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Author: TraditionalMillennial

Standards.

Standards.

I had the TV on in the background this evening, when I overheard something that made me pause.

He said, “Maybe your standards are too high.”
She replied, “Our standards are who we are.”

They weren’t talking about dating. They were talking about quality of work. And again, I think it’s funny when things happen when you need them to happen, because I’ve been thinking a lot about my own standards both in my personal life and my professional life.

My boss likes to tease me, because I was a straight A student, and I always strive for 100% on our audits. And I always ask him, “Why would I strive for anything less?”

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson talks about some guy named Becker and his theory of “immortality projects.” Immortality projects are the things that drive us to leave behind a legacy. Becker believed that humans are so fearful of death, that it drives them to do great things to be remembered when their physical bodies leave the world.

Religion, politics, sports, art, and technological innovation are the result of people’s immortality projects.

Manson explains that these immortality projects are our values. And values can be defined as the standards of one’s own behavior. Like, whoa, right? I’ll give you a second to re-read that.

If the standards we set drive our behavior to achieve things out of life, why would I ever strive for something less than great?

Our values are what we find important in life, and if we don’t hold those important things in life to a high standard, well, I mean, who wants to go through life being mediocre? I want to go through life standing out, trailblazing my own path, and marching to my own drum.

Personally and professionally, I strive for perfection. But I’m not a perfectionist. I know that shit happens and that reality doesn’t always live up to our expectation. So why would I ever strive for less than perfection knowing that the expectation may not be met?

Our standards really are who we are, and they are what motivates us to move forward.

Pride.

Pride.

Do you know a know-it-all? The type where they are so sure of their opinions that they actually believe their opinion as fact? Yeah. So do I.

This particular know-it-all and I conflict, hard. We just don’t get along. Her presence alone sends tension up my spine and puts a stern look on my face. I dread when she opens her mouth and cringe when she speaks. But it wasn’t always this way. There was an incident or two … or three, where we disagreed. The more we disagreed on things, the more dislike developed between us.

The thing is, I think this particular person and I are more alike than I really want to admit. We both feel passionately that we will fight hard for the things we believe. This is an admirable trait, except when you get two people with different beliefs where there can only be one solution. Either one must be defeated or you compromise.

That need to be the expert, the right one, the most knowledgable – it pulls us down into a pit of pride we probably would never label as such.

But there’s one really big difference between the two of us. I can look at the situation objectively. I can step outside my need to be right, take a look at the bigger picture, and put my pride aside for the greater good. She cannot. The more she fights her side, the more she believes she is right.

“The less we feel we need to address pride in our lives, the more it has already blinded us.”

Earlier in the book, Uninvited, TerKeurst talks about her experience with a lion. She basically says a lion doesn’t give a shit who you are or what you do, if the lion is hungry, it will eat you. (Except she says it much more eloquently.) I think of the irony that a pack of lions is called a pride, because the behavior is similar.

A person so full of pride doesn’t care who you are or what you do, he or she will “fight you to the death” to prove they are right. TerKeurst says, “The injured lion is the most vicious of all.” And how true is that? Once that prideful person feels they are losing the battle, that’s when the claws really come out.

Pride can be dangerous. (The lion type too.) Typically, we feel the need to boast about ourselves when we feel less than or rejected in some way. Think about that in the sense of the know-it-all who is so prideful that they believe their opinion as fact. They must feel so unfilled in whatever capacity that they are desperately seeking validation and acceptance from others.

Now, I don’t know that these are the reasons why this particular know-it-all is the way that she is. But it makes a lot of sense, and it’s helped me cope with her attitude. Every time she puts up a battle, I think about her need to win the argument. Because really, it’s not about the argument at all.

In the grand scheme of things, if she’s willing to tear others down (or whatever desperate move she makes) to get what she wants, that says a lot more about her than it does about anything else.

Women.

Women.

I’ve recently seen comments on social media about women trying so hard to prove we are equal to men that we are losing our uniqueness, as women were created not do everything a man can, but to do everything a man can’t. As a woman in agriculture, who promotes women in agriculture, these comments made me stop and reflect on what I am doing and why I am doing it.

Agriculture is a predominately male field. My desire to promote women in ag is simply to increase awareness that women are involved.  I agree that women have uniqueness, and we are bringing that uniqueness to the industry.  To me, that is worth celebrating.  Traditionally, women weren’t welcome in the field.  Today, we are breaking down those gender stereotypes and becoming successful growers, pest control advisors, seed breeders, water quality specialists, and many other types of professionals that were traditionally male roles.

Men and women have different strengths.  Combining these strengths in the field and in positions of leadership allows the industry to prosper. I’m not trying to prove I am equal to a man. There are things men do much better than me, and there are things that I think I do better then men. I don’t really see it as a gender issue, but as a promotion of what we each individually bring to the table.  But being outnumbered as a woman, we have a different perspective.  

For me personally, my story is a positive one that I want to share. As a Mass Communication and Media Studies major, I’m in a good position to do some promotion. Agriculture is a challenging field. Between culture barriers, language barriers, educational barriers, regulatory barriers, and perceptional barriers, etc., proving gender equality is the least of my intentions. I’m just doing the things I enjoy, and I’ll take advantage of the opportunities that come my way. After all …

Work.

Work.

I’ve been working in the office a lot lately. While I don’t mind paperwork (to some extent), I really miss being out in the field. I miss the sunshine, the dirt, talking to our foremen, mud on my boots, and even the often miserable Santa Maria wind.

I had to take a break from preparing for audits. My brain has been so overloaded that I couldn’t even think straight anymore. I’ve been going to lots of meetings, a training, and talking to so many people trying to navigate the changes. The politics, the wrong perceptions, the misinformation, and the over regulation as a result of it just had me feeling very defeated about where our industry is headed. (Not to mention outbreaks…ay.)

So today, I escaped to the ranches.

As I repaired a sign, all I could think about was how good it felt to be outside. As I put the drill bit in my drill, all I could think about was how great it felt to work with my hands.

I put the shovel in the bed of my truck, and waved to one of our tractor drivers. As I got in and shut the door, I looked out the windshield to a field of young romaine plants. I sat there for a minute. And in that moment, I was happy.

I spent a very long time, many years, going from job to job, from industry to industry, searching for a sense of belonging. While I recognize that I will change, and agriculture may not be my future, it is my present. And it is the perfect present for me, right now.

To be able to say that is special. They say that when you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. While work is still definitely work, overall, I do love what I do. Today was the perfect reminder, and for that, I am thankful.

Handwashing.

Handwashing.

Can we take a minute to talk about the new bathroom arrangement at Starbucks? You know, the one where they have the hand washing stations outside the bathroom. Because I hate it.

First, let me paraphrase the rules for hand washing at the field level:

Employees must wash their hands with soap and water, throughly scrubbing between fingers and under nails with a sudsy formulation for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing must take place after breaks, after lunch, after using toilet facilities, before putting on gloves, and any other time hands may become a potential source of contamination.

Then, sanitize hands.

Then put on gloves and sanitize gloves. Then sanitize the gloves any time they may become a potential source of contamination.

Maybe you need a real-world example of how this is supposed to go down…

Gotta adjust your hat? Take off your gloves, adjust your hat, wash your hands, sanitize your hands, put on your gloves, sanitize your gloves. But let’s be real, no one is going to do that.

But that’s how strict hand washing procedures are for the employees who harvest your food.

While I think it’s great that I can actually make sure that Starbucks employees wash their hands before preparing my drink, unless they’re washing their hands with the correct procedures I outlined above, I’m gonna be a little turned off.

Not only that but they use blow dryers. BLOW DRYERS! What’s even worse is those blow dryers are right over the sink, potentially blowing dirty sink water back on to your hands. And if we have to sanitize our hands before putting on gloves to then cut a head of broccoli, why aren’t they required to sanitize their hands in the restaurant?

Are you thinking “but Lacy, they’re not actually touching my food or the liquid of my drink”? Like bacteria doesn’t transfer! Their dirty hands touch your cup, then you touch your cup, then you wipe the coffee mustache off your lip, and BAM!

Welcome to my little food safety world…