Most modern job descriptions now include this familiar catch-all phrase: “…and other duties as assigned.” It just means you’ll eventually have to work on things outside your specific area of expertise — random tasks you won’t see coming and which might not thrill your socks off.
Some groan, but I say “other duties as assigned” come with great benefits: they break up your routine, team you with people you don’t normally work with, and challenge you to apply your skills in a new way. Better yet they often address critical areas of need that fall outside anyone’s day-to-day routine.
This year I’ve been part of a staff team celebrating what we called the “Year of the County Farm Bureau.” The goal was to start filling the gap of understanding separating some MFB staff in the home office from how Farm Bureau really works in the counties.
At each all-staff meeting this year we introduced two of our 12 districts and shared some insights into different components of county Farm Bureau operations, challenges and successes. My role has been to provide concise overviews of what makes each district special: commodity profiles, key processors, standout members and the issues and challenges unique to each region. It was a lot of ground to cover in five minutes but I did my best.
If we’ve moved the needle some — helped fill that gap of understanding — it would be commendable, but the overriding feeling among our team is that we have a long way to go. Accordingly, our “Year of the County Farm Bureau” endeavor will continue indefinitely (requiring a name change, obviously) so we can keep chipping away our vital task.
Our team is dominated by experienced Regional Mangers, whose vital role and experience working directly with county Farm Bureaus in “the field” play such a crucial role in making Farm Bureau tick. I’m privileged to be on board as one of the home office folks whose core job involves direct, regular work with county Farm Bureaus and all the rank-n-file members, volunteer leaders and administrators who are the heart and soul of your organization.
If you have any thoughts or guidance about how we can help our entire staff better understand, appreciate — and therefore serve — your county Farm Bureau, please drop me a line. I love working for you and always want to echo and amplify your voice here in Lansing.