Al and Jill Smith: 30-some years, one company, one career. Until now.


For 17-year-olds getting into the work world today, the chances of starting with a bottom-rung job and ending up on the top of that same company's heap by retirement age are so slim as to be laughable. Will the companies for which our young adults are entry-level jobbing even exist in 38 years? It's unlikely, and makes Al Smith's story even the more amazing. He has worked at Kroger since his very first job at 17; and at the Chillicothe, Ohio Kroger store since age 21, when he started out as produce clerk.

At 55, Al Smith went on the second job interview of his life.

He hopes it will be his last; it scared him "to death." He's retiring from his job as Chillicothe Kroger produce manager, where he had to work weekends, and taking that new job for Empire Foods -- yes, the interview worked out -- setting food in produce departments during the week. He'll be spending his free time in his new career with his two grandkids (Dalton and Langston) and playing golf.