My next job: 18th century Connecticut farmer

I grew up as a Millennial, that oft-maligned generational segment typically blamed for destroying the economy, music, movies, higher education, family values, and fashion. Personally, I blame my friend Eric’s stepdad for most of that, but that’s irrelevant. Another key attribute of my generation, one that I personally see as a testament to our intellectual versatility and creative elasticity, is our erratic job histories. We move around. A lot.

How many Millennials do you know who are on track to retire from their first employer? Other than RJ Winkler, I don’t know any. Millennials like to find jobs, work them, extract value from them, and when the calculus is more or less zeroed out, move on to the next thing.

That is why I am looking to start the next leg of my career as an 18th century farmer in rural Connecticut. If I have learned anything from J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur’s 1782 essay On the Situation, Feelings, and Pleasures, of an American Farmer, it is that farming is the right evolution for me.

An important aspect of farming is to understand nature. And not only understanding nature, but exerting as much control over it as possible. For example, I will begin to understand:

  • Various different kinds of birds and their temperaments
  • How to chastise cows who are acting greedy
  • How to track bees to their hives
  • The values of hornet nests in homes
  • What tame wild pigeon is and why every farmer in Connecticut has one
  • What various pigeons I’ve caught have eaten by gutting them and examining their stomach contents
  • How to cut open the mouth of a kingfisher bird after I have shot it out of a tree and then freeing 171 bees, 40-or-so of which will come back to life and return to their hive
  • How to safely seat my infant son on a plow while I work in a way that he doesn’t fall to the ground and get trampled by an ox

This among other things I am sure I will learn and value about nature and natural life.

Much like St. John de Crèvecoeur, I will pull myself up by my bootstraps. The only things that he was able to start with to build his farm, which is extremely minimal in the grand scheme of things, was 300+ acres of high quality land, a farmhouse, a spacious barn, a collection of slaves, a large variety of livestock, and a lifelong education in how to run a farm. Other than that, he did all of it. That is what (aside from owning other humans of course) I would also like to do. All of it ON MY OWN. With no help from anyone.

I really do get sick and tired of people who can’t figure out how to build their own wealth from nothing, just like I am going to do with St. John de Crèvecoeur in mind. Firstly I must find a relative that has 300+ acres of high quality farmland and all that other stuff (aside from the humans) and get them to give it to me, so that I too can be a self-made man.

There is the daily grind, the rat race, the corporate splendor within the walls of the office that I could easily keep doing. I’m good at it, I enjoy it, I like the people I work with. But perhaps it is high time for me to become an 18th century farmer in rural Connecticut. Imagine emailing someone at LinkedIn to add that puppy to the list of available job titles.

I do truly believe in the value of being close to the land, of being close to where food comes from. The steps we have today, of farming and travel and processing and marketing and shopping and more travel and waste that accompanies our food is dismal. I’d love to get closer to source. We should celebrate and support those who are. None of this works, none of the things we do in this world work if we don’t have the nutrients and the calories to make our bodies and brains move.

Is digital real? Is this iPad part of the value equation of human existence? I don’t know. But I do know that land and nature and persnickety bovines and billions of bees are. Here I go to learn how to master them.

Peanut butter first, code second.