Farming has put me in a unique situation, I bounce between two worlds so often that I get dizzy! Farming from the physical aspect is very blue collar, while marketing and selling puts me more in a white collar reality. I am taken by how contrasted those two worlds can be. My typical day has me switching hats, demeanor and verbiage often.
I wake up totally blue collar. I throw on yesterday’s shit clothes if they aren’t too sweaty and dirty because they are just going to get sweaty and dirty the moment I walk out the door. I grab my camo baseball cap and pull on my boots and make my way outside. No makeup or hair brushing required. I do, however, brush my teeth.
After I finish my morning chores I can go one of two ways: I can go back out to work in the barn or field, or I can change personalities completely by brushing my hair, putting on lip gloss, rolling on some deodorant and heading off property. Just by putting on tennis clothes I am transformed into another being. I am my white collar self. On the court, I try to talk about something other than butchering chickens and harvesting, but it is hard to keep up with the world when I haven’t watched the news or read a newspaper in weeks.
Running errands is a necessary evil in our already too busy schedule. When we drive the pick-up to Bricko Farm to get a load of organic soil the experience is different than when we go into town for a meeting with the city’s farmer’s market staff. Bricko is total blue-collar and the typical blue-collar worker will meet anyone new with caution, quiet, and eyes downcast. It can be a quick in-and-out interaction or it can be relaxed; the customer decides because the blue-collar worker isn’t sure if the person standing before them sees them as just someone to do a task for them, or someone who wants to shoot the shit for a few minutes. I wear my stained, crappy work clothes because it fits with the situation. And shooting the shit is a highlight: weather, rising feed costs, long hours and low pay are topics usually covered.
The white-collar world expects some light pleasantries and then expects everyone involved to get to the point. It is a warm exchange, but there is a sense of knowing that they can hear the clock ticking. I try to be put together for these meetings because I know their chairs and offices are pretty clean so parking my dirty ass self on the furniture would be rude. I shower beforehand, dress business casual and pack my succinct message and proper grammar. I try to keep in mind that they don’t care to chat about the weather because they rarely get outside.
Sometimes the two worlds are jumbled together making a personality “costume change” necessary at a moments notice. When we deliver produce to our favorite restaurant, we walk in as blue–collar folk. We chat with the kitchen staff briefly as they scurry around the prep station. Once the handoff is made and we sit down to enjoy lunch, we transform into the white-collar customer. Showers are optional for this errand, but since I am hauling a load of frozen chickens and produce, it is best to wear shorts and a Happy Earth Farm t-shirt, where I can go from blue-collar farmer to white-collar patron seamlessly!
So my days are a constant challenge of navigating which world I currently occupy. I think I do pretty well no matter who stands before me and I genuinely enjoy each and every interaction. I grew up in a very white-collar world, but the dirt under my nails is a dead give-away that I am blue collar at heart.