Here are 10 reasons why it’s still great to be a farmer, despite the trials and tribulations of the job.
1. No commute
There’s no journey to work. Like, literally none. You walk out your front door and you’re there. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the house to be at work. While this can have its disadvantages, you never have to fight rush hour, sit for hours in gridlocked motorway traffic or stand, sardine-like, on a tube, your face pressed into a city banker’s armpit.
2. Extreme sports
Why spend a fortune jetting off somewhere exotic for a bout of bungee jumping or snowboarding? Right on your doorstop you’ve got sheep wrestling and Land Rover tobogganing (all you need is a hill and a wet autumn). And who needs the double-trap shooting in the Olympics, when you’ve got the two-rats-racing-out-of-a-barn challenge!
3. There’s no dress code
You don’t have to worry about your working wardrobe beyond thinking: “Is it warm?” and: “Does it leak?” There’s no need to wear a suit and tie and people won’t give you a second look if the cut of your shirt was only fashionable for a brief period in the late 1990s. And as for personal grooming products like aftershave and post-shave skin balm, then your money is probably better spent on sheep dip and cattle boluses.
4. Swearing in the workplace
It’s not simply that it’s tolerated, it’s more a case of it being positively encouraged. Most jobs, you’d end up in front of a tribunal before you could finish saying certain words beginning with “F” (or worse). Out in a field, miles from another living soul, you can eff and blind to your heart’s content. And the only people who’ll hear you will be the cowman and, let’s be honest, he’s got a mouth like a f****** sewer!
5. Great gadgets
With the exception of perhaps a small handful of industries (opencast coal mining, for example) you might get your mitts on bigger, more powerful, more technologically advanced and more “WOW” kit than anyone else. And even if your machinery dates back to the 90s, 80s, 70s (or in some cases 60s), you get to tinker, mend, bend, adapt and break to your heart’s contents.
6. The pets
Not the livestock, they’re more trouble than their worth – but dogs by the dozen. Collies, terriers, Labradors or strange crosses that look like the result of a GM-experiment gone wrong. Whether they come in the house or live in the yard, there’s no limit on numbers and will follow you dotingly wherever you go (the last time you got trailed that closely it was by a farm assurance inspection man). They even make great free presents for the kids.
7. Doing deals
There’s more haggling and barter in the countryside than in an Egyptian bazaar. A few bales of hay? Swap ’em for a side of beef, if you throw in some fencing posts. You fix that recurring problem with my truck and I’ll sort your firewood. Help us grain-cart for a day at harvest and I’ll help you pluck those turkeys. Deals are done daily on most farms that Alan Sugar would be proud of.
OK, they’re not all good – some, quite frankly, are shocking. However, there are plenty up for grabs. At Christmas there’s an array of calendars, wallplanners and slightly dodgy bottles of wine from every company you’ve ever done business with. The pickings get even better at events like Cereals, where it’s possible to move from stand to stand consuming lunch after lunch, gathering pens, mugs, coats, fleeces and rucksacks. The cynical ones among you think: “Well, I am paying for that somewhere along the line” and you would be right. But go on, be honest, life without the odd freebie just wouldn’t be the same.
9. The lack of office routine/politics
There are very few meetings and the ones you do have might well be in the village pub. There’s certainly no place for management speak. “Blue sky” is something you can gaze at contentedly, rather than have to think about. You also keep your own hours which means no clocking on or clocking off (unless you work for a farmer, of course). You even get to take breaks when you want to, (useful for all major sporting occasions). You work the hours you need to work to get the job done. It’s all very grown up, somehow.
10. It’s the perfect get-out clause
Distant cousin’s wedding? Sorry, first dry day for a fortnight, gotta combine. Aunt Dottie’s annual birthday barbecue? Sorry, drilling. Invite to a birthday bash from the neighbour you spend half your time avoiding? Would have loved to have been there but there was a bit of an emergency… you’ll never believe it, the cows escaped…
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