If you’re familiar with Publix then you probably know that their motto is, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure.”
And if you don’t know Publix, it’s a grocery store chain in the southeast. It’s known for delicious subs and exceptional customer service.
I just have to say, there is no customer service like Publix. I mean I’ve literally seen a manager drive behind a senior citizen customer on a rainy day just so he could unload her groceries for her at her house due to the Florida downpour.
So why am I telling you this?
Because, I started working at Publix two months after my world shattered in front of my eyes. *Note: I did work at Publix in high school, but I quit when I moved to college.
I needed something to do. I needed a reason to shower and get dressed. I needed to see other people. I needed to use my brain. I needed to occupy my mind.
I was grieving HEAVILY in the workplace like millions of people do every day. And it’s important for people (particularly employers) to hear this.
Millions of people grieve every single day and millions of people also have to get up to go to work every single day. Publix is the epitome of a workplace that accepts grievers.
What do I mean by accepting grievers? I mean that I was accepted for who I was, which was a traumatized, griever going day by day. Although I rarely spoke of my loss (refer to Please Do Not Disturb if you don’t already know this), I was hurting more than I ever thought possible. So when I was triggered, my manager let me go to the bathroom to splash water on my face. If I needed to cry, my manager let me use her office. If I needed to get a snack, my manager let me go in the back office and covered for me while I ate something.
Now to be clear, I didn’t take advantage of this. I worked and I worked hard, but it was inevitable that things were going to trigger me especially since I was working back in my hometown and I saw people I hadn’t seen in years. Although unintentional, I was often greeted with inappropriate comments.
I strongly acknowledge that I have no clue what it’s like to be an employer, but, with that being said, I still have hope that employers can be more like Publix.
Grief is a part of life and it needs to be acknowledged.
For grievers in the workplace, my hope for you is that you can advocate on behalf of your needs. I’m aware that not all workplaces can accommodate their employees like Publix does, but at the very least, grieving employees need to be heard and seen.
I hear you and I see you.