I work at Walmart.
I am the “People Lead” there.
Admittedly “people lead” is the weirdest title ever created.
By any company.
As a “people lead,” I always feel like I should have a marching band and a baton. Perhaps some candy to toss out.
In actuality, it is nothing quite that exotic.
What a “People Lead” does is hire & onboard associates. I write a schedule for 300 people each week. I perform our basic HR tasks, create all our store’s social media posts, AND try to stir up a little break room fun.
You know…like Wacky Wednesday.
Or National Eat Your Jello Day.
I have lobbied for a margarita machine in the lounge for years, but my manager keeps denying my request. Something about “drinking on the job.”
I keep pointing out that a little tequila would go a long way in boosting associate engagement & morale.
You know what else it promotes?
SOOOO…Instead of Margarita Monday, we’ll be celebrating Tutu Tuesday.
Prior to becoming a People Lead, I was a high school counselor for 20 years. In actuality, the two jobs are quite similar.
Minus the fact that there is not a website dedicated to what people wear at school.
It is a personal goal NOT to be featured on the “People of Walmart” site. However, the other day I showed up at work with my shirt inside out.
How does this happen?
I also recently left the house with a price tag dangling from my armpit.
As previously stated, I found the transition from education into the retail world more fluid than expected.
Minus the “working on the weekends” part.
And the “working in the summer” part.
(Again…a breakroom margarita machine could really compensate for those crazy working hours…and my pasty white legs.)
In all seriousness, I have come to appreciate Walmart and my coworkers. I can proclaim with the utmost conviction that I work with an AMAZING group of people.
Because, despite their lack of enthusiasm for “Tie Dye Thursday,” my fellow Walmart associates work tirelessly.
There is always freight to unload and stock. Bathrooms to clean. Customers to check out. There is A Lot To Do.
And customers can be rude.
(And their peppy people lead can be less than peppy.)
Walmart associates typically do not take fancy vacations or buy brand new cars. With the recent spike in inflation, there is little room for extravagances.
Like many other hourly workers, Walmart associates work hard to provide the necessities for their families. Some of my coworkers have multiple jobs.
One of them recently walked two miles to get to work by her 5 am shift because her car broke down, and public transportation does not run that early in our rural community.
Another associate is living at a homeless shelter.
I have a “lunch bucket” in our breakroom where associates can grab a granola bar or ramen noodles if they forget their lunch.
Or cannot afford one.
Please do not misinterpret this commentary as a jab at Walmart or Big Box America. On the contrary, it is a testament to its dedicated associates.
Who show up every day to ensure that others are able to purchase their basic commodities.
Who willingly assist customers even when their own life may be in disarray.
It is not the cashier’s fault that the lines are long. Nor is the stocker to blame when there is an egg shortage, and the cooler is bare.
Please respect these associates who choose not to call in, but to show up at work and provide a service to their community.
They may even be wearing a tutu…or a cowboy hat…or a Hawaiian shirt because their nutty People Lead is celebrating some obscure calendar day.
Like February 22…
National Margarita Day.
(Cheers to Walmart associates and hourly wage workers everywhere! You rock beyond belief!)
I work at Walmart.