Have you ever jumped at an opportunity because you believe it was a wave of the future just to see another opportunity come along soon after going in a different direction? That was me in my early career with Kroger. Completing the training program in just eight weeks, one of the fastest times in which this program was ever completed, I believed I was on the fast track to becoming a store manager. Wrong. I was told by one of my first managers that “it was a dog eat dog world in management”. Everyone seem to be looking out for number one and that was usually themselves. It seemed like when the store had problems, I got the blame and it was usually my fault. The more I strive to improve school conditions and sales the more others were getting the credit for these improvements. So, I was told I was great at getting things done, but not in managing people. I realized that I had now entered the university of Hard Knocks, learning how to be a middle level manager. Pleasing both the people below you and the people above you and getting the desires results of the upper management.
God has a way of helping square pegs fitting in a round hole. An opportunity came open for volunteers to open five new stores using a new management philosophy. This format had as a management team a store manger with each of the department heads acting as department heads and assistant managers. Most assistant mangers at that time did not want this position since to them it was a step down instead of up, but I saw this as an opportunity for me to shine so I volunteer. I took the position as the produce manager. Great results in the first year. However, no talk of promotion and was asked to take on more responsible and take on a failing deli department. I did and soon I received the nickname of Kenmore. The more work you gave him the more he did. In six months, I turned this department around, but still no talk of promotion. Discourage I was about to turn in my resignation to the store manager until the zone manager talked with me. I was told I had a problem with my management skills, I had great results but there was just something about the way I manage that (which no one could pinpoint) that needed to be improved.
So, I was given one more challenge. Grocery and Nonfood had sale issues and poor inventory results, so improve these and I will be considered for a promotion. Well six months later the results came back, and they were better than ever, sales were up and great inventory results, however the promise of a promotion to store manager still looked far distance. Two and a half years so it came time to quit. But God opened a door. Sometimes you are ready to move forward but God still must shape the future. I was a square peg but working in an environment of round holes. So, God had to create a square hole environment for me fit into. My first position as a store manager was a position that few people wanted because it was a small store and required a working store manager. With no assistant manager it required a lot of opening the store in the morning and closing the store up in the evenings. A lot of twelve hours or more a day, and sometime working seven days a week. But I loved having the opportunity of having my own store. So, God prepared a squared hole for this squared peg.
Starting a new job soon Shark tooth hunting with love ones.