From Albertville, MN — 11/04/2009
To start, I've worked for Naturalizer/Brown Shoe Company for almost 2 years as a PT sales associate and am currently in the process of finding another job in order to lessen my hours at Naturalizer, or eventually cut them out completely. Reasons are stated below-
Pay: The pay is pretty good for a part-timer, like me. I started at $8/hr and got a $.15 raise after a year. The raise isn't so good, but for the hours I've been working, it's fine. Working as an assistant manager, you don't get paid well at all. The only other competent person I work with only gets $14/hr after working there for 5 years, 35 hours a week.
Respect: When I first started, the team we had was great. We all understood each other and got along and respected one another. It was a fantastic job. Then the manager left, 3 asst managers left, and the last 4 sales associates left- leaving me as the only associate. We are now running from one store manager and 3 asst managers, and me, the one lonely associate. All of the new members we've gotten are from other stores within Brown Shoe Company and, while I'm sure they all have the best intentions, they're not very smart nor efficient. I've grown to loathe coming in to work, as I only get along with the one other person who's been there since I started.
Benefits: Brown Shoe offers benefits for all employees- PT and FT, which is great. But to qualify for health insurance you need to work x-amount of hours per week, and with so few hours to go around, I don't qualify. Even if I did, I couldn't be put under health insurance as it's so expensive that it would eat up nearly 80% of my monthly pay. Dental and vision are both fairly cheap, but with high deductibles and minimal coverage.
Job Security: I have no concerns of getting fired anytime in the near future. At other stores who do more business, it may be different, but at mine, I'm comfortable. As I'm the only part-timer, and only associate (in a 5-employee store), losing one person would create a huge rift in the scheduling. Mass chaos, anyone?
Work/Life Balance: The scheduling is extremely flexible with the right team. The team we had when I started was great, like I said, and requests off were honored. If anybody needed time off or a day didn't work, others would do all they could to compensate and help out. The team we have now, is very different, unfortunately. Requests off are rarely honored, and personally, I can almost never call in to work. There is nobody to fill in for me, since everybody else has such strict schedules that MUST BE ABIDED. The good asst manager was actually forced to go into work for 3 or 4 days straight with a fever of 100+ and confirmed swine flu, because no other managers would come in to fill in. The store manager once told me that she never even looks at the request off calendar- What kind of manager is that?
Career Potential/Growth: None. I've asked multiple times to be considered for an asst manager position, as we badly needed more managers. I'm a fast learner, an extremely hard worker, and always try to go above and beyond the call of duty at work to help out my co-workers. But time and time again, I've been denied, as I don't know enough about the store to be a competent manager- BS, if you ask me.
Location: Great. The mall our store is located in does great business in the spring/summer/fall months. Winter, notsomuch, as it's an outdoor strip mall. But we get a lot of foreign traffic and consistent business.
Co-worker Competence: Hah! None. It's strange that the new team members we've gotten came directly from other Brown Shoe stores as managers, but none of them are willing to help or work.. At all. That says something important about the corporate offices, for sure.
Work Environment: It was great at one point, but no longer. The atmosphere is so tense and uncomfortable, it's unbearable. The customers are usually pretty nice, with the exception of some.
Overall, a pretty good job if you don't mind retail. Alright pay, if you're just a part-timer. All in all, an average job. With the right people, though, it's very fun.