A dog in the hunt (a work in progress)



By Ed Nicholson

Posted only as a disclaimer.   As context for what I post elsewhere.

The opinions expressed herein, are not necessarily those of my employer, Tyson Foods, Inc.     Having been involved in creating social media content for a few years, I feel the need to disclose:

I’m biased. 

So is everybody else. Yes, you are.   We’re all influenced by a multitude of dynamic forces, including what we’ve experienced in our lives, what we see and do each day, who pays the bills, who’s waiting at home, where we live–and the list goes on.

As is fond of being said in the South, I have a dog in the hunt.  

Just to take it down to a finer point (and if you even care by now) here’s what influences me (subject to addendum):

I grew up in a small town in the South.  Better parents than I ever deserved. On a farm. A small one. Beef cattle (polled Hereford). 
Adolescent jobs (away from the farm) included: Working on a dairy farm (ocassionally), working for a hay contractor (2 summers), stocking groceries, and working for an asphalt contractor (2 days).  The kind of work I did for some of these folks, OSHA and DOL would probably cite my (current) employer for with enormous fines. But I thank God I had the experience.
I was a child of the 60’s, and really bought into all of that counterculture stuff. More than you’ll ever know.  I thought we were going to change the world. We kinda did.
I spent the very first part of my career out of college as a musician. Semi-successful. Jazz, rock and country.  It was GREAT! (I still play paying gigs on the weekends). The experience taught me more about diversity than any of the several diversity classes I’ve taken with my current employer. 
I worked in the ad industry for 7 years in creative departments.
The next 7 years were spent as an owner of a small business.  It was really fun, but health insurance was a b*tch, and I always seemed to be behind with the IRS.
My Dad’s a WWI I combat vet. A personal hero.
I have 3 kids and  a great wife. Been married for 26 years. That’ll affect your worldview.
I went to work for Tyson 14 years ago. Never, ever thought I’d work for a big company, but a friend showed me some things that changed my perspective drastically.  I’m a middle-management person. I don’t get the big bucks, but I’ve not worried about the health insurance in 14 years.  I don’t owe my soul to the company, but I do owe it a whole lot. It’s a great  company.  It’s made up of a bunch of really, really good people, who truly believe they’re doing the right thing in making and selling food.  Every once in a while I run into someone I don’t like in the company, but hey–it’s 104,000 people. What do you expect?
Thanks to a lot of good, passionate people–and the willingness of my employer to be complicit–I’ve been shown a lot of things about hunger that have truly affected my perspective of the issue.

Mark Twain published a marvelous little essay entitled Corn Pone Opinions, in which he reckoned we’re all heavily influenced by forces outside of ourselves.  I reckon we are, too.

Just so you know where I’m comin’ from.

photo by Meagan–Creative Commons