Sometimes you want to quit

Okay.  Yesterday’s post, in which I explored the potential for a degree in Agricultural Psychology, made at least a couple people mad.  In the post I was trying to explain that Beau’s ranch management job has turned out to involve much more human management than we expected (in our youthful naivety).  So I sometimes tease him that he could really use a degree in Agricultural Psychology.

(I just looked up the word psychology, to be absolutely sure I’m saying what I mean to say, and I am.  It is:  The science that studies mental, behavioral, and relational processes.)

The careful reader of yesterday’s post would’ve noticed how I expressed that, if Beau has a degree in Agricultural Psychology, I’m his No. 1 customer.  See, almost daily he talks me through the frustrations and struggles of life in agriculture (for me, most of them are relational) — and I know for a fact that he helps many of our coworkers through the same kind of stuff.  Every once in a while one of us will help him through a low spot, because surely there are frustrating aspects of working for a corporate ranch that even a blind man could see.  But Beau, I’m noticing more and more, is not only the leader of the daily charge around here but also the Chief Encourager of the team.  I maintain that what I wrote yesterday was intended only to compliment my husband and not at all to criticize his coworkers who indeed have problems as all humans do.

But… whenever you write or speak, there’s a pretty good chance your words will be misunderstood by somebody.  That would be why I got some yucky comments in my inbox this morning (look below yesterday’s post at montanamama.me to read them yourself).  What’s a gal to do with comments like those?  I don’t like to be criticized.  I worry much about being hated.

Twelve hours have gone by since I first read those comments, and by now I’m confident in the ol’ “you win some, you lose some” standby.  But earlier today I wasn’t doing so good.

Earlier today, I wanted to quit blogging.  I wanted to post one final blog, claiming that my computer had caught Coronavirus and that I would be finishing out my yearlong post-every-day contract with myself in the privacy of a notebook which I would later burn because, of course, the world shouldn’t have to see the garbage that comes out of my brain.  I was thinking some pretty dark thoughts there for a while.

But then… you know what?  Beau was, once again, my Chief Encourager.  He read the comments and said, “You can’t quit because of people like this.”  He said, “You promised yourself you’d blog every day this year.  You should at least finish the year out.”

And that, folks, is why I think he deserves a degree in Agricultural Psychology.

Because he’s right, I can’t.  And I did.  So I think I will.

Here’s the happiest ending:  This afternoon Beau took me with him to Froze-to-Death Pasture, and I rode Doogan, and together we kicked 184 cows into Kinsey (I got to count them through the gate!).  My good mom not only helped me to get lunch on the table for the Bangs-vaccinating crew this morning, and then to do the dishes, but she also kept the kids this afternoon so I could ride.  It was therapeutic.  And I’m feeling pretty blessed.

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One more thing:  I guess I’m not ashamed to say that I have a real psychologist — but I think it’s nicer if we call her a counselor or a life coach.  For whatever reason, I am just one of those people who needs a lot of help processing life.  Like, expert help.  And that’s okay.  I see her every other week for an hour.  It’s expensive and it’s a long drive and I am one of the lucky persons in agriculture because my circumstances make it possible for me to get to her.  So when I say that it can be challenging for rural folks to get the mental health help they need, I know what I’m talking about.

And that, for tonight anyway, is the end.

© Tami Blake

6 thoughts on “Sometimes you want to quit

  1. I am a “city girl” without a doubt. I can’t claim any knowledge of what it is like to live and work on a huge ranch. What I do know is that I have always believed that folks who choose to do this are people of great faith. So much of what happens on a ranch seems so out of the ranchers hands and so relying on one another, talking, encouraging, grumbling, helping one another deal with the isolation, bad weather, loss of crops or cattle…I would think an agricultural psychologist is desperately needed. We all…city or country…need someone to understand, to help us navigate the world and situation we find ourselves in. I am proud of both you and Beau for taking on the challenge of managing a corporate Ranch. And I appreciate your concern for all who work with you …that someone to be the cheerleader is always needed. That I think is true whether in the city or the country. Using a therapist, a spouse, a coworker, a pet….a good thing. Keep the faith even on dark days and keep talking to those who provide the encouragement you find helpful and can help you sort out the craziness and uncertainty of life.

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  2. So you are not willing to accept the fact that your previous post sounded demeaning and condescending toward your quirky, unstable, obstinate employees? Let me pose this question…let’s say one of your ranch hands started a blog. In this blog, they spoke in condescending terms about you as their boss. Let’s say they shared your mishaps, shortcomings and failures publicly, all the while making themself sound like the only level headed person on the ranch. How would that affect you? You need to accept the fact that your thoughts/words were made public, and demeaning. Perhaps there is a good place to start. Own the fact that we are all flawed and have issues that make relationships challenging. Keep your thoughts on these issues private or better yet, talk to those you feel are obstinate or quirky. Ask questions. Choose courage and really listen with an open heart and ears. Maybe you will learn what makes those people tick and the pain that creates their quirks. And even more importantly, if you are really brave, you might learn some things about yourself, your husband, your management style that could improve your day to day operation and your relationship with your employees. Here is what I know…the leader sets the tone for every setting. Be the kind of leaders you would want to come under and things will improve. This is not condemnation, it’s a loving boot to the backside to challenge you to grow beyond this. To become better than this. Better than publicly shaming the men and women who work for you. Get in the trenches and ask the question, “How can I help? How could I change the way I relate to you so our relationships on the ranch can improve? Humility always allows for growth. Humble yourself and grow…you can do this.

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  3. You bring a breath of fresh air to me. I enjoy your posts; I look forward to them. Delete those negative comments and keep on truckin’

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