A Little Bit Western


Home/Work

Dec 14, 2016

Entering into the ranching business is not cheap. It takes work, planning, mostly lots of luck, and to be perfectly honest, capital. Without money, you can’t buy grass. Without grass, you can’t buy cows, and if you want to buy cows, guess what you need? For this reason, I have almost always worked off-farm in some capacity. Lucky for me, my off-farm employment revolves around prairie management, forage, beef, and communication, which is a pretty nice complement to my on-farm life too.

I used to drive to an office every day to work full-time. This was okay for a while, but three babies later, I decided to live the dream – ranch full-time…and work from home too. How hard could it be? Other people seemed to successfully work from home so why shouldn’t I? Blissfully ignorant, and I was looking forward to achieving the elusive (and annoyingly cliched) “work-life balance.” There were some myths that I quickly and systematically busted after just a few short weeks.

Myth: you will never again have to brave 105 kilometres (one way) of slippery roads, making the trek to the office in blizzard-like conditions. You’ll be safe and warm at home and weather will no longer impact your work like it once did.

Myth-buster: on beautiful, sunshiny days when you would love to be outside with your other ranching peers, you’re slaving away in your basement office tapping out your next report that is due in 47, wait… no… 46 minutes.

Myth: working from one’s home, you’ll surely be able to pop a quick load of laundry in the dryer while you run upstairs to grab a home-brewed cup of java, after which you can throw some supper in the slow-cooker. You’ll have well-planned meals and the cleanest home ever, all the time.

Myth-buster: your ice-cold coffee sits untouched until your alarm rings to go pick up the kids for music. You realize you haven’t yet brushed your teeth, so you do and run out the door, ignoring the mess in your house that accumulates because you are now in your house all the time. But hey, you got that last project submitted 3 hours before it was due!

Myth: you’ll get so much extra work done without the hassle of extended water cooler breaks and random chit chat. You won’t ever have to deal with office politics. Also, the flexibility of working from home means you can take off a bit early to get the kids to those music lessons, as long as you make the time up somewhere along the line.

Myth-buster: When you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, you realize you’re looking at the craziest woman you’ll ever share an office with. Wish you had someone to run a concept or idea by? Want a second opinion? Good luck finding a colleague that’s willing to chat at 11:52pm on a Friday evening when you’re making up for lost time.

Myth: with careful organization, you will at time create large blocks of time (during the daylight) to get a jump on work deadlines. Free from distractions, there is no reason you can’t put a good dent into your project.

Myth-buster: You’re focused. Wait…is that a knock at the door? It’s a traveling salesman, wanting to show you his wares. You send him on his way and just as he drives out, you hear the mooing of an errant bovine (or several) rambling through your yard. Once you put them back where they belong and return to your desk, the phone rings and it’s your long lost friend you haven’t chatted with since 2013. Then it rings again and you are needed out in the field. A quick four and a half hours later, you are back at your computer, smelling like diesel, but more focused than ever. Time to get some work done, people!

As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m lucky to love my ranch work and “home/work” and enjoy the privilege of doing both. However, I can definitely say that I continue to learn a lot about that work-ranch-life balance. Some days the grass may seem greener on the other side, and sometimes it’s greenest right under your feet.

Please like & share:

  • Enter your email address below to subscribe to 'A Little Bit Western' and receive notifications of new posts by email.


  •  

  •