and purpose. My faith is fragile at best. It’s one of the reasons I asked God for a little support. It didn’t come like I expected, but overall this day reinforced that I am where I should be and I’m making progress. And I don’t guess I can ask for more than that.