Positive attitude, Employee engagement

by Edward Henkler on March 10, 2015

The 19-Jan-15 Philadelphia Inquirer included an article that is perfectly aligned with my philosophy. Abe Mandel has been the proprietor of menswear establishments in south Philadelphia since 1968. He’s built a noteworthy brand and reputation over the years but at age 74, he’s ready to slow down. We read about people like Abe all of the time and the story typically ends with a small business shuttered and a number of people unemployed. This is where a tale of employee engagement and positive attitude takes over.

Abe has developed a strategy “to ensure retirement for him won’t mean unemployment for <his employees>. He plans to turn the store over to three loyal, long-term employees. He also plans an orderly transition and will make some of the early tough decisions, including a relocation, so that the new owners won’t immediately face challenges. As one employee said: “He could just pack his bags and leave. It’s very good of him to give us the opportunity to keep the store going and let us make a living. It’s odd that you can find a boss that would leave his business to his employees.” My note: It’s only odd when employers don’t recognize the power of employee engagement.

Abe Mandel - Employee engagement, positive attitude

One of the new owners has worked in Abe’s store for thirty years. Customers would often ask when he was going to get his own store but he kept working hard for Abe. That long term commitment and positive attitude led him to say: “It just goes to show hard work, dedication, and perseverance will pay off in the end.”

It’s a feel-good story which is quite reminiscent of my journey over the last 6 years. Since early retirement from my previous employer, I’ve had a number of close calls and been engaged in several entrepreneurial ventures. Finally, in recent months, it appears that it’s time to write the next chapter of my career. The best part is by staying patient, working very hard, and almost always remaining positive, I will now have a dream job. It’s a wonderful opportunity and my success will make the world more accessible for folks with disabilities. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

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