What’s Your Problem?

This week we released the AgGrad Podcast Episode 009 with Vance Crowe of Monsanto.

I really enjoyed interviewing Vance, and he drops some major nuggets of wisdom and career advice. When Vance was telling the story of how he ended up in his current career he made the comment:

“I had that sense that I could be anything that I wanted to be. But that also came with a weird pressure that if I could ‘grow up’ to be anything that I wanted to be, then how would I know that what I was doing was the right thing?”

I think a lot of people, especially millennials can relate to this comment. I see it every week as a recruiter in the agricultural industry. Most often it comes across as uncertainty, hesitation, and wondering if the “grass is greener on the other side”.

But, back to the question: “How do you know that the path you’re choosing is the right one for you?”. And, even if you were to choose one career track that you think is the “right” path, how do you know what the next 10+ years are going to look like? There are no guarantees that you can shape a career trajectory just the way you want it to look.

Vance goes on to offer profound advice:

“Instead of focusing on ‘who is it that I will become?’, think about WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU REALLY INTERESTED IN SOLVING?  

“What are the questions that you think ‘man, if I could answer THAT question, that would be very interesting….Any kind of question that you want to figure out the answer to, if you can find someone who is also trying to figure out that the answer to that question, then you have A CAREER THAT YOU CAN PURSUE ENDLESSLY.

This hit me like a semi truck. I realized that the people I know that seem to be building careers with purpose, all have a passion for the problem(s) that they are solving.

Also ingrained in Vance’s comments are the fact that you can’t possibly know who, where, or what you’re going to be in 5 or 10 years. But, imagine how impactful you will be if you dedicate that amount of time to solving a real problem?

For Vance, this problem is about educating others about agriculture. For me, it’s connecting agribusinesses with potential employees. For some it may be helping to advise farmers to make better decisions in terms of marketing, risk management, financing, or input costs. Perhaps it’s building confidence in young people by teaching agriculture.

This list of problems in this world is infinite, as solving one problem often leads to other problems. The point is if you dedicate your life’s energy to a problem you’re interested in solving and other people also have, your career will change and grow in ways you could never dream possible.

So pick a problem that you’re passionate about solving and other people share, and find ways to dedicate  your career to the solution. The path to solving the problem may mean taking a different job, going back to school, starting a business, or volunteering with an organization like AgriCorps.

Whatever that looks like for you, become passionate about the problem and see where it takes you!

What’s your problem? Leave a comment below!   

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.