The “School Marm” Moves up the Corporate Ladder Pt. 3

The Timeline of going from Sales Associate to District Manager in only 3 short years with an education degree goes a little something like this:

June 2008: I’m hired as the only lowly sales associate in a store with no management.

July 2008:  I tell my DM (1) at a store visit exactly what I think of her management style, and how I don’t respect her ideas.  I also let her know that I feel that the store is poorly managed and offer some education for her in return I expect termination but instead am offered Assistant Manager.  I have a feeling my husband of the time will not be pleased with this promotion as he feels I already put in too much time at the store, so I turn it down.

August 2008: Our new store location opens and a series of managers witness my take charge attitude as a sales associate, and this time my DM’s assistant offers me Assistant Manager (again no Store Manager), and I accept.  What’s the saying “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than get permission”?

January 2009:  I quit the company due to my chaotic teaching/school/and work schedule, on top of the fact that I’m sick of dealing with the asshole they hired to be my manager over the holidays.  The manager refers to me only as “School Marm“.

May 2009: My husband and I have agreed on divorce and I have decided not to become a teacher, so I return to the asshole to grovel for my job back.  He will hire me under the condition I stay in the back, talk to no customers and no employees can know that I worked there as a manager. (He understandably finds me a threat.)

September 2009: I register for real estate classes and again put in my two weeks so I can travel the country with my friends on a paranormal tour while taking courses online.  The CEO of the company sees my name and tells my DM (2), “If Jessica is quitting, there is something fishy going on with the management of her location, she loves this job.” (This is a new DM that was hired upon the termination of my first DM while I was away and doesn’t even know of my existence.)

October 2009:  I answer a phone call on my personal cell from the new DM to change my schedule to be there that Friday, “I need you to witness the termination of your manager, and then we are giving you manager, isn’t that great?!”  “Okay only if I get training.”  I am surprised that as a retail manager I will be making nearly ten grand less a year than a teacher would.

November 2009:  The company sends the manager of my favorite store location from childhood to help me manage black friday and train me.  It really turns into him re-merchandising my store and telling me “you got this.”

January 2010:  I ask to relocate somewhere further south and tell my DM that I want to be her assistant.

August 2010: I am transferred to manage a store in Houston, TX.  A terrible dead store we opened in a terrible dead mall.  And with the terrible dead mall comes a terrible pay cut from a lack in commission, which puts me in a terrible country shack with no AC or Heat, and a front door that does not shut.  But, at least I’m close to my grandparents who are not doing well health wise.

October 2010: I’m officially promoted to District Assistant, perhaps having done the job for at least six months now unofficially.  Surprised this comes with no pay raise.

April 2011:  I’m told I will have to leave my store, as I’m overpaid for what the location makes.  I ask to be a traveling manager.

May 2011:  The company begins using me as a traveling manager without the title or bump in pay.  To “test me out”.

August 2011: I’m asked to interview for DM.  I decline the offer, I want to be traveling manager.  They offer me traveling manager if I agree to move to Dallas.  I do.

September 2011: I’m interviewed for DM anyway.  When asked if I have any questions I ask, “do I get trained for this position?”  I’m assured that it’s a two week training process where I spend time shadowing two different DM’s for at least a week at a time each. This is a tiny relief.

October 2011:  After a heartbreaking and extremely expensive move that has to be done in two days time since I’ve already been traveling for weeks at a time up to this point I arrive to my first day at the office within 10 hours of pulling into town.  The DSO has made a surprise visit, I assume to give me her expectations since I will be working for all of her DM’s.  I meet her in a small dark office, she sits behind the desk hands clasped.  “I fired a DM this morning, and we couldn’t tell you, but we are giving you her job.  This is your office now.  Your training will be two days with me talking to you and visiting two area stores with you.  I’m sorry it is so brief but we are short on time and we need you now.  I don’t think you are 100% ready for this position so I will not be raising your pay until you prove to me you deserve this.”

I am heart broken but trying not to show it as I head into a meeting with her and the CEO to discuss their expectations of me as a DM.  The CEO states, “My wife asked this morning what if you would be disappointed to not be traveling manager and that possibility had never occurred to me.  I’m so relieved you are happy about it.”  I smile and nod.

The training:

  • the guidelines being read to me (I’m not an auditory learner),
  • no two weeks of shadowing other DM’s (I am a hands-on/kinesthetic learner),

I’ve been told there is little faith I’m actually ready for this by my boss.  I’m not confident in this job, but I do enjoy access to studying the statistics and trends of the entire company.  I believe had the DSO, my direct boss, lived in the same city my confidence would have been greatly improved over time as I would have had access to her more often.

March 2012:  I’ve proven satisfactory to my boss and offered my 5,000 a year raise, finally making what a school teacher makes.  Still feeling absolutely no confidence without the promised in-field training.

One thought on “The “School Marm” Moves up the Corporate Ladder Pt. 3

  1. Oh boy. I worked at Payless during my high school and college years. I enjoyed running the store. I hated dealing with all the retail industry drama. There were so many transfers, moving managers, and even drug deals between employees. Ick. I was happy I was just an associate. I look forward to reading part 4.

    Liked by 1 person

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