By Deb Johnson
I think now, more than ever, women are being responsible for contributing to the income in their homes so that their families can thrive and survive. It is nothing new to me, however, as I have been working since the age of 12, when I first detasseled corn. Following that I began to teach swimming lessons at the local YMCA, and eventually lifeguarding at the city pool. I was the only “farm kid” that worked in the city pool. I even taught an adult class at night, when I was older, that had my high school history teacher and wrestling coach in it. I’ve always had a job – besides my regular chores on the family farm with my bucket calves.
Many years ago, I began working for agriculture companies, and that shaped my entire life over the next few next decades. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and later went back to school, along with my son, to get my MBA. When I began working in ag, there were not very many women employed in this capacity, so I really had to prove myself. When I first jumped out of my truck to walk a field – and the farmer would say, “well, I didn’t know they were going to send a girl with a ponytail to walk my field,” I never flinched, but just went about my work, and in the end, all was well. I believe International Women’s Day means probably more to others than it does to me, as from day ONE in the agricultural capacity, I have just wanted to be treated as “one of the guys!” . . . seems to work best for me.
I have been lucky because I have worked for great companies and presently, my favorite, Verdesian Life Sciences, selling Nutrient Use Efficiency Products. In my capacity as a field Account Manager for them, I feel very respected by my peers and supervisors. Women wear many hats now; family caregivers and organizers, as well as self- motivated enough to tackle a full-time job daily. I don’t even notice anymore that I am still somewhat in the minority at meetings – and let me tell you, we have some powerful women in our company — women whom I could not live without and function appropriately in this job but likewise some of my best comrades are men, so the mix works well for me. One of my mottos has always been, “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait”. . . and it certainly has proved to be very true in this industry that I love. I cannot end this message without mentioning my 2 children, who have hopefully learned a few things from their dad and me, as they both “blow me away” with their motivation and diligence, not to mention their capacity to earn and provide for their families as well, and on a much higher level than I would have ever dreamed of.
I am a lucky female because when you love your job, you never really work another day in your life!