Retail Store Manager
I know now that I shouldn't have doubted myself just because my male predecessors had failed.
When I first became a store manager with Walmart, I ran a small store with less than 100 employees. I liked the store because it offered flexible hours, and it allowed me to work while still taking an active role at home as a wife and mother. The store was even right next to the elementary school where my son attended kindergarten.
After a year, my boss offered me a chance to manage a Walmart 40 miles away. This branch had been a problem store for years. The previous two managers who ran it had not been successful and did not go on to bigger and better things. The distance and the larger size of the store would mean much more of a commitment from me. The new job would be a great challenge, but it wouldn't complement my family life the way my current job did. I told my boss I needed to think about it.
Driving home, my immediate thought was, "No way!" If two men couldn't run this store, what makes me think I could do it while being a wife and mother? I had far less experience than either of the two previous managers. I was flattered that I had been asked but I intended to turn down the job. I didn't think my family could handle me taking this promotion.
I got home and consulted my husband, who I thought would have the same response as I did. But he didn't. He said I should accept the new role, and he offered to do more around the house to help me succeed at it. I called my parents, again hoping that they would talk me out of it. To my shock they also said I should go for it. They said I was exactly what that store needed.
By the end of the weekend I was determined to take the job rather than back out of it. On Monday, I told my boss. He seemed excited. And suddenly, I was too.
I have been at this Walmart for 10 months now. I am proud to say we have transformed from being one of the worst stores in our area to one of the best. I learned that I have a family who want me to succeed -- and who will help me to do so. I also know now that I shouldn't have doubted my own abilities just because my male predecessors had failed. I am a much stronger manager, and person, for taking on this job. I am so happy that I said no to my own doubt -- and yes to a new challenge.
A woman refuses to let her humble beginnings stop her from chasing success.
Director of Education, College Ready In The United States Program, Gates Foundation
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