The People We Surround Ourselves With Matter

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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As I write this, I want nothing more than to go home and crawl into bed. Today has been longer and more exhausting than usual.

I don’t write about my job often, but I did mention how significant the company is when I talked about doing pullups with our chief operating officer a few months back. I consider my full-time job a privilege, and my particular role an honor. With three others, I share the responsibility of leading new hires through the orientation process. We introduce expectations and company culture.

And once a year, we host the company’s biggest and wildest event: the “bag off.” Centered around a series of competitive grocery bagging rounds, the entire company rallies to celebrate our courtesy clerks and at least two of our core values: family and having fun.

Yes, “bag off.” It’s a thing.

The National Grocers Association even hosts a national bag off, where baggers from across the country compete for a first-place prize of $10,000.

For us, there are no expenses spared. The event is always themed and we go all out. A lot of energy, labor, creating, building, designing, painting, and more are invested in making sure this event is second to none. This is the one night of the year that the entire company comes together to eat, dance, scream, and enjoy the lights, cameras, and never-ending action.

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Our company employs a small group that takes the lead on overall building maintenance, construction, and renovations. They do a little bit of everything and stop at nothing to get any job done. They are known as our “Get ‘r Done” team.

My team plans and coordinates the details of the event. But it’s our Get ‘r Done team that builds the props, designs the set, hangs X-wings in the sky, wraps a Ford Explorer to mimic the original “Jurassic Park,” and makes sure the night goes without a hitch. Every year, without fail, they make it a night to remember.

These men inspired me to write this column. In addition to their day-to-day work, they put in about 14 hours to set up and bring the theme of our event to life. At the same time, they were running point for a couple of our stores affected by precautionary power outages across Northern California. Their workloads today were complex, but they got it done while keeping their humor and willingness to help front and center.

For some people, a job is “just a job.” But not this team, not my team, and not most of the people who work with me.

This job is like family. A place where we are free to be ourselves, and challenged to be the best versions of ourselves. And writing a first draft is one thing I can do right now to move closer to being the best version of myself.

Whether I’m at work or sitting at a coffee shop to write, I know that I’m surrounded by people who are constantly looking for ways to outdo themselves. People who strive every day to be the best version of themselves.

I get to work with people who, at least from what I see, avoid making excuses and do whatever it takes to “get ‘r done.” Being around people who value excellence is contagious, and I’m grateful for the ambition, initiative, and extraordinary effort of those around me.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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