How would you like to work for these guys?

A job advert may be aimed at the job seeker, but it also provides an insight into the competence, attitude and ways of a business and its management. And the picture isn’t always pleasant.

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If it wasn’t August, I’d have assumed it was an April Fool’s joke. I reread it to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, but there it was in black and white, in the “vacancies” section of the publication. They were looking for a farm manager with a qualification from an agricultural college or university and a minimum of 15 years farming experience.

The candidate had to be “a dynamic self-starter, mature, motivated, honest, trustworthy, hard-working” and “goal-orientated”, take “initiative” and be “dedicated”.“Must have the ability to run and manage a farming unit independently. (Proven ability to work unsupervised.) Must have good human relations and negotiation skills. Be able to manage labour and train them. Be active in anti-poaching and stock-theft operations,” continued the ad, in its barely literate way, (I’ve spared you the bad grammar and spelling mistakes!).

Aside from having computer skills and a driver’s licence, being able to speak English and Zulu, the candidate needed:

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  • Experience in training other people.
  • Artificial insemination certificate, with “lots of AI experience”.
  • A passion for all aspects of “commercial beef and stud farming”.
  • A sound knowledge of “animal husbandry veterinary aspects”.
  • Technical and mechanical skill.
  • Minimum of two years centre-pivot irrigation experience, extensive cropping and horticultural experience and “must be able to develop and maintain pastures”.
  • Experience and exposure of costing, budgets and finance.
  • You’d also have to provide your own accommodation for the first year.
  • As for “responsibilities”, here’s what the ad said verbatim: “The successful candidate will be expected to manage the entire farming operation (+/- 4 000ha in extent), including a new game farm development, 24/7.”
  • Salary is R12 500/month, with an annual bonus “to be paid at the shareholders’ discretion according to performance.” No pension fund, no medical aid, no insurance or disability cover.

Employer ignorance
OK. Let’s get this straight, Mr Employer. You’re looking for a graduate in their late 30s, with God-like qualities, an expert in animal husbandry, pasture management, personnel training and development, highly developed negotiation skills, computer and veterinary science experience, artificial insemination, mechanics, irrigation, accounts and finance – and experience in horticulture and extensive crops.

They must be able to drive a vehicle (do you know anyone with the above qualifications who can’t?) and get personally involved in preventing stock theft.And they’ll be expected to work 24/7 – for R12 500 a month, with no extras, and a bonus paid only if the boss feels like it.Eish! I wouldn’t work for you for all the money in the world. I suggest you take a big jump across the ocean and go farm there. South Africa can do without farmers of such gross managerial incompetence as to draft such advertisement. Most insulting of all is you think a person with such qualities and qualifications should work under such conditions. Your incompetence and attitude tarnishes the noble profession of farming.     |fw