The early ’80s were really tough for my family. I had two babies and no income. But after I got a job, things started changing for the better.
Back in 1984, I knew I wanted to work for my local Walmart in Pearsall,
Texas, but I was pregnant with my second child at the time. I figured after having
my baby, I would apply for a job. The only downfall was everyone kept telling
me, “You need a GED to get into Walmart.” I didn’t have one, so I held back.
Later, in 1986, I found out that you don’t need a GED to apply. As a matter of fact, the company will help you get a GED. I took a chance and spoke with the store manager. After filling out an application and taking an assessment, I headed to my mom’s house to let her know I used her phone number as my contact.
I will never forget, it was a Wednesday. As I pulled up at my mom’s house, she came outside with a big grin and said, “Walmart just called. They want you there Saturday at 1 o’clock.”
From then on, my life changed every day – it was getting easier. One of the best feelings in the world was being able to write a letter to the food stamp office saying, “Thank you very much, but I don’t need your help anymore.” I could make it by myself. So when outside groups perform media stunts and attempt to speak for me and my fellow associates who work hard every day to build better lives, I find it incredibly offensive.
My first job was as a cashier, and by putting in my part, I’ve worked my way up to assistant manager. I was promoted to customer service manager after just three months on the job at the most. From there, I became a floater to learn more about the store and then moved on to department manager, first over stationery and later to men’s, boys’, girls’ and infants’ apparel. After five years in that position, I became a support manager – a job I enjoyed for the longest time before finally accepting the offer to be an assistant manager.
There have been a lot of obstacles along the way, and a third child, but thanks to my determination and a good company, I didn’t quit.
One of my sons, Mario, is following in my footsteps. He started as a pharmacy cashier at age 16 and moved up from there. Now, nearly 15 years later, he’s an assistant manager, too.
When people ask me about Walmart, I use my life as an example. I didn’t graduate, but you know what, this company believed in me. And after nearly 30 years, I don’t give back any less than I did when I started.
The sky’s the limit, but I believe it’s up to you to want it.
Editor’s Note: This post is an update to this video, where Noemi first shared her story with us.