50 (40?) Days of Publix

I got my first iPhone on Thursday September 6, 2007. Having a smartphone was life changing in many ways as I assume it was for most people. Of all the amazing things it allowed me to do, keeping a daily journal ranks near the top. Writing in general is therapeutic for me. My journals over the years have been many things… sometimes just the facts, sometimes whining and moaning and maybe occasionally… worth reading.
I’m not sure where the following ranks… but here it is. I wrote this 6 yrs ago and in it’s entirety it covers about 2 months of my life. Aside from this, I also kept my regular daily journal. I may post that some other time. It paints a bit of a different picture. What you read today (if you decide to) is the first of a 2 parter. The first being WAY longer than the second. Most likely, this isn’t worth your time, but I’m posting it. I’ll be posting part 2 in the next few days perhaps.
One clarification- Publix SuperMarkets, Inc. is an AMAZING company… it is a retail grocery store though. Working retail is simply a chore at times… 35 yrs is a long time. I had great success at Publix and am extremely thankful for all my career provided for me. After reading this, you may find what I just wrote a bit hard to believe. In more ways than one, I was just done!!!

     Well this is gonna be another weird thing I do. I’m starting this 10-17-15. One day before my 35th anniversary with Publix, and on the day that could be my 50 day mark at Publix. Depending on what I find out when I call the retirement department in the first week of November, I believe I have a maximum of 50 days left and a minimum of 40 days… Thus the title of this list. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks. For now I’ll err on the side of the maximum. I plan to log what my days are like… Just general, high level stuff. Not sure exactly what I’ll be writing, but we’ll find out won’t we. 🙂 
     The title of this… The 40 Days of Publix is a play on words of the book written by Rick Warren called The Purpose Driven Life aka The 40 Days of Purpose. The latter title is also the name of a DVD series that churches/people go through to help determine their Godly purpose in life. I’ve read the book and have done the DVD series. Trust me, The 40 Days of Purpose are much more interesting, life changing, etc. than anything I’ll be writing in this 40 days of Publix. 🙂 
 
S10-17 Day 1- sciatic nerve is hurting. 1pm- it’s been somewhat stress free, but I feel I’m understaffed… but that’s the case everyday. Worked 12h 37m.
     Aggravating fiasco with warehouse sending a pallet that wasn’t mine. They can’t seem to figure out on their end what happened yet seem to know that I got product that I wasn’t supposed to. After explaining what product I got… They said they would email me information on what they figured out. They admitted that they were confused on their end, yet wouldn’t listen to a clear simple explanation on my part. This is often status quo when dealing with the warehouse. 

S10-18 Day 2- worked 4:37-17:24 Frustrating start to the day… Sheila got me up at 3:45 and I got dressed and came to work. It was only after I got to work that I realized what the time was. I had not planned to come in until 6:45. Which is the normal time I come to work on Sunday.  So I missed two extra hours of sleep. Grrrr….. You would think that I would have noticed, but I feel I’m just trained to get up and go sometimes without actually thinking or noticing certain things. It’s called being institutionalized I believe. 🙂  Hard to believe, but I’ve never done that (not even one time) in my career. 
     Today is my 35th anniversary with Publix. I always say to Sheila on this day…. It’s either a sign of a great accomplishment or a sign of a wasted life and I’m not quite sure which one it is. 🙂
     It’s 9:06 and I feel annoyed at every part of this job. I could type 20 paragraphs detailing each frustration. Don’t have time to, but some of items on the list are, not nearly enough staff, WAY too much product that the warehouse keeps sending, backroom is entirely too small, and back room and cooler are way overstocked and unorganized due to not having enough people to keep it the way it should be.  
     I could stay a few hours late today and do my best to get it organized, but it would be in the same shape within a day or two. That’s because in the next day or two you will again be understaffed and people won’t have the time to properly organize, account for, properly track the inventory on hand of all the items. You almost NEVER have time to do it the right way. You just do whatever you have time for and deal with things not being done properly. 
     It’s 9:32, and ANOTHER snafu. My assistant made out this weeks schedule and severely undercut me on the hours of help I was supposed to have today. We have fewer hours of help today than any other day this week. EVERY OTHER DAY there are more hours of help than today and today, Sunday, is always the biggest truck and the busiest day of the week. Had to call in an associate for a 5 hour shift and I’m still WAY under scheduled for the day. 
     It’s 12:28 and the last 3 hours or so have been VERY hectic. Hectic to the nth degree!!!!!! A visit from the DM (district manager), two computer issues with employees not being able to sign on properly.  Not to mention the regular business of trying to get the truck worked, plus dealing with A LOT of customers. I did have two enjoyable interactions with two of my regular customers and I thoroughly enjoyed that. I am thankful and appreciative of those moments and I truly know I’ll miss those times. I may even miss some of the busy, angry, hectic, aggravating, frustrating times. We’ll see. 🙂
     It’s 2:53, the past 2 1/2 hrs have been extremely productive. I’m thankful for that.
     The rest of the day was fairly okay. It was a 12h 47m day. 10 minutes longer than yesterday. My first two days back from vacation have equaled 25 1/2 hours. Yikes. Sadly, that’s totally normal for my weekend shifts. 

M10-19 Day 3- worked 9:49-22:27 Beautiful drive to work.  Sunny, a little windy, it was 77° but felt cooler… Top down. Great way to drive to work. 
     Once I got to work…. Busy busy busy first 4 hours. Working on next weeks schedule was frustrating as always. I have to do the schedule every Monday and we have a computer generated scheduling program that started in September of 2014. It’s very challenging to say the least. This is the first time ever that we’ve had a computer tell us how many hours to schedule and how to schedule each day. The parameters that they used to determine this is very vague and completely uninformed. It is what it is though. 
     Meeting from 1:30-3:15. Went back to department and it was in shambles. My assistant had not managed the help very well and we were in horrible shape. I called him up (he had gone home for the day) and expressed my displeasure. He had 11 extra hours of help today than I had yesterday. There was no excuse to be in that bad of shape. I spent from 3:15-8:30 running myself ragged getting the place back in acceptable condition. 
     These type of situations happen time and time again. I’ve been a manager for 21+ years now and my current assistant is the 21st assistant that I’ve had. Only 5 or 6 have been good decent assistants. The rest are average at best and it’s hard to hold them accountable and hard to motivate them. The way the daily operations are set up, there’s never proper time to manage…. It’s learn as you go, do enough to not get fired and God help us all…. Ah yes, the Publix life. 🙂 47 days to go… Maybe only 37… 🙂 12hr 38m day. My first three days back from vacation total 38hr 2m. Just one of the myriad of reasons I can’t wait to retire. 
     On a good note, and I’m really trying to list all the good stuff as well about my daily routines…. I had a great conversation with a regular customer and we both were able to talk about our faith and our love for Jesus. It was comforting to have that conversation. I’ve known him for 5 1/2 years and we’ve talked about numerous subjects but have never shared our faith. It was great learning that we had that in common. 

W10-20 Day 4- worked 4:35-2:20. Fairly smooth day. As always, I’m overly thankful for that. I did have to get involved in a customer slip and fall. This was the 3rd time this customer has fallen in a 5 month period. She has already received $2,500 in settlements from Publix. I was standing right next to her when she fell and it appeared staged for sure. She almost looked as if she was going to sit down but then fell backwards. The type of stuff you deal with when you work retail is quite interesting. 
     I’m writing this part of the entry on Thursday, my day off. I’m at the chiropractor waiting for a treatment. This journal of my final 50 days at Publix has seemed to have turned into a moan and groan type journal. I hadn’t planned for it to be that way. I absolutely experience all the emotions that I’ve talked about the first couple of entries. These feelings have really escalated in the past several years. I wonder sometimes if I’m experiencing anxiety or panic attacks or whatever. I seem to have NO patience in so many situations. I get upset at my own behavior quite often yet struggle to control my actions. 
     It may be that I’m being too critical of myself. Perhaps if I were to poll the 20 or 30 coworkers that I have have the most interaction with, they may say they think I do a great job. I have had people say that I do amazingly well for being someone who’s done what I’ve done for 35 years. I just don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, I’m trying to do the best I can and hopefully that’s appreciated and effective. 
     Anyway, I’m gonna try to not be as whiny and maybe find some better words to describe my daily emotions at work. Aggravated, angry, annoyed, frustrated, overwhelmed, understaffed… All these emotions are totally what I’m feeling and I seem to have no control over them. I wonder if I’m just becoming the angry old man at my job. I hope not. 

F10-23 Day 5- worked 4:37-2:04. Smooth day, got quite a bit accomplished. Wednesday’s and Friday’s are usually smooth days… usually. I’m thankful they both were this week.
     One cool thing, two different people (a vendor and a fellow employee) both made the same types of comment to me today. They did it at different times and neither one knew of the others comments. Essentially, both just said how I always seem to be in a happy mood and how enjoyable I was to deal with. After what I wrote just yesterday, it made me feel good that I was viewed that way. I think overall I am viewed as a nice, positive, easy going guy. It’s just inside at times, and because I’m so critical of myself that I get upset at …. Being upset…. That’s it I guess, I get mad at myself for being mad about how things are…. I think that I think (and write) about things too much. 🙂 Oh well, that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

S10-24 Day 6- worked 4:36-3:31. Yet again, a smooth day. 3 in a row. I’m thankful. I worked hard, I don’t mind doing that, but it was still smooth most of the day. Saturday’s are usually smoother when I work Fridays. Last Saturday was rough due to being my first day back from vacation and not working Friday. 

M10-26 Day 7- worked 4:36-17:31. 13 hour day… Chaotic, hectic, stressful… But I survived…. 43 days to go. Today is day 1 of a 15 day run where I have to work 13 of them. Oh well, this should be the last time in my career that I have to do that. 

T10-27 Day 8- worked 4:37-2:27. Fairly smooth day. 

W10-28 Day 9- worked 4:38-2:44, This was the third morning that I’ve had a beautiful drive to work. Top down, temps in the mid 70’s, and a full moon for the most part. Each day there’s been a thin layer of clouds… Just enough to give the light of the moon something to reflect off… The skies have been gorgeous… I enjoy being out driving at 3 or 4 am. It brings back a lot of good memories. 

T10-29 Day 9.5 🙂 Here’s my journal entry for that day. I was off work, but wanted to share this experience in this journal… 
     T10-29 up at 7:30.  Had a fantastic unplanned experience this morning. I stopped by the PSJ Publix to use the ATM. Found out that a bunch of produce managers were there resetting the department.  I went back to say Hi and had about a 30 minute “shooting the breeze” session with all of them. It was great, we talked about my upcoming retirement. A few people gave me a sincere “Thank you for everything” type of comment. It was just a lot of fun… Hanging out and shooting the breeze with them. It was like an impromptu mini retirement party. The following were the people who were there. Gary Cooper (he was my asst. at one time), Joe Hankins and his wife Flavia (both Produce Managers), Sal and Jordana Orlando (both Produce Managers, brother and sister, and Jordana was my part timer and full timer at one time), Ryan Willis (my PT, FT and Asst. at different points in my career). All of them just real good people.

F10-30 Day 10 worked 4:37-2:41. Smooth enough day. Actually got a lot accomplished.

Published by Rodney

Just a guy sharing a bit of a peek into my life, my brain, my oddities

2 thoughts on “50 (40?) Days of Publix

  1. Enjoyed reading this Rodney…. Kinda brought me back to our time working together and conversations about the job, life in general. Hope all is well in retirement. All my best, Chris Godke

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    1. Thanks so much Chris. I gotta tell ya, YOU were one of the main reasons I was able to survive those first few years at that store. Your personality, kindness, patience and understanding were so helpful to me.
      Hope all is well, everything’s good on my end. 🙂

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