By Connie S. Reynolds
A while back I read an article that said how you dressed is what made you successful or not. Being a goat farmer, this being successful is very important to me. So, I took the article very seriously.
And, I would like to lay to rest some rumors that goes along with this topic of dressing for success. Contrary to reports about me looking like a little bag lady while out working on the farm, I would like to say in my defense, I have never been "little" in my whole entire life. Now, thatís cleared up letís start, as goat farmers, dressing for success and I can give you some helpful hints.
Always buy the best duct tape. Thatís why I keep a variety of colors of duct tape on hand. I have red duct tape, black duct tape, yellow duct tape, gray duct tape and I hear there are many more colors out there. My favorite store to shop in, Big Lots, just hasnít brought them in yet.
Why duct tape? Why, to patch your favorite winter coat, boots, western hat, etc., silly. And, always color coordinate the outfit you are patching with the color of the duct tape. Iíll have to admit though; every now and then I get in a festive mood and will choose an entirely different color of duct tape just to liven things up.
For example, I love down coats for winter. Particularly when they are on sale in April for 75% off. But, the outer shells on the coats are so flimsy. The slightest snag and you get a big rip and if you try and sew the rip, you get new holes from the stitching. You just canít win. One minute you are warm and happy in your down coat and the next you have feathers floating around you and a draft. Or, you might notice your kid goats running around with a mouthful of feathers from where you have been sitting on a bucket bottle feeding and they have been helping themselves to the holes in your down coat. One year I wondered if I had a bunch of kid chicken killers on my hands when they ran by with mouths full of feathers. When I stood up and feathers floated all around me, then I understood.
This down goat was green and feeling in a festive mood, I used red duct tape on all the holes. I had red patches on my arms and one really long one across the middle of my back where a rough edge of a cattle panel had snagged me. That day a couple of customers dropped by to look at Boer goats. They drove up and I happily charged out to say Howdy.
They stared at my coat a minute or two, which I never thought a thing about, and then good manners took over and they worriedly talked pleasantries back to me. I had them wipe their boots off on my Clorox/water soaked mat to prevent diseases being carried into the herd and I walked them down the hill to the pasture.
They were still giving my coat worried looks and raising eyebrows at each other. When we got to the gate and opened it up and walked in, such relief came over their faces as they looked at the goats. They happily walked among the goats, petting a few here or there and bought a couple.
It wasnít until they had happily driven away did it occur to me that my coat had been a shock to them. They thought my herd would be a patched up lot also. But, really, they had to admire that beautiful colored duct tape on my coat. How many people can find such nice colors of duct tape? They should have known I only went for the best.
I have duct tape holding my favorite pair of rubber insulated boots together, duct tape holding together the rain cover on my western winter hat, and all in tasteful black duct tape coloring. I take this idea of dressing for success very seriously.
The article went on to mention manicuring and how important it was, especially if you shake hands a lot. I looked down at my broken, half ripped off nails with everything the barn had to offer stuffed under them. These things just canít be helped. You grab up a hay bale and a nail rips. You grab a flying kid going by that doesnít want to be wormed and another nail gets ripped half off, and the day continues in this fashion. So, what I do to keep looking successful, I file the rough edges on the nails, even if they are uneven, and hope that doing the dishes tonight will get the soaking that they say all nails need for manicuring.
And, if anyone wants to shake my hand, they had better have gloves on. I have so many calluses that not many soft hands can stand up to the abuse of my hand shaking.
According to this article on dressing for success, hair styling is extremely important. Having the right hairstyle and keeping it in order tells people if you are a real career person or not. I totally agree with this. Around here, if you want to stay warm in the winter you need to be able to get your nice warm woolen toboggan (thatís a winter hat, not a sled) over your hair do. If you insist on wearing the highly teased, heavily lacquered hairstyle popular in the area, well, your toboggan just wonít fit. You are in for some cold times then.
I personally go for the tightly permed look. I always wait for the beauty salons in town to have a perm sale, you know, get a free perm with a gas fill-up, to get a style my toboggan will fit over. The goats do not totally agree on this permed thing. They usually take one whiff of me after my perming, curl their lips and run to the end of the place. Lee has to go bribe them back with a bucket of grain. But, what do goats know about hairstyles, so just ignore them.
I did have to draw the line at wearing a suit to my job down at the barn. Jeans would just have to do. But, I do try to wear jeans with as few muddy kid hoof prints on them as possible. The idea of wearing conservative high heels had to be dropped also. I knew I would get hung up in the mud around the barn if I wore those. Besides, the heels just didnít look right with the muddy splotched jeans.
I did have to compromise on the shoes and so now I make sure I keep the duct tape new on my insulated rubber boots. Dressing for success takes a lot of work, but itís worth it.
The article insisted on make-up for the career minded woman. I tried, but the hay chaff, sawdust, and goat hair kept sticking to my face. So, Iíve had to compromise there too and just go with eye shadow, mascara and curling the eyelashes a little. Even then, when itís 5 a.m. you canít always be accurate with the mascara and eye shadow, especially if you have been up most the night kidding. What I want to know is if itís really necessary to use the same color of eye shadow for both eyes. That early in the morning, I donít think so.
So, thatís about it for dressing for success in goat farming. Go out there now and do like I do. Dress successful, feel successful, and sell goats. And donít forget to keep a good supply of duct tape on hand.