Since my work is always trying to dominate my life, and it tries to push everything else important to me out of its selfish way, I have given how I provide for my family a lot of thought lately. 

            It is interesting to me how we get our various jobs in the first place.  I know from studying my family’s history that many had little choice of what they did. 

My Scottish ancestors had no choice but to work the coal mines.  For several hundred years, the law prohibiting families to move away from the mines amounted to slavery.  As families, they had to work long days in the mines for barely enough to eat.   

Many of my ancestors followed the sea.  This was in an era when being a sailor was as common of a job world wide as working in an office at a computer is now.   

Even in the old country, farming has been part of our family work ethic.  My Danish family were quite self sufficient and comfortable on their farm.  They moved to the United States following a religious movement more than to seek better opportunities. 

My Tillack family, who lived in Germany, were seeking better opportunities.  They sold their farm and chased after the Australian gold rush in 1855.   

After gathering to North America, most of my family took advantage of the most available work opportunity in the west… farming.  Hard times in this profession, has over the years, spun my family into other directions.  My grandpa Tillack told me of what great losses he experienced in Alberta, Canada during the Great Depression.  His sweetheart waited for him to finish barber school so they could have a future together.

My Grandpa Haroldsen saw to it that each of his children had college educations so they could choose to do what they wanted.  My dad’s aspirations were in a specialty of agriculture… the egg business.  For the time and era, the egg business which he built up was cutting edge modern.  This is where my parents raised their family.  This was the life I knew as I grew up.  I loved the egg business more than my other siblings.  And I planned to carry on in the family business with my father.  But not long after I was married, the economics of the business change very quickly.  Instead of family sized farms producing and distributing eggs regionally, the egg business was taken over by large national corporations.  The future was national distribution and marketing.  Now any farm with less than a million birds was considered a small unprofitable farm. 

My dad and I started a new career in driving.  This time instead of driving egg and feed trucks, we drove trucks pulling oversized loads… mobile homes.  Again, like my ancestors, our choice of work had more to do with what work was available at the time then it had to do with what I really wanted to do.  After all, I had a young family and I felt the weight of responsibility.  After a year of pulling mobile homes throughout the Pacific North West, I decided that my responsibilities to be at home at night with my young family was more important than my developing career as a truck driver. 

So I was soon back in the egg business, working for one of those large egg companies who had helped gobble our family egg farm’s market share, and my dad started a new career as a bus driver.

So that brings me to here and now.  I’m still in the egg business, working for a large national corporation.  But in my long work hours, when I can think about such things, I wonder, if I had it to do all over again, what would I CHOOSE to do to provide for my family?  Is it too late to change careers?  I can’t really afford to start over in the salary scale.  As my children choose and prepare for careers of their own, I pray that they look at it very carefully and that they keep their options open. 

I think if I could do things over now, I’d live anywhere my Beautiful Wife wanted to instead of where my job is.  I’d spend my work day writing something.  I don’t know what you can get paid to write.  I know that I have read a lot of very poorly written technical manuals.  Maybe I could write a troubleshooting guide for the fancy egg processing equipment.  I know I would have paid a million bucks for one of those a few weeks ago.              

15 thoughts on “Providing”

  1. Hi Ron~I had to read both blogs.  I was surprised to see two.  Commented on the second one first, then everything in spaces froze so I had to sign back in and come back.  I wanted to say, we have Tyson plants all around us and I know what a big business this is.  And, I guess for a lot of people, what we end up doing for a living is largely by chance and circumstance.  It was that way for my hubby.  Lately, I have met a few people that changed careers in mid-stride.  Unfortunately I don’t have any details or stats on how it came about or turned out.  Your family seems to be working wonderfully and I can tell you are proud.  Have a wonderful week.

  2. oh wow, it’s the hubby! hahaha ok, sorry just a little shocked/awed to find Treasurechest’s hubby….I "met" her the other day while blog walking. 

  3. Hi Ron,
    oh I how I have missed coming in here and reading your words.. its been far to long..
    I had to laugh at the ending of your post today.. maybe you should write a troubleshooting guide for eggs.. never know where a few words here or there will take one..
    Things around here are getting better.. slowly.. but better.. and that is all one can really hope for.. better days ahead..
    or at least one can pray that it is so..
    the weather has been harsh this winter.. the flu sticks like glue.. but soon spring will be here.. and we all can breathe fresh air once again..
    Hope you and your family have a beautiful soft day..
    hugs ~Hope

  4. Hi Ron,  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  It’s nice to hear your perspective on supporting a family.  I’m kinda like you,  I’m not sure I would do the same thing if doing it over again.  The thing that got me going was working with my father too.  He was an electrical contractor, just as I now am.  I worked for him while growing up, and could wire a house by myself by the time I was around 14.  I wasn’t going to do this for a living I told myself,  but after serving a mission, and trying to work, go to school, and keep a social life going,  I felt overloaded, and unfortunately, I let the school go, as I had a trade that I liked and it would support me.  Sure, I have regrets, but for reasons I don’t care to discuss in a public forum, things worked out, and I did my best to support a family of 8 children.  Now most are grown, and I can get by on a little less, so we basically get by.  I still have goals, and ambitions, but they are constantly getting tweaked or changed.
    If you have time,  sometime this spring,  we should get together,  I have an extra bee suit, and you’re welcome to come dabble in the bee hives.  They’re friendly if treated right.  🙂  Kent

  5. Hi Ron,
    This is so true.  I keep telling my kids that the harder they work now in school, the more doors will be opened up to them in their futures.  They could do anything if they apply themselves now.  My kids are the age when they’re really trying to decide what they want to do when they grow up.  Whenever Chris brings home a bad report card I tell him to practice this line, "Welcome to Burger King, may I take your order?"

  6. … from 400+ page architectural spec books to automotive/heavy truck (aka the big ones you use to haul those "pre-fab homes" to the tops of the most unlikely places…"just let me try"… ) to industrial chem-resist coating application specifications, buddy, I’ve read (and written a couple) of boring and less than informative technical manuals and "methinks" you could keep this audience on the EGGs of our seats … WE (I take literary license with the "we" here) await your "Tech-Man-"… MAN!  🙂

  7. Great to see you back in the halls of the castle, we missed you !!!!
    I think you should write also, you have great writting skills, and hey, why not get paid for something you are
    good at and enjoy !!!!!!!  And i agree with you , take that women where ever she wants to go !!  ( just trying to help you out Val !!)
    I think the Castle is in need of a visitors manual !!!!!  what a week we had huh !!!!
    Have a great week.

  8. HI Ron, Thank you for stopping by, and I wanted to tell you I enjoyed this blog very much. I have changed my career once, I don’t have regrets, and I probably will start anew again.
    You are so right about staying at home at night with your family, – our family IS the MOST important thing, what work we do is NOT. And the fact that we are working, will give us comtent of being worthy, and support our family at the same time.
    Hope the week has been good for you and your family!

  9. Hi,Ron.How are you?
    It is good that you could work in egg business again though the company is not yours.
    If you like the company,it is ok.
    If you wanna do other things you like,why not now?
    If it is too late,then not regret for the choice in the past because we must get sth while losing sth in life.

  10. Hi Ron,
    I guess it’s pretty scary to think about changing careers when you still have kids to support. My husband and I both just kind of fell into our jobs, he  stuck with his and turned it into a good business but I don’t know if he ever thinks of other things he might have done. I think he’s like you… would work hard and succeed at anything. I know you would be a valuable employee that anyone would love to have. Just put the word out and you never know what might happen.

  11. What an interesting review of your family work history..  Amazingly enough most people do work at whatever job that they can to make a living unless they are born weathy..  When on the farm, I enjoyed my chicken business…….  especially, the bantys… ha..  have a great day… lottiemae

  12. My mothers family were into farming.  Her father lost the farm during the depression and they had to move to the big city-at that time Minneapolis.  She had to quit school in the 8th grade and she was an hooonor student winning the spelling bee in Minnesota that year.  She was a 100% Swede and then married my father as he was heading for WWII in the navy.  His mother was an Indian and she worked with a furrier.  She was the best minker in Minnesota.  At least that is what she told us.  She had one job all her life, loved it and stayed there 60 years.  Her husband was a furniture maker.  I landed in my career just by chance and opportunity.  For many years I was a workaholic and raising two daughters alone at the same time.  I went far in my career and two years ago gave it up so I could enjoy my grandchildren.  I am slowly reengaging myself at work but I will never be the CEO again.  I am picking and choosing what I want to do and when I want to go in.  Just can’t beat that!  The most important thing to me was getting my kids through college and I did do that.  They have choices and don’t have to rely on fate and random opportunities.

  13. I’ve been thinking about you and the egg business.  According to your sister it was something you grew up with.  Twenty plus years ago, back when we had ward budgets to contribute to,  we had a ward project that was supposed to help pay for our commitments.  It was changing  out the birds in the large flocks at Olsen farms in Riverton.  The farm is gone, but the memory still brings back a grimace on my face.  I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard for so little in my life.  All said and done,  it came out to less then two bucks an hour, so even though it helped the budget some,  It still left a lot to do to make our commitment.  Of course it helped with getting to know people.  Too bad they ran the guy off that got us into the project.  When we started our little place here in So. Jordan, we had chickens, turkeys, pigs and even a milk cow.  gone are those days, but they do bring back pleasant memories.  One year we decided, along with our neighbor, to raise 100 meat chickens.  All went well, but the slaughter wasn’t fun.  It was only later that we learned that the day we slaughtered them was our neighbors anniversary.  Really romantic 🙂  The last chickens I raised for meat,  I took to a place west of ogden to have them processed.  I was working at HAFB so it wasn’t much out of my way.  I still raise a couple of calves each year.  🙂  kent

  14. It’s never too late to change. You would be great at any job you went after.  You know I still think you could get a job at the great institution I work for, or the sister University down the road your way. They are always hiring middle-of-lifers who had to change their career plans. 
    Take care.

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