In the summer of 1980, I started as a part-time associate in the housewares warehouse, viewing Publix as a temporary means to a greater end. No way did I intend to become a "Publix lifer."
However, 12 years later I found myself still employed with Publix after being promoted to the position of quality improvement facilitator in the Lakeland dairy processing plant. During this period in my personal life, I didn't always make the best decisions, which resulted in a lot of emotional pain and financial distress. Luckily, at the time, I worked for a plant manager who not only cared about me as his associate but made me feel as if I was a member of his own family.
He was a hard businessman with extremely high expectations. Yet, he realized the importance of the human side of the equation as well. At the end of the each workday, he always took the time to talk to me about life outside of Publix. He knew when to question and he knew when to let me talk. Most importantly, he knew how to let me figure it out on my own.
It was during this time that I realized what this company is all about. Publix is not in the grocery business; Publix is in the business of taking care of people. That's why 33 years later I'm glad to say that I'm still employed by Publix Super Markets.