Job: Farm Manager, Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms
Location: Maui, Hawaii
One of my favorite parts about The YoPro Know is highlighting the countless career opportunities that are out there for YoPro's. For example, Tessa's work is not something that many of us think of doing when we grow up, yet it has developed her into a strong leader and is a place she sees herself long-term. We can thank Brittany, a YoPro we interviewed earlier this year, for connecting us to Tessa, her sister-in-law.
Can you give me an overview of your background?
I was born and raised in South Carolina in a really small town, Mountain Rest, and got a Bachelor of Science and a minor in Business and Spanish from Clemson University in May of 2015. I knew that I really enjoyed working with people and the outdoors, and I wanted to be somewhat in the agricultural world if possible. I first worked at my family summer camp and then substitute taught for a few months before I came out to Maui to do a work trade exchange to see if I liked the farming world through WOOF (Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms). A couple of months after starting, the owners were looking for someone to manage the farm so they offered me the job and I took it.
What is your role as the manager?
I manage all aspects of the farm business: the agriculture aspect of it, the hiring, etc. At first, it was a pretty fast turnaround because people would come for about three to six months, so I was teaching as well. Then the business started growing well and doubled revenue so we were able to start adding on long-term employees. Right now we have four long-term employees that are part of our team.
What do you like about being a leader? What has been difficult about it?
I have grown exponentially as a person since starting as a manager four years ago. In the beginning, one of the things that was hardest for me was taking feedback as a manager and not taking things personally. What was interesting to learn is that each person needs to be managed differently. Through trial and error, I started asking people during orientation how they liked to be managed. For example, I would ask them what works for them and whether they preferred to work independently. That was interesting for me too because peoples' answers changed and some people found that the answers they gave were not actually true to who they were. Another thing that has helped me is if I am mad about something, I try to wait 24 hours so that I am not mad anymore and can think through everything to see if there was a miscommunication on my end.
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
Because I live where I work in a really remote town, there is no escaping the job. My friend group is also the people I work with, so being able to manage a work-life balance with a social life balance has been the biggest challenge.
What drives you?
I absolutely love farming, and I really love teaching and growing as a whole. I love growing people, however, it is also a part of my role that is really stressful for me. I have to try to not burden myself and try to understand that everyone is responsible for their own experience and their own happiness.
What would you tell somebody who is looking to get into this kind of field?
It is easy to underestimate yourself and working hard means a lot. I did not know that I was going to become a manager after going to volunteer on a farm, but I ended up working a lot of extra time outside of the required time and the owners saw that I was really passionate and driven and motivated. But it is really a day to day thing.
Any last-minute words of advice?
If you are passionate about what you are doing, then your life is not just about waiting for the weekend. Being passionate is getting up and being excited about your day, every single day. I think right now in this current state that we are in, people are forced to find out what those passions are. It is exciting that our generation is full of people that are looking more for things they are passionate about than things that are going to just pay the bills.
- Wait 24 hours before responding to an issue if emotions are high.
- Show that you are driven and motivated.
- Find the job you are passionate about.
Check it out: Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms