Walmart Changed My Mind, and Now It’s My Calling
Six years ago, I didn’t think Walmart was the place for me.
It was 2008, and I’d just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. I needed a job, so I was working with a company that specialized in helping military officers transition to civilian life. At a conference, they set up rounds of interviews for all the participants. My lack of interviewing experience made me nervous, and so I was glad to see that my first company was Walmart. Great, I thought – this will be perfect practice for the real thing.
Afterward, I ran into a former West Point classmate. He told me how he loved his current job and what the company stood for. He went on about the variety of opportunity that was available to him, and how as a fellow veteran, his military skills made it so easy to transition. Where did he work? Walmart.
It was an aha moment, but it almost made me sick. The company that I’d just considered my casual dry run was actually my perfect match.
Somehow I got a second interview, and now, I’m a market manager in charge of nine stores in the Atlanta area. Today, I embrace the opportunity to tell people what I believe my company truly is: the great equalizer for anyone who wants a chance to realize the American dream.
Like many people, what I knew about Walmart was based on articles I’d read and a random bad experience in my local store. Today I understand that with more than 4,300 locations in the U.S., all of those can’t be perfect. But still, I believe we don’t always do a great job of telling the larger story – especially about wonderful things like promoting associates and thereby changing lives. Yes, I have a college degree, but at Walmart you can also climb the ranks through pure hard work and experience. Just think: An hourly associate can become a store manager who makes six figures in a handful of years. That can impact the trajectory of an entire family.
Recently I was given the opportunity to tell a portion of my own Walmart story in our new ad campaign, the Real Walmart. There are so many benefits to my job, and I was happy to share just one: bonus pay based on the performance of my stores.
Obviously I’m no longer a skeptic. There have been other companies who’ve tried to dangle a carrot in front of me, and I’ve said, good luck – I love my company. There’s no question that this is the place for me today, and I look forward to being able to help more people grow, learn the business and then watch them pay that forward to others.