Rooted in the Fields: The Power of Farm Life in Cultivating a Strong Work Ethic

“The Importance of Farm Upbringing in Developing a Strong Work Ethic: Denis O’Brien Emphasizes Preference for ‘Culchies’ in Digicel”
Rooted in the Fields: The Power of Farm Life in Cultivating a Strong Work Ethic

The importance of a farm upbringing in cultivating a strong work ethic has been emphasized by entrepreneur Denis O’Brien. Speaking at the Irish America Hall of Fame induction ceremony, O’Brien revealed that his company, Digicel, primarily hires individuals from rural backgrounds, known colloquially as “culchies.” According to O’Brien, those who have worked on farms possess a unique understanding of commerce, developed through the challenges of eking out a living in a different world. He expressed his preference for hiring individuals with this background.

A study conducted in the United States in 2020 supports O’Brien’s assertion. Researchers from Stanford University and Santa Clara University found that regions with a historical reliance on farming tend to have a stronger work ethic, with individuals working longer hours. The study also highlighted the influence of labor in agricultural production on a country or region’s work ethic, particularly in crop production. Even when subsequent generations move away from agriculture, the study suggests that the strong work ethic associated with farming is often passed down through generations.

Eamon Jackman, the new principal of Heywood Community School in Co. Laois, echoes the sentiment that growing up on a farm instills a strong work ethic. Jackman, who hails from Ballinakill near the Kilkenny border, emphasizes the multitasking skills and dedication instilled by the constant demands of farm work. Having worked in various educational institutions, including Clongowes Wood College S.J., over the past two decades, Jackman believes that the work ethic developed on farms is invaluable in both personal and professional life.

Fredericka Sheppard, MD and founder of Voltedge Management, a human resources specialist, suggests that individuals with farm or family business experience should highlight this on their resumes and during job interviews. She emphasizes that farm children often develop their own small enterprises and benefit from exposure to the cycles of life and climate, as well as discussions around the kitchen table. This unique background can give them an advantage during the selection process and in the world of work.

In conclusion, the value of a farm upbringing in instilling a strong work ethic cannot be underestimated. The experiences and challenges faced on farms often shape individuals into hardworking, dedicated, and multitasking individuals. This unique background can be an asset in various professional settings, and employers should recognize and appreciate the skills and qualities that come from a farm upbringing.