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By Staff | May 15, 2013

I was recently asked by my sister if I had any advice for a friend of her son who was trying to decide whether to continue with more college schooling or take a promising path that had been offered to him by his employer. It was a job he enjoyed and could be an eventual career.

I was able to come up with two pieces of advice. These are rules I use when making a decision and many times they have pointed me in the right direction.

Before I go any farther, I also want to say that I discourage unsolicited advice from anyone. My attitude is “If I want your advice, I will ask for it. Until then, keep it to yourself.”

So, here I am giving advice that no one reading this has asked for. This is your chance to stop reading right here.

For anyone who is going to venture onward by their continued reading, I have one more point.

I find it ironic that at this time of year, graduates are subjected to one more speech before receiving their diplomas. It is as if after years of studying and tests, they are one speech short of learning all they need to know and this is that speech.

Also, most of the commencement speeches I have had to sit through were entirely forgettable. No, make that all the commencement speeches I have had to sit through were forgettable.

I will try to do better.

I am going to state my two points, flesh them out with a couple illustrations, and let anyone reading this to the end to take it from there.

I do not claim to have any inside track on advice. I have learned these from years of making mistakes and trying not to repeat them.

Here we go.

My first words of wisdom for my sister’s young friend was, “Always take a sure thing.”

In his case he was being encouraged by his employer to pursue a job with them that had great potential, plus it was a job he enjoyed. They were willing to put him on a path to management while being employed.

How can you beat that? Having a job, getting paid, and receiving an education all at the same time. Or he can continue on with college, amass huge educational debt with no promise of a job when he is finished.

Take the sure thing.

I use this rule when selling grain. Let’s say corn has had a nice run and is approaching $7 a bushel. It is time to price some corn by selling it.

Should I take today’s price of $6.96 a bushel or wait for it to hit $7?

I will take the sure thing of $6.96 because who says it will make $7? Chances are a lot of my neighbors are waiting for $7 so they can sell.

Maybe it will make $7 and maybe it won’t. If so, it will only last there for a short time because sales will be made and the price will drop.

So while other people are waiting for $7, they end up selling for $6.90 and I got $6.96 because it was a sure thing. Waiting for four cents cost them a dime.

One down, one to go.

My second piece of advice is, “Always have a Plan B.”

I just told you to always take a sure thing. Sometimes sure things are not always sure because conditions change. That is when you call on Plan B and why you always have one

Most any decision I make has a Plan B behind it and occasionally a Plan C and maybe even a Plan D.

Sometimes a Plan B can simply be an escape route to use when you have had enough.

There you have it. Always take a sure thing and always have a Plan B.

Now you have two pieces of advice you did not ask for without having to listen to a speech by someone who was not all that interesting. Instead, you read it.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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