Local Grocery Store’s Happiest Employee

by Tess


Creative Commons License photo credit: Pixel Drip

Our guest today is Karl Staib of Work Happy Now. Karl and I became friends a few months ago. I've never seen anyone as passionate and caring as he is about helping others become happy in their workplace! 

With Karl's insight and wisdom you can change 40 hours of your life per week!

When you do become happier at work it would effect the rest of your waking hours and you sure would sleep better as well. 

Who wouldn't want to accomplish that? 

Taken from Karl's blog:

Enjoy the Process

"Three simple words that will change your working life. Your work happiness belongs in your hands. That’s what Work Happy Now is all about – Helping companies create an environment that helps people enjoy the process of their work."

The Work Happy Now! blog gives tips, advice and stories that help any employee or CEO improve their work environment. Visit Work Happy Now and sign up for his free e-book. Begin changing your state of mind today!I hope you enjoy Karl's wisdom as much as I do!

Local Grocery Store's Happiest Employee

 When you focus on something a lot, the concepts go with you everywhere. I’m so focused on work happiness that every store, contractor and co-worker makes me think about whether I would hire them for my business. 

I was in my local HEB (Grocery store chain in Texas), waiting for my turn to check out. The lady at the check out counter was wearing this big smile. And I mean big. She was scanning the items of a dirty guy who looked homeless. He didn’t smell terrible, but he was definitely down on his luck. 

“How are you today?” the lady asked the dirty guy.

He just mumbled.

“Are you having a tough day?”

“Yeah, I was thrown out of my apartment.”

“Ah, that’s awful. So what are you going to do?”

“I’m staying with family for a little while.”

“Nice to have family.”


I mean this guy was grumpy. He didn’t look like he wanted to talk to anyone, but this lady with a smile and compassion just warmed him up.

Attitude Trumps Skill Every Time 

Her attitude was amazing. 

I thought she was at the beginning of her shift, so I asked her how much longer she had. She told me that her shift was over in an hour. 

I wanted to hire her for my business. 

This woman kept people smiling. She even took the time to compliment the bagger. 

This is why attitude is more important than skill. I wish all companies tested for attitude instead of just looking for how much experience a potential employee had.

Your Attitude

Some days it’s hard to find a positive attitude, but believe me it’s worth looking for. It makes the work more enjoyable and the people around you have more fun. It’s this attitude that spurs the people to add a little pep in their step. 

Next time you are having a rough day at work, ask someone how they are doing, empathize with them and watch how it makes you feel. You’ll love the results. 

How have you used empathy to connect with a co-worker or friend?

Would you hire someone based on attitude even if you had to teach them all the skills to do the job?

Karl Staib writes about unlocking and kicking open the door to working happy at his own blog: Work Happy Now! If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed , follow him on Twitter or read one of his most popular articles, Creating A Project Ritual to Encourage Happiness.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Keith January 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Hello Tess and Karl!

Great choice for a guest poster Tess!!

I am with you all the way!!! How I wish there were a million others with your outlook. I work hard to be that kind of influence on others. Life is so short, why would anyone want to throw away so much of their life by having a negative attitude and mood to match? Well, having been guilty of such an atrocity myself a time or two, I use that experience to help me empathize with people I come in contact with. I know what it’s like to go through tough times so I want to help someone who is suffering. Help them pull out of that tail spin and to see that it isn’t all that bad after all. Showing some compassion to the right person at the right time is life changing…for both parties!

Would I hire someone based on attitude? Absolutely! That would pretty much be number one on the list. Besides, all the skill in the world is useless if they’re owned by an individual with a poor attitude. :-)

Thanks Karl, and you too Tess!
.-= Keith´s last post…A New Beginning =-.


Steve Roesler January 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm


Well, I had to chase you across browser tab-land to Tess’ site today–and it was well worth the trip.

What a terrific story. It’s the end of a loooong day with a client group and you’ve put a smile on my too-tired face with this one. It’s also timely. Am working with an executive who realizes that he hired a high-level person based upon “intelligence” and “skill”. However–as is frequently discovered–the issues of character, maturity, and attitude were never a deliberate consideration. That oversight is turning out to be costly in the short run but has hit home so deeply that future hires will be assessed in a different way.

Keep writing (just tell us where you’ll be!). . .
.-= Steve Roesler´s last post…Leadership: Actually, It Is About You =-.


Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl January 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Wow, Karl. This is an excellent example of how attitude makes all the difference! I can picture the lady you’re describing. It’s people like her who make this world a wonderful place. While I try to share that smile and positive attitude myself, there are definitely times I need it in return. It’s those days I appreciate someone’s smile or kind words even more than usual.

And, yes, I totally think the positive attitude is worth training someone. After all, a genuinely positive person with a sweet smile and compassion is a pretty rare treasure these days!

So glad I stopped by!

.-= Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl´s last post…Putting a Face On Homelessness =-.


Lance January 5, 2010 at 8:58 pm

This is a great story of that intangible that can make all the difference in business success. And it reminds me of an employee at our local gas station. The guy is loads of happiness…and what a pleasant surprise that first morning when I encountered him. In fact, having such a positive experience – I left there feeling extra inspired myself to spread some cheer in the world. And I think that is the real beauty of attitude…it can so easily be passed on to others (good or bad).
.-= Lance´s last post…And The Word Is (2010)… =-.


Patricia January 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Hey one of my favorite reads as a guest today – thank you Tess,
I am reminded of someone I know too by your story Karl…he also works in our local grocery store. Last year he dressed as a Leprechaun and gave out gold coins….full of spirit and you just feel like he is happy to see you….always a twinkle in his eye…
as a matter of fact the store is full of folks who make you feel GREAT…it is huge, but no one is grumpy…I think the PR person must be outstanding to find such good folks….lots of students working their way through college too…and I think they are happy for the good work environment and that the store gives them health insurance and encouragement…

Thanks for sharing


Patty - Why Not Start Now? January 6, 2010 at 12:34 am

Hi Tess and Karl – Inspiring story. And timely. You probably saw the survey that was just released: only 45% of employees say they are happy with their jobs. One of the main reasons? Fewer workers consider their jobs interesting. But attitude can sure go a long way towards making work more interesting, can’t it? I’m also betting that the grocery store creates a culture that encourages people to participate and bring their whole selves to work.
.-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last post…Introducing Meaning Mondays =-.


JACQUI JONES January 6, 2010 at 2:51 am

The story of that lady is inspiring. Regardless of the man’s situation, she found something positive. He had a family and not everyone does. No matter what, there is always something positive to be found if you look with the right eyes. Thanks. Great article.
.-= JACQUI JONES´s last post…You are infinite possibilities =-.


Tess January 6, 2010 at 5:21 am

That’s powerful…if all the skills belong to one with a poor attitude the skills are useless.
It’s so true about sharing compassion with someone. In 1995 someone changed my life with compassion at work! I’ll never forget it.

Steve, thanks for coming over! Yes, maturity, character and attitude are very important. If one doesn’t have them as an adult it’s easier to teach the skills in my opinion. One has to be real motivated to develop the other later in life. It can definitely be done but not unless it happens with a “spiritual” awakening or some other life changing event.

I hope more people interact with compassion and a smile. With that we’ll change the world! Thanks for stopping by.

What does Lori call you, “Lance the Lighthouse” I believe it is. So yes I can see you with your splashy attitude lighting up the workplace and every where else you go, gas stations included.

If this article went viral your grocery store will have a line of people a mile long looking to get in. Wow, how inspiring and what fun that person is…I’m assuming this happens on St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s meet for lunch that day. I want a photo for my blog;)

Yes, bringing your whole self any where will change the atmosphere. You would have a glow that would be noticed. You already have that glow from what I can tell:0 )

Oooohhh I like that, “looking with the right eyes?” I think we could have fun making up some new interviewing questions, don’t you? Karl get on that one!


Stacey Shipman January 6, 2010 at 5:37 am

Companies who will see through the down economy are the ones focused on customer service. Focused on people! We’ve got to bring the focus back to caring for people. Get out of our own way, stop chasing the dollar (all of the time) and remember to care for people. We are not alone in this world, and yet sometimes it appears we walk around with that belief. I love stories like this. In the past few months I’ve made more of an effort to smile and say hello to the folks checking me out in line, smile and say hi to people I pass on the street. It’s actually interesting – people are often surprised by it.

I just love the work you’re doing, Karl…keep it up. Thanks Tess for highlighting Karl!
.-= Stacey Shipman´s last post…Awake to Life, Turkeys and All =-.


Hilary January 6, 2010 at 5:58 am

Hi Tess and Karl .. Happiest Employee – great title and what a great idea for a blog, that employees, CEOs and all can access for ideas to brighten their days.

Attitude – I agree is so important .. just taking that extra few seconds makes all the difference – giving people something: that’s why please and thank you with eye contact are so important: finishing that snippet of communication with an acknowledgement of the other party.

Complementing people, or thanking them = so essential to making them feel wanted and worth something.

I think I’ve jumped ahead a little .. positive attitude and nothing’s too much trouble.

I wish employers would employ people with sense, those who take a pride in their work .. and not just employ people who are not interested because they’re going to cost less.

I’d like to work with people who are positive to life – there’s so much to live for ..and being unhappy is not one of them.

I’ll be over to the blog shortly .. enjoy 2010
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
.-= Hilary´s last post…Three Wise Men – Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh and Chalk =-.


Tess January 6, 2010 at 6:56 am

I got goose bumps when I read your comment. “We’ve got to bring the focus back to caring about people.” Very wise. Clear and to the point. The power to those few words can change the universe. Thanks for adding your clarity.

Eye contact with a please and thank you. It’s simple things that mean the most. There’s so much to live for and unhappiness is not one of them.

Again how awesome are these two lines alone. Let’s go shout it from the rooftops. Sound kind of old school doesn’t it;) I think social media would be faster Karl;)


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now January 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

What grrrrrreat comments so far. Tess, you have a wonderful community hear. I’m so glad you let me guest post. You are too quick to respond to your peeps. You are beating me every time. :)

I liked what Steve had to say. When we hire just on skill and intelligence we are leaving out a big factor in the “will they fit into the company” equation. I like what Zappos does. They offer their new hires $2,000 to leave during their training. So after four weeks of putting in their time with a new hire they will just give them money to leave. Less than 1% of the people actually take it. They realize what a special place it is to work.

I used to have a negative attitude. It’s so easy to find what’s wrong with a situation. After watching my interactions with people I realize that I wasn’t building the relationships that I wanted. By working on my attitude I’ve changed my life. It’s shortly after that I started my blogging career. I thank my lucky stars every day for such a great platform to reach out and help others. In the process I’ve built a positive attitude, my confidence and my skills. It’s been a win-win-win.
.-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…Guest Posting Over at The Bold Life =-.


Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord January 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

Karl, I agree with you 100%. When I was in my last job as a manager and had to hire an assistant, I had my pick of talented professionals. The woman I chose, though, was full of spunk, optimism and a “can do” attitude. I loved her! She turned out to be the best choice and took over for me when I left.

Just today I met with someone new who commented on my positive attitude. It really does shine like the sun when we let it.

Speaking of sunshine, Tess you’ve done it again with an awesome guest blogger! I love Karl’s insights about work happiness, and this story was no exception.
Thanks to you both!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…Funny Cookies =-.


Joy January 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

I love this! Thank you for sharing.
Quite honestly, I was hired for my job at the hospital with not one ounce of applicable education or skill; my boss literally said I can train you to learn what we do, but I cannot train a technically skilled person to have your attitude. Then, when I started work, my co-workers all said they give a few weeks for me to have “an attitude adjustment”. Granted some days are a bit uphill, but I am so glad to be the friendly face/genuine smile for patients and staff alike. It’s been years and my attitude is the same; I am grateful for a job, grateful for the opportunity to learn, and vrey glad to be able to provide joy or comfort to those around me.
I hope lots of people visit your site, Karl, and apply what you share:)
And thank you Tess–you are awesome!


J.D. Meier January 6, 2010 at 11:28 am

Nice write up!

It reminds me of some research in the Likeability Factor. I think the results were …
- likeable competent trumps likeable incompetent
- likeabile incompetent trumps unklikable competent

So unlikability is a liability, and likeability is an asset …
… and likeability is actually a skill.
.-= J.D. Meier´s last post…3 Ways to Know Something =-.


suzen January 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Hi Tess! A fabulous choice for a guest – Karl is amazing. I’m surprised he is not on some corporate coaching circuit – maybe in the future?
And Karl – wonderful story! I had two bosses in my life that hired me based on my enthusiasm to learn and positive vibes. Best jobs I ever had too! I would definitely hire someone perhaps less “qualified” but who stood out because of attitude. Skills are so teachable really, but attitude (having a GOOD one that is) is usually either there or not and golly, how do you teach that? For some it sure doesn’t seem to be easy or a part of their nature.
I have always been one to engage people cheerfully, especially at check outs. If I run into a crabby cashier I consider it my daily mission to get them to smile. One formerly crabby one I sort of “trained” – when she sees me next on line, she now smiles at me! YAY. She might as well, she knows I’m comin’ for her! :)

Thank you both for a wonderful post!
.-= suzen´s last post…The Down Side of Being Good? =-.


Wilma Ham January 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Isn’t it amazing how we are not mindful about our emotional environment at work while we are there for a very big part of our lives.
Are we just at work to earn money? If so we are not better off than slaves, because we too only then work from ‘have to’ rather than coming from ‘choose to’.
I have to say that I am also very grateful for the loving people who mentor my daughter who has just started work in the corporate world.
It is making such a difference how she will receive that world by whom she is working with.
How we are be-ing always makes a difference and we should be more careful about the impact we can make with negativity and we should be more aware of the good we do with a loving attitude.
Great topic Karl and Tess and obviously one dear to my heart and worth taking note of.
Love to you both, Wilma
.-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Only acceptance has you do things differently. =-.


Tess January 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I didn’t know that about Zappos. How do they come up with such cool ideas and an awesome name? BTW, I can’t picture you in a negative way. Are you sure you’re he real Karl?

Who wouldn’t want you for an employee? Yes Karl is a good choice, he’s just what the world needs.


Tess January 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Joy I just came from you site. I love your blog, you and your entire family. It’s no surprise the hospital wanted you. You’re a light where ever you are.

I do think likability is a skill but one you have to want to learn. Many people didn’t have good role models and many still don’t. That’s why we need to all get out there and shine.

I do think we can teach it by example to those who want to learn of course;)
Some will love us for it and others will go crazy to get away from us. Our light is just to bright for some. Please pass the sunglasses.

Love back at you and yeah for your daughter. She’ll be fine, she had a great teacher!


Carla January 7, 2010 at 1:47 am

Attitude definitely makes all the difference in the world. Many times people are hired based on attitude, not education or experience. I was hired to moonlight at a bakery once when I was between jobs BECAUSE the owners liked me when I ate there – they had no clue what type of experience I had; only that I seemed like I would be good with the customers.
.-= Carla´s last post…The Greatest Gift =-.


Jannie Funster-Mistress January 7, 2010 at 5:20 am

H.E.B. ! I shop there a lot! I had no idea Karl was also in Texas. Hi Karl! I’m in Austin.

H.E.B.isvery big on friendliness, it’s part of their training for service with a smile. Good Management. I was not surprised when all the Albertons went out of business here — they just didn’t get that in service the customer is number one. Whenever I went into an Albertsons I felt I was somehow inconvenincing the staff by my mere existence.

A happy company shows happy employees. Chick Filet is another great example of a happy company, and it shows in their generosity and great attitude.

So H.E.B. allows it’s stars to shine. I wish more companies would get the sunshine memo!

Happy day.
.-= Jannie Funster-Mistress´s last post…Wacky! (This’ll Explain A Lot) =-.


Mary Canfield January 7, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi! Jannie & Karl, I live 50 miles east of Austin. I was just in Austin at Central Market yesterday (part of HEB). I was very disappointed that they were out of Southwestern tortillas. I had only stopped for the tortillas. Central Market is the upscale store, and I really can’t afford it. However, the checker cheered me right up; she was so nice. That’s one of the reasons I like going to HEB stores.

This was a great post, Karl! Thanks!


Tess The Bold Life January 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

I love that story! Yum, yum! When we are positive and kind we can go anywhere. Our light shines and people notice. Shine on!

How can you inconvenience anyone with your mere existence. Those people need to get a grip! I love that…the sunshine memo! I’m going to use that;)
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last post…Local Grocery Store’s Happiest Employee =-.


Tess The Bold Life January 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

I’m coming to Austin to check out these stores…maybe you, Jannie, Karl and I can get together for coffee and do a little shopping and a lot of smiling;)
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last post…Local Grocery Store’s Happiest Employee =-.


Erin January 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Loved the story. We all need to be acknowledged. Taking the time to ask a question and then hear someones story is an important contribution we could all easily make. I also think it is valuable to find joy in our day and peace with our work. Some people think work is such a bad thing. It is essential.
.-= Erin´s last post…The Spirit Within Us =-.


vered | blogger for hire January 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

“Would you hire someone based on attitude even if you had to teach them all the skills to do the job?” – absolutely, as long as I knew they were smart and competent and able to learn quickly. Karl, it was good to “see” you here!


Tess January 8, 2010 at 9:34 am

Yes we all have a story and they all need to be heard. No one’s is more important that anothers. Our egos just tell us so. I also agree with finding joy and peace daily at work and home. That’s what makes love grand.

Yes I agree with that they would have to be competent and smart as well. Thanks for stopping by!


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