I must have a sign on my back or a tattoo on my forehead that reads, “Please ask me ignorant questions,” because somehow, I manage to get them more than most.
While working at the farmers’ market this weekend, you know, peddling my beef and pork, I was introduced to a gentleman who has volunteered for a different farmers’ market and is now taking that market over as manager.
Awesome! I think in my next life that wouldn’t be a bad job for me! I mean, it would be fun!
So, I’m speaking with this man about my “day job” when he flat out, in the middle of questions about the programs I know of that could help him, says to me, “Now what makes you qualified for your job? Why can’t I have your job?”
REALLY? Really, dude? So, being my much-more-patient-than-I-once-was self, I simply said, “Well, sir, I did my undergrad in Animal Science at Penn State. I did a master of science at Texas A&M in agricultural education. I worked for a year as a fundraiser for the cancer society, worked 3 years in Extension, and I’ve been here for over a year. I’m involved in the industry, volunteer for 4-H, and I married a farmer.” Finally I thought to myself, “Is that good enough for you, sir?”
“Oh. I guess you’re qualified, then,” he said. Gee, thanks for your approval. I was totally searching for it there (not!).
He went on to ask more ignorant questions and make more assumptions about me and my job, many of which were flat-out wrong. I came to find his knowledge of agriculture was quite limited, and he assumed I knew nothing of his farmers’ market, so I continued to play dumb for the remainder of our conversation to save myself an hour long car ride home of headaches. His initial question would be enough to make me want to bang my head off the steering wheel.
What MAKES us qualified for a job? I got to thinking to myself afterward: Self, you got this job because of your experience and willingness to be a life-long learner, something you strongly value. Qualifications aren’t what get you places in life. Values get you places.
A value I also have is respect. Respect for people. Respect not to judge people and question their qualifications or values the first time I meet them for 5 minutes! (Ahem, SIR!)
I used to be really offended by people who started to farm, for example. Why? Because they had no experience. Probably learned about farming from the internet and movies. Maybe read a few books or two. I didn’t go into doctors’ offices and say, “teach me everything you know – I want to be a doctor now.” But yet there were lots of people who would come to workshops or my office and want to know everything there was to know so they could start farming for a living. About two years ago I had a realization: SO WHAT? If they want to farm, GO FOR IT! If we all waited until we had a “qualified” amount of knowledge or experience to try something new, we’d never get anything done! We’d all be too busy running in circles, right?! I guess that guy hadn’t learned that life lesson yet, or maybe he just didn’t see things the way I do. That’s ok – just be a little more tactful, will ya, please?
Look at me growing up and seeing the bigger picture. Who knew?! 🙂
So, I may not be qualified for my job, or for life, for that matter, but I’m still here and living it anyway.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you enjoy all the blessings the season brings you!