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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dreaded Decisions

I finally found some time for "Sitting in the pasture" this weekend. It was so much needed time on on thinking post. This week I took a trip to Dalhart, Texas for an interview with JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeders. The interview went very well and I ended up getting a job offer before I even got my bags unpacked on Friday. That same day brought my acceptance letter to the Ranch Management program at TCU. So in a way, it was a Good Friday indeed!

The position with 5Rivers is a very attractive offer. I would be working as a Cattle Management Trainee, starting in the cattle receiving position. It's not that the position would be anything new to me, I have been working with stockers and buying/receiving cattle all of my life. During my interview day I got to meet the cattle manager and I really enjoyed talking with him, so it's not that I would not like who I would be working with. What I am a little apprehensive about is the corporate structure at 5Rivers. They are a JBS owned company, and with any big company there are some adjustments to be made going in.

You may or may not have heard of the Ranch Management program at Texas Christian. The program takes 25 students for each class. The program is an intensive study of managing the available resources in a ranch setting. The mission of the school is for their graduates to have the knowledge to manage their resources if they were dropped off on any livestock operation in the world. The program would give me opportunity of a lifetime to launch my career in ranching. Everyone has that one spot where they feel like they fit, where it's the one spot they can just go to work everyday and face the challenges with a big grin on a daily basis. Ranching does that for me (as you can see in my reaction when I found out I had the chance to work in Wyoming last summer). The challenges that come with a ranch life have always been an adventure for me. So why the apprehension to accept the spot in the RM program? It's the tuition bill, private university tuition is not exactly the cheapest in the world. I have went to school 4 years without a drop of debt. It would be a hard leap to make.

So am I willing to take the risk, pass up a very generous job offer with the largest cattle feeding operation in the world where the promotion opportunities are guaranteed, to invest in one more year of school and pursue a career in ranching where I have a personal investment in the cattle industry and live out my dream from the start?

And here I am stuck on yet another point. Both of these programs obviously show great interest in having me as a part of their team. I was accepted to the TCU program before I ever finished the interview, and 5Rivers gave me a very generous offer before I ever unpacked my bags. What other opportunities are there for me right now? How high can I reach for my first job out of college? Only time will tell. This is the kind of decisions I dread.