Growing Your Future
in Agriculture

Job Tips 4 posts

6 August 2011
Topic: Job Tips

Good Ole Resigning, The Professional Way To Do It.

Today's topic - resignation letters. The key to effective resignation letters is factual information in a short format. If this takes you longer than 30 minutes to write, then Houston we have a problem…..and if you copy the format below, a simple copy/paste with some editing will make it feel more like 30 seconds. Resigning as a process is about wrapping up old stuff and beginning to think/plan for new stuff, so don't allow the old stuff to take longer than it needs to take. Do it accurately and professionally, but do it quickly. Here is a sample letter for your consideration:

Name (this needs to be your direct supervisor)

Recently, I received an offer from xxx (company) to work as xxx (position), and after careful consideration, I realize that this opportunity is too exciting for me to decline. (the objective is to inform them of what has happened).
Therefore, please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from xxx (company) as xxx (position). My last day of employment will be MM/DD/YYYY. (the objective is to inform them of your intention).
During the last xxx years, it has been a pleasure working as an integral part of this team. I am thankful for this experience and wish nothing but continued success for xxx (current employer). Going forward please let me know if there is anything I can do to ensure this process is a smooth transition. (the objective is thank them and assure them you hold no ill will).
Best regards,
(this should be personal contact info that can be used to reach you after you leave)

Now that the writing phase is completed, consider the following notes before taking any action.
• Prior to submitting this letter make sure to have an accepted offer (preferably a signed offer letter) from the new employer in place
• Do not email the letter, instead schedule a face-to-face meeting with your direct supervisor, bring a copy of the letter to the meeting, and directly hand it to him/her
• Be prepared to be escorted out of the building immediately following the meeting (this is more common for sales people), but have your office emptied before going into the meeting
• Most importantly, no matter how mad you are, this process should be conducted in a positive manner, so not to burn a bridge get even with them by excelling in your new position
• Do not be swayed by counter-offers, they are short-term fixes to long-term problems, trust me the odds are against accepted counter-offers that end well
• Following the submission of the letter, you need to inform your network of your resignation

5 May 2011
Topic: Job Tips

Observations from El Salvador

About a month ago, I took a huge risk I voluntarily traveled internationally to a third world country known best for earth shattering volcanic eruptions, large venomous snakes, and the MS-13 gang (largest growing gang unit in the US). There wasn't one specific reason for this adventure, although when you are jumped one Sunday coming out of church by the pastor who asks if you would be willing to go and before you are able to graciously pass on the opportunity, your wife butts in and says "yes, absolutely he will go", then do you actually need a reason?

Our Habitat For Humanity team, to my surprise was comprised not of bishops, priests, and monks, as I expected, but instead of normal, beer-drinking, fun-loving, tax-hating, card-playing folks like myself. Trust me, this turned the trip from "oh, geez, glad to be here" to "great, this will actually be fun". And fun it was!

We saw a lot of cool things, made some great friends, tackled one of the highest zip lines, attempted to play some soccer, danced our feet stiff, bought stuff we didn't need, dodged wild range roosters that charged, and ate spicy food that tasted good going down, but made you regret it the next day. However, not to be lost in all that fun was a single observation that really made me think.

The house I was assigned to was being constructed under the supervision of Mario and Manuel - Mario was the foreman and Manuel the laborer (a 50 year old man who did more work than our five team members combined). Neither of them spoke English and none of us spoke Spanish, so we all learned to use some key hand motions (believe it or not, they know the bird!). Our project was in the early stages of construction this means that physical labor was king of the day, so if you volunteer for one of these, attempt to choose a project near completion if you don't enjoy sweating or becoming a night-time subscriber to Icy Hot.

One of the first things I noticed was the attitude of Mario and Manuel. They approached work with a joyful spirit. They actually enjoyed being there, doing back-breaking labor for 9 hours a day. It's also important to note that masons, despite being a skilled trade, are paid more like a kid on a newspaper route than a skilled welder (difficult to swallow as a recruiter), so they weren't excited to be there for the money!

All week I tried to gain an understanding of why they had such a great attitude, and then on the ride back to the airport it hit me. The answer was in their approach to the job, (they weren't going to allow their situation to dictate their success) thus their attitude mimicked their approach. Mario and Manuel understood what needed to be done. Each accepted their role, they shared a common goal, but most importantly it was because they wanted to be there. How many times do we not want to be at work? I'm convinced they wanted to be there, because they enjoyed working together as a team.

How often do we not like work because of our teammates? Mario and Manuel taught me that the cohesion of a team has a direct affect on the success of the team. It was evident in the way they made us feel welcome to be a part of their team.

Back home, I see the opposite, where the focus is on individual achievement, and it concerns me. Why do we approach things more from an individual viewpoint than a team viewpoint? Possibility? Or perhaps our advantage with technology allows us to do more, so we feel more self-sufficient. Perhaps we earn more through reaching individual goals. Whatever the reason, I left El Salvador feeling reassured that the only correct approach to ultimate success is the team approach.

25 February 2011
Topic: Job Tips, Agronomy

Agricultural Jobs and Resources

When a person goes off to college and has to answer that one question that everyone asks, "What do you want to do with your life?" or "What do you want to declare as your major?" It can be completely overwhelming. Seven years ago, up to 80% of college freshman did not declare a major. With so many areas of study and so many different fields, it's hard to make a decision. So, since we know agriculture, we're going to fill you in on what we know about that.

In one of the first blog posts we ever wrote, we talked about agriculture and why choosing a job in this field was worth it because over 1/4 of the United States GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is Agricultural-related. This translates to jobs. And Career Solutions is one of the best places to find these jobs.

But to answer that question on what type of jobs a degree in agriculture can get you, I've done some research and here's a couple of good resources I found.

1. Georgia Agricultural Education - This site lists dozens of agricultural positions and explains them all. It's a great tool resource to

2. The University of Phoenix has a good list of agricultural careers by positions too.

3. Another excellent resource is Purdue University. One of their specialties is in agronomy. Their website can help answer any questions regarding agriculture and education.

4. There is also the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA. Their website is full of current statistics, budgets, and laws and regulations and more.

There are so many areas you could explore. Have a look. What are your thoughts?
24 January 2011
Posted by Gary Weilbaker | Topic: Job Tips

Leading by generation

Not too long ago, I did a Powerpoint on cross-generational leadership synergy. I wanted to write about today because I think it's an important topic, especially in the recruiting industry when we want to recruit and retain the BEST from each generation. Let's have a look at the four generations I'm referring to:

Millennials - Born approx 1982-2000 (Today's kids)
Generation Xers - Born approx 1965-1981 (Today's thirty-something)
Baby Boomers - Born approx 1946-1964 (Today's thirty-something's parents)
Traditionalists - Born before 1946 (Grandparents of today's youth)

All of these generations have obviously experienced different 'defining' moments in life. Some major world moments for the millennials would be 911, the Gulf War, Princess Diana's death, Columbine, Internet, child-focused world, etc.

From the perspective of the Millennial, some expectations of the workplace characteristics could include:
• Re-emerging social consciousness
• Life-long learning/intellectual curiosity
• Smart work/problem solving
• Holistic Lifestyle
• Technology dependence
• Optimistic
• Confident
• Achievement oriented
• Respect for diversity

When looking at this list, here are some ways to acquire, retain, and communicate with the Millennial generation:
• Clear goals and expectations
Communicate Frequently on Performance
• No news is bad news (helicopter parents)
• Establish mentoring programs-real vs. false
• Establish friendly and nurturing atmosphere
• Maybe soft, avoid combative situations
• Promote team-building environment
• Validate recognition in groups
• Allow work/life balance

Lets look at Generation X in the same manner:

Key experiences would include the Energy Crisis, PCs, Regan era, Berlin Wall, the Challenger, Sesame Street, and MTV.

Some business perspectives and workplace characteristics of Generations Xers:
• Self-reliance
• Building skill portfolio
• Work relationship negotiation
• “Work to live, don’t live to work”
• Unimpressed with authority
• Skepticism
• Live for adventure

Best way to acquire, retain and lead Generation Xers:
• Establish clear goals and expectations
• Reinforce building capabilities/skills
• Frequent communication on how company is doing - Good, Bad, and ugly
• Direct, candid feedback on job performance
• Allow for work/life balance flexibility
• Foster less formal “boss”-employee relationship to coach

The Baby Boomers had some major key experiences: Vietnam War, Watergate, free- love, Peace Corp., Cold War, TV, Kennedy assassination

Some business perspectives and workplace characteristics of Baby Boomers:
• Live to work (pack & go)
• Personal gratification
• Goal attainment-including status/level
• Promotion of equality
• Redefining everything
• Desire to please
• Optimism
• Involvement, team orientation
• Social consciousness

How to acquire and retain and lead the best:
• Recognize client and company contribution
• Reinforce personal fulfillment and purpose
• Be title/status sensitive to Top performers
• Allow for flexibility of family and work responsibilities

Last but not least, let’s look at a generation recap for the Traditionalists: Some key experiences for this generation were The Great depression, FDR’s New Deal, World War II, D-Day, and the atomic age.

Business perspectives and workplace characteristics for Traditionalists:
• Boundaries
• Duty before pleasure
• Honor
• Security and life long careers
• Loyalty
• Hierarchy
• Respect for authority
• Conformity
• Discipline

How to acquire, retain and lead the best:
• Reinforce the value of their contribution
• Emphasize revenue and profitability contribution
• Enlist as mentors
• One-on-one reinforcement of where the company is going
• Allow for increased work/personal balance

Now that I’ve laid that foundation, we’ll talk about some business cases and making the most out of communicating with each generation.