My first job out of college was writing for a small newspaper in Belleville, Ill. The office was composed primarily of young writers, also just out of college.
Looking back, it seems no one on the editorial team had a good understanding of "business casual." Jeans were common, collared shirts were sporadic, and, unfortunately, shorts and flip flops were acceptable.
I still remember the first time I felt way underdressed. I was supposed to cover an event at a country club. Needless to say, no one was wearing jeans. I realized a harsh lesson that day: people judge you based on your appearance.
From time to time, I'll run into someone who has the bibbed overalls/straw hat/simpleton image of a farmer ingrained in their mind. It makes my blood boil. In many cases, I've taken the time to explain the average net worth of a farmer to the ignorant person. In today's image-conscious world, it's more important than ever to represent the farm appropriately.
With the winter ag seminar circuit in full swing, I've had a chance to see a lot of farmers out of the field. In nearly all cases, they're quite good at hitting the business casual look right on the nose.
However, I have seen some younger farmers who haven't quite learned the "dress for success" lesson. While I realize that sweat-soaked hat from five years of harvest is a badge of coolness, think about the message that's being sent.
If you've got a son or daughter coming back to farm, make sure you explain this lesson to them. After all, you never know when a potential landlord will see you out and about.
Registered users may comment on this blog.