Aaron sets up the Zappos interview #177

Aaron sets up the Zappos interview #177

Aaron sets up the Zappos interview

Blog #176 I talked about being transferred to the Target Hayward store opening. In this blog I want to talk about when Aaron sets up the Zappos interview.


After a year of bad mood swings I was done. It had affected my marriage so bad I didn’t even know where that was. Fact was I didn’t have time to think about it, I was working too much. At Nordstrom there was always times that were hard on the marriage, Half yearly twice a year and the Anniversary sale. Mostly because I was working Bell to Bell. When I got home I was exhausted and wasn’t in the mood to hear the problems at home.

Add ten times that stress with this Target job. No exaggeration. It’s one thing to work a lot of hours and just be physically tired but when you have someone swear at you too, it becomes mental as well. This store manager was just mean to people. We’d be walking the store in the morning and if he caught someone just standing around he’d scream “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? GET TO WORK!” It was tough. I certainly wasn’t used to treating people like this and even worse witnessing it as an Asst. Manager.

Interviewing again

After a few discussions with Diane on what to do, I decided to start looking. To her credit she thought I would make a great Store Manager, so can’t fault her for thinking well of me. I just wanted out. I applied at IKEA for a logistics position. Went through 3 interviews and was hopeful something would come of it. They seemed pretty nice over there. Never heard anything after that. Not even the form letter declining you, nothing…

The Gap was also hiring so I applied for a buyer position there and knew some people I worked with at Nordstrom there. They were based in SF so I took BART up to the city and went in the morning for the interview. This was like a Nordstrom Reunion as well, saw a bunch of people I recognized there. My interview person takes me to an office and asks me a few standard questions.

Another senior person comes in and asks me what I liked about Nordstrom. My answer was how we were recognized for our good business and the growth potential was really great. “We don’t celebrate wins here, it makes you complacent” Wow he really said that. One thing was for sure I wasn’t going to work there, even if I got an offer. I understand being aggressive and all that but to not celebrate wins? Who would ever want to work that way.

My third interview was with Shoe Pavilion. They had a nice business there and I knew a few people there as well. Small world retail is. Marty, my friend from Nordstrom was working there and we talked briefly before my interview. It was always nice to chat with Marty. Interview went well but we couldn’t come to terms with the medical requirements which was important for our growing family.

As I was leaving I saw Bob who was Martha’s old RMM. As I remember he wasn’t that nice to her so maybe this is a blessing too. I was looking forward to working with Marty again but had to keep to what I needed for the family’s sake. After these three incidents in interviewing I was getting frustrated with myself. I think I was so miserable that it compounded everything. My interview with Martha and Michael was such an amazing experience. Even the Target interview was positive. Is it me? I started to have a twinge of self-doubt.

I know what I need to do now

After a week of this I decided to call Aaron and see what was going on with Zappos. He said I should talk to Fred. Meanwhile he was going to  set something up and have me come in to meet everyone. Fred calls me the next day. “Third times a charm Mike!” We started talking about how great the business was almost doubling the year before. The benefits they had were also pretty good for a startup company.

He put some things on the table and we ended going back and forth a few times. I wasn’t trying to be difficult but I knew I had to sell this to Diane as well. He assured me things would work out. They needed someone with women’s experience and I knew a lot of vendors I could help bring on as well. Aaron sets up the Zappos interview for the following week.

Meanwhile back at Target, The Store Manager wanted me to work graveyard with the logistics team because the trucks weren’t getting finished 100% at night. They could handle one truck okay but if there was a second truck the store looked pretty rough in the morning. My new hours would be 10PM to 7AM.  It was going to be interesting on how I would pull the interview off next week with no sleep.

I started learning Spanish from a Pimsleur audio tape too since most of the team spoke mostly Spanish. I had taken two years of Spanish in high school so it came back pretty quickly. The first few days was rough getting my sleeping patterns down and the kids had to be quiet in the day time so I could sleep. Lucky for me they had school too.

 I couldn’t  figure out what the issue was with them not finishing on time at first but a double truck was coming in a few days, so I’d get the full story soon enough. I asked the hardlines ETL to help me that night, to give me better insight on the problem so I could find the solution. He agreed, so that made me feel a little better, two sets of eyes at least. I was looking forward to the Zappos interview every passing day…

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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