This month’s featured Employee Spotlight team member is Linda Zabinski, who is currently Arandell’s front desk receptionist. Linda has had what you might call an unconventional path that has led her here.
She went from being a stay-at-home mom to working part and full-time here and there before finally settling with Arandell some time later. She’s now been a member of the A-Team for 13 years and showcased a wide breadth of knowledge and high level performance in the Bindery department before transitioning to the front desk.
Here’s more about Linda and why somewhat losing and then re-gaining passion in her career has led her to where she is today.
What’s your name, job title and department you work in?
My name is Linda Zabinski and I am the receptionist at Arandell’s Wisconsin plant.
Tell us more about your background.
I graduated from Custer High School in 1984 and started at a beauty supply store shortly after that before I started with Arandell. I then became a mom in 1986 and worked on and off for awhile after having three children and raising them on my own.
Fast forward 13 years to March 26th, 2007, when I first started with Arandell. My daughter was working here at the time and told me they were looking for help and that I should apply. I ended up getting a job as an entry level pocket feeder on 2nd shift. I eventually moved to 3rd shift and stayed there for about four years before moving to 1st shift, where I stayed until October 2019. That’s when I applied for (and got) the open receptionist position.
It may seem like an odd switch in jobs, but I was at a point in my career where I knew I wanted something different because I had experienced a personal incident that made me lose my passion. I needed something new to be passionate about after being in one area for such a long time. For a while, I was one of the top trainers on the production floor and I was very passionate about meeting and training new employees. Some of the people I worked with and trained are now having a lot of success in other departments so that’s something I look back fondly on before I began my new position.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities here?
A lot of people think a receptionist’s only responsibility is to sit there and answer phones – heck, I even thought that before I started. But once I really got into it, I started to get pulled into a lot of other little projects when other office team members needed an extra hand. I make sure that our clients and other visitors received a warm welcome as they enter our facility. I order the anniversary and retirement cakes which we do for every employee, and also make the posters and send out the invites so people know it’s going on. Obviously, we receive a lot of mail so I get that prepped to be sent out and hand out any incoming mail as well – which can be a lot more difficult and time-consuming than you might think!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m a talker, so I really enjoy talking to clients and visitors that come into the facility. When they’re waiting for whoever they’re meeting with, I really enjoy asking them questions about where they’re from and what their background is. Sometimes I can pick out where they’re from just from their accents! We will sometimes be in full-blown laughter before whoever they’re meeting comes to get them.
What do you like to do for fun? Any hobbies outside of work?
My husband and I are really big into camping. We traveled to Canada last year and on the way home stopped at a bunch of other locations. It was a two-week vacation, so we had some time to make other stops in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We also take our grandkids camping every year and take certain kids to certain places based on where their favorite spots are.
Do you have a favorite vending machine snack/drink?
I occasionally like Cheetos from the vending machine, but if I see a ham and cheese bagel, I’m getting at least one or two of those. They are definitely my biggest weakness! I am also a Coke-a-holic. I bring a 6 pack of Coke with me to work every Monday which I always hope lasts for the week.
Favorite music to listen to? Favorite band/artist?
I don’t have a favorite type of music. I listen to just about everything.
Favorite TV show or movie of all time?
My all-time favorite show is The Walking Dead. I also have a bunch of guilty pleasure shows like Snapped, Fear Thy Neighbor, Deadly Women, Deadly Couples, etc. I like a lot of those true crime type of shows that tell stories about real people. My all-time favorite movie is Black Hawk down, which I could watch all day every day.
How do you define success?
Success to me is being able to do my best with what I have. Like I said earlier, I had sort of lost myself after a personal incident and needed to pick myself back up. When I wanted to give up, my co-worker Claire pushed me every day to do the best I could in the bindery and never let me do the self-pity thing. She always helped me to work as hard as I could within my limits. Then when I made the move to reception, I felt a real sense of personal success. It feels like I can really be myself and still be professional when needed up front. I would really like to thank HR for taking a chance and having faith in me to be successful at the front desk. Of course, my biggest personal success is in raising my three children and watching them succeed. Success is everyday that I now get to come to work at a position I honestly love doing.