In some ways she and I are in similar places in our lives. She has just emerged from the so-called hallowed ground of academia, while I've just come out of the rat race of corporate America. What did we learn from our experiences?
1. You're never too old to reinvent yourself
2. Your work stands on its own
3. Don't define yourself by your "job"
4. There are a lot of people out there who just don't care, but we can't dwell on that
Dianne spoke about while she was in school in the 1980s, the poultry experts were trying to figure out what magic formula they could feed chickens so they wouldn't develop aneurisms and die (from growing so fast). At the time she spoke up and said, "how about we don't engineer chickens to grow so fast?" That wasn't too popular, because common sense doesn't reign supreme in American agriculture. Profit does. Instead of a common sense solution to a problem, the current rationale is that we must invent a technological one.
I'm reading Gene Logsdon's novel The Last of the Husbandmen . It begins in 1940 and ends in 1985 and chronicles the "get big or get out" model of agriculture. When I told Dianne about the book, she remarked that when she was getting her degree, it was called "Animal Husbandry." Just after she graduated, it changed to "Animal Science." It echoes the fact that during that time, animals stopped being individuals for which we needed to husband--to care for--but merely science projects to be engineered to most efficiently feed the masses. It's a good read, and an entertaining way to learn about that period in our agricultural history. I certainly hope the pendulum is swinging back toward smaller, diversified family farms.