At Bob's Red Mill, we're proud to be employee owned, and we employ hundreds of incredible folks in every department, from our Whole Grain Store, to packaging, sales, marketing and—of course—the mill itself. Now we're posting a series of Bob's Red Mill employee-owner interviews and sharing their stories with you! Read on to get to know Linda Mauk, a machine operator who entered the full-time workforce later in life and enthusiastically welcomes new workers to the team.
Bob's Red Mill: How long have you worked here at Bob’s Red Mill?
Linda Mauk: Almost five years. In September it will be five years.
BRM: What made you want to apply for the job?
LM: I had a friend who worked here. This is my first full-time job! Anyway, I had to start supporting myself, that type of thing, and she said I would be perfect here.
BRM: What do you like about working at Bob’s Red Mill?
LM: To me it’s a very physical job. I’m over 50, so I love the fact that it’s a physical workout, and I earn money!
BRM: What are some of the challenges of working here?
LM: Well, some of it is the physical part. And then some of the technical things were a little bit challenging for me, because your line is running, so it’s like the I Love Lucy chocolate factory episode, remember that?
LM: Except there is no chocolate. The line is running and you’re trying to learn all the things, and trying to do that. And to realize everybody makes mistakes! And eventually, you know, learning it.
BRM: Are there any life skills you feel you developed that served you well here at Bob’s?
LM: As far as people skills, yes. I love people, all kinds of people. So it really helped me to deal with certain things. I was a Bible study leader, I led an addictions group for 10 years, so I just love people. And there’s a lot of people here who are new, and so I like welcoming them and making them feel comfortable, and telling them everything I know. That takes about five minutes!
BRM: Are there any new skills you had to develop here?
LM: Definitely the technical side. I’m a very literal person, so people would tell me instructions and I wasn’t getting it, but when I saw it written down, I understood. So I realized something about myself, that I can still learn! I just needed to see it written down, watch someone do it, and then practice. So it’s helped me to have more confidence.
LM: I’m vegan, so I eat everything I love here. Nutritional yeast—when you’re packaging it, it’s not fun, it’s a yellow mess, but I love eating it. And all the different beans and grains. Before I was vegan I wanted to try them, but now when I see some, I try it.
BRM: Was it working here that made you decide to go vegan?
LM: No. My son works here too, at the warehouse, and he’s on the Wellness Committee, so he’s been like my health coach. He and my daughter and I share a house, and one day I was at work and he said, “We’re going vegan!” So I said, “Yes, I’ll do it!” That’s how easy I am. But anyway, I feel so much more energetic.
BRM: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
LM: I have nine grandkids, so I like to spend with them. I use essential oils, so it’s kind of a side business, I like to do that, and meet with friends. I love crafts and things like that. Because our schedule here is a 12-hour shift, so I’ve had to learn, since it’s my first full-time job, but I love it now! I have a lot of free time.
BRM: What kind of crafts?
LM: Knitting. I made for my grandkids these little bunnies, and at Christmastime I made a snowman tower with the presents inside them. After the first one I thought, “This is cute!” And then—“I have to do nine of them?!?” They have other grandparents, so I like to give them something special that I made.
Our thanks to Linda for taking some time to share her story with us! Interested in joining the Bob's Red Mill team? Check out our career opportunities here.