Series on Meaningfulness at Work – Enjoying what you do

Finding meaning at work does not always mean social work and doing a dream job. As Mr. Jim Banasik, store director of Rock Island Hy-Vee store will tell you. He loves his job, employees, customers and what the company stands for.

Most people would consider a 40-hour work week normal. For Mr. Banasik, that would be a short week. He said a “typical” work day is 10 to 11 hours, with an occasional “short” day of 6-8 hours. Six days per week. “But I really enjoy it, and that’s not forced; that’s just what I do,” Mr. Banasik said. “We are very hands-on.” Before Mr. Banasik walks through the front door, he already has walked the entire parking lot, looking for trash, weeds and any unfavourable conditions. Once inside, he spends the next three to four hours of his day walking every inch of the store, front to back, every department, saying hello to each employee. But he isn’t just walking by, he’s checking every shelf in the store, looking for empty spots, checking the signage to ensure everything has a price and making out a cleaning list for the employees to work on throughout the day.

“I change my day based on customers’ needs and what is going on in the store,” Mr. Banasik said. “But the weekends are all spent with the customers.” He said the job is never boring, there is very little down time and there is always something to do. “The fun part for me is working on the front end, sacking groceries and checking,” Mr. Banasik said. “I like to get carts and teach the new courtesy (employees), hey when you walk by a piece of trash, pick it up.”

Training new employees and promoting people into management is an “exciting” part of the job for him. “It’s really neat to find that 16-year-old kid and you can groom them and watch them work their way through high school with you, and they become an assistant manager while they are going to school,” Mr. Banasik said. “That’s what’s rewarding to me, is taking that shy person at their first job and watching them become successful.”

Mr. Banasik was born in Chariton, Iowa, about one hour south of Des Moines. He started his career with Hy-Vee in 1998 in Blue Springs, Mo., stocking lunch meats and cheeses. “You know when you are young and don’t know what to do, I went to heating schooling thinking I wanted to go the tech route. I never thought of a grocery store as a career,” Mr. Banasik said. “The assistant store manager at Blue Springs talked me into staying with Hy-Vee and I should try to go the store director route; it’s a good career. He saw a lot of potential in me and thought I would be a good fit for management.”

“You have to keep your drive; you have to be very driven to make it to this point,” Mr. Banasik said. He said he plans on staying at the store level, saying he is “one of those crazy people who loves retail. “I have reached my goal; this is what I wanted to do,” Mr. Banasik said. “I really love the staff I work with every day and the customers. For me, I just always want to work with the customers directly and employees.” The ability to make decisions at the store level on everything from what items to stock to the specific store specials is something Mr. Banasik also enjoys about the job.