What I’ve Learned Working in Cowboy Country

I've learned more than just throwing a rope and project management out here on the range. (I'm the one on the White horse 🙂 )

Having been living and working out in Wyoming for almost a year now. I’ve reluctantly adapted to some of the cultural nuances; everyone drives 5 miles UNDER the speed limit, at the fastest. People refuse to use right turn lanes when they’re available, and my personal favorite: the 2.5 car length distance everyone gives each other between cars. (Ok none of these are really bad things but let me tell you; I enjoy the big city driving style best. It’s like an un-choreographed ballet on crack, everyone ends up where they need to be but it’s a rush getting there!)

Now, on the other hand I’ve learned some positive things specifically having to do with the work place. First off, style of dress in the work place. It’s really not dead. Yes a lot of people enjoy dressing professionally at work. Then there’s the folks who wear their Vibrum Five Fingers, a nice pair of Khaki shorts and their favorite DMB t-shirt. In this type of environment, as a millennial that actually enjoys professional dress, I’ve had the ability to experiment with where I fall in the work-fashion spectrum. Although it doesn’t sound like much I really believe a lot of butterflies flutter around the young professionals stomach when they look in their closet every morning for the first month or two of work.

Secondly, office politics. Holy mine field Batman! Let me tell you, there’s something to be said, on both sides of the coin for working in a small town at the biggest employer in that town. You get to know everyone, and you run into everyone — EVERYWHERE. I quickly had to groom my professional and “off-duty” persona’s to blend in between, for those Sunday mornings at the grocery store or at one of the handful of taverns / restaurants on a Friday night.

Thirdly, office politics, IN the office. Yeah this one is the tough one. I was so lucky to have a couple guides that were a few years more experienced then myself when I started my position here. They were there to carefully steer me around any large landmines. It is INSANELY important to have a steadfast set of ethics for your professional life. Adhering to these is what will save you and let me tell you my “Audrey Hepburn” (she’s my all time favorite of all time, when it comes to class and attitude.) inspired persona helped to keep me in line and out of the little tifs that can so often happen around an office.

On the flip side living in a small town and there for living close to those you work with, whether you like it or not, can bring up issues of its own. The best way to sum it up is to remember High School. You can choose to participate in the petty gossip and cattiness of the little universe that exists within your building or you can realize you’re there to work and act accordingly.

There is more to come on this front. I’ve been lucky enough to find a good jumping off point, and you can bet that I’ll be here sharing more of my experiences from Cowboy-land with you in the coming weeks.


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