As we continue to celebrate Careers in Retail Month, our Power of a Job post this week comes from an individual who has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in the retail industry.
Meet Kevin Johnston, general manager of Capital Mall in Olympia, Wash. From his beginnings as a part-time stockman in the Midwest, all the way to his current position, Kevin describes his path in the industry as the American Dream, where opportunities abound. Kevin’s story shows that a career in retail “can be an adventure, if you want it to be.”
In Kevin’s own words, here’s more about his adventure in retail:
You could probably title my career “The American Dream.”
I started as an entry-level, part-time stockman for a large, southern-based retailer. I was fresh out of four years in the Air Force and looking for something to do, so I started working while I was waiting for something better to come along, and fortunately for me, nothing better came along.
I’ve had a very successful career, and it’s due mostly to what the American Dream is: hard work, show up to work every day, and a lot of advancing. I took several promotions and worked in 13 total retail stores over the course of my career, which spanned 25 years with the first retailer. If you’re going to pursue a career in retail, keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll get where you want to go.
From a part-time stockman, I became a department manager after a year, and got an offer to go into management. The retailer I was working with fortunately was experiencing very, very positive growth at the time. After 10 years with this company, I moved to Washington state and opened one of the few stores for this retailer at the time in the state, up in Port Angeles.
Port Angeles was the 13th stop in my retail career in 10 years, and so we decided to sink roots. My kids were small at the time, and we enjoyed the Northwest, we enjoyed the benefits of living in Washington and decided that this was going to be our home. I ran big-box retail stores for 10 years, and then switched careers to another retailer where I had another successful 3½ years.
Looking for a career change after 28 years, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the mall. Now I get the best of retail. Plus, the opportunity to be in property management and be able to see and react to the needs of retailers has been a big benefit for me. I think that things I’ve learned over the years is a big benefit for them as well.
In retail, you can actually do very well for yourself and enjoy an incredible career. I’ve done things that I couldn’t have done and seen things I couldn’t have seen if I had stayed home and worked down the street like so many of my relatives and friends.
Getting out to see the world — it’s really been beneficial to me and to my kids. Retail can be an adventure if you want it to be. So as we celebrate retail month, I would encourage you to visit WARetailCareers.com to see how the retail industry can benefit you.
As partners in Washington’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job. We also work with businesses to help them find employees because we know they are Powered by Jobs.
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