As an adult, the most precious commodity in your* professional life is PTO.
How many hours do you accumulate?
How many roll over?
How many weddings are this year?
Save a few for a yet-to-be-named virus to knock you off your tracks.
Do you need a travel day for Thanksgiving?
Don’t forget the 10-year high school reunion.
To be fair, these questions are typically reserved for those who leave all that is comfortable of hometown living. Read as: the Haneys. With my family in Oklahoma and Indiana, his in Tennessee and our zip code in Texas – my PTO is as fiercely guarded as the gold in Fort Knox.
Friday, I cashed in the first of my 2015 PTO allocation.
My family's ranch has taken a new spin since I left the Rural Route 3** property. Cliff’s notes: my family is an off-ranch operator for a certain Texas ranch. Because of this, you may have consumed Akaushi beef that hit the ground in Oklahoma.
As a natural inquisitive human, I reached out to the executive director of the American Akaushi Association, who happens to be an Oklahoma State alumnus. Questions. I had so many questions.
Smiling the smile of a six-year-old child, I drove an hour southeast of Austin driving against the grain of early-morning traffic.
Following the curves of the dirt roads, mud splashing on my car, Conway on the radio it occurred to me how quickly I can slip into the urban of my life. Too quickly.
That changed as I drove through the ranch gate.
As I sipped my black coffee, history, industry tidbits and thoughts on consumer research were swapped over a rustic, kitchen table. Our conversation paused intermittently to gaze out to the front pasture. The lush vegetation and overflowing waterways were a drastic comparison to the drought-ridden areas of the country.
I pulled up the hood on my NorthFace rain gear and we headed to the truck.
With each pasture, I learned more about the Akaushi history in the United States.
With each turn, I was once again reassured the American rancher is doing the absolute best in animal care, nutrition and sustainability.
With each conversation topic, my soul became more grateful for the opportunity to work as a communicator in the agricultural industry.
With each 'grammable moment, I realized I should use more PTO days.
** Per the 911 address system, Rural Route 3 Box 175 has been replaced by a series of characters that I can’t seem to remember.