A lot of hours and flexible.
Low Pay and not enough support
Advice to Management
I worked at Big 5 Sporting Goods full-time (More than 10 years)
As a part-timer you’ll find that the managers usually schedule around most of your other obligations. As long as you give them your availability, you ought to have good luck with scheduling. On the job, there is no down time. It is hard on people to "never do good enough". There are no vacations during holidays. So if you want to leave to see your family, you’ll lose your job. This is retail. 25% of the yearly income in generated in only 7 weeks. So don't expect time off during the holidays. You’ll find that the managers come in all types. There are lazy ones, hard workers, tyrants, and saints. Training is lack-luster. You must be sports minded. Most managers would like to give you more training. But they can't with the labor hours handed to them. The pay is awful and the employee discounts are so bad that most staffers use the customer on-line discount program. Big 5 will pay you minimum. Expect daily phone calls asking if you’ll cover a shift for someone else. These stores are run on bare bones labor. If even 1 person goes down sick, they might have to close the store until they get another staffer to come in.
To be considered for a full-time management trainee position, you must play office politics. You will be graded on (1) how well you’re liked, (2) your self-starter skills, and (3) multi-tasking skills. Actually, the list of responsibilities is straight forward. But good luck getting them done. Upper management is interested in (1) sales results, (2) cleanliness, and (3) problem solving. ANY complaint about you that is voiced to the corporate office will weigh against you; regardless of the facts & circumstances; even outright lies weigh against you. In an imperfect world, there will be competing demands on you. For instance, you may have to decide between helping customers or following through on an immediate-action e-mail. You’ll have to pick your battles. At any time, if a manager doesn’t like the battles you’ve decided to win, you’ll be coached. Repeated coachings result in write-ups. 3 of those and you’re fired. The policies from various corporate departments often conflict. Follow one, and you’ll violate another. But it’s deliberately meant to be that way so they can fire you if they want to. You’ll get all legal holidays off paid. But don’t expect to spend time with your family. The day before (and/ or) after the holiday are ones you will be working. The pay for a Mgr Trainee is at the level where people are willing to accept it in anticipation of wonderful career growth. But it’s below industry standards. There is more to do than can be done. It is deliberately designed that way so that if they want you gone, you will be gone. If someone calls in sick and they cannot get anyone else to come in, you are responsible to go in. Most training outlines are years old. If you are sports minded, you'll do well in sales.
To become a 2nd assistant manager you’ll be met with lots of responsibility, mediocre training, and pay below industry standards. The raise is around $83/month before taxes. Your upper managers are not given much time to train you. Oh sure, they can schedule for it. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t get called away to solve a problem every 10 minutes. As a 2nd asst, you will not get holidays off. If a customer complains about you, the typical write-up goes like this, “You allowed yourself to be perceived as un-helpful. Further incidents could result in your termination.” All other facts are ignored. Facts like, a customer tried to use a check that wasn’t theirs. Even if a manager sticks to policy and refuses the check, a complaint will go against the manager. Conflicting policies will get you into trouble often. There are many times that the stores will have only 1 manager on duty.
To become a 1st asst, there is very little training except experience. Most training outlines are years old. A 1st asst manager is a more experienced 2nd assistant. The raise will typically be about $83/month (before taxes). Store Managers usually pile on the work to their 1sts. Although the job responsibilities are listed & assigned depending on if the store is a 3 or 4 manager store, the plain truth of the matter is that responsibilities can just barely be broken-up like that. Their are WAY TOO many instances of corporate & customer demands that force the manager on duty to tackle the problem at hand. 1st assistants are hourly so the company gets unhappy if they work over their weekly hours. But working less than your weekly hour allotment can get you into hot water too.....depending on how the District Supervisor runs things.
To become a Store Manager there is very little training except experience. (Well, that’s the way it was when I became a Store Manager years ago.) This position is where the real problems are thrown at you. Since you are perceived as the decision maker, all customers will blame you for everything that they don’t like. Who so they call when you can't do something? The corporate office, that's who. Let’s say you refuse a check because it’s not theirs and the customer complains. You get the write-up. If there isn’t enough staff to cover the customer load and the customers complain, you get the write-up (the corporate office doesn’t let managers load-up the schedule with labor). If you have the back door open because the fire department is inspecting the sprinkler valves and you’re not standing there, that means you’re not near by the register to ok returns. Let’s say the PA calls you to ok a return. So you run from the backdoor to the register to ok a return. THAT means you’re not standing by that open backdoor anymore. If Loss Prevention spots it, it's another write-up. The conflicting policies will get you into trouble often. There are many times that the stores will have only 1 manager on duty. There is not enough labor to cover all the bases, and too many conflicting responsibilities are heaped on the few managers. Every drama in every staffers’ life that effects the store operation will fall on your shoulders to solve. Expect phone calls at all hours of the day. This is an extremely challenging position and pay is below industry standards. Those who last more than 2 years are worth their weight in gold. (Unless Big 5 can pay someone else $10,000 per year less than you to do the job.)
The ONLY way to combat the un-fair actions is to consult with a lawyer. They will guide you with the correct choice of words (and actions) to deal with the corporate office, supervisors, and conflicting policies. Don’t be afraid to say, “Based on consultation with a lawyer, I refuse to sign this document. It deliberately ignores crucial facts to the totality of the circumstances of this case.” You may be in the right. If you say this, start looking for another job. They can’t fire you for any of this. But your life will get very hard. The corporate culture that the store staff gets to see is, “1. Make sales happen. 2. Don’t get customer complaints. And 3. Don’t rock the boat.”
As a store manager, you are salaried and will not be paid one penny for any hours worked over 45 in a week. You’ll probably have to put in 50+. For an entry level salary of around $40,000, well… you do the math. Store Managers are underpaid for the industry AND for the incredible amount of work they perform and are responsible for. At any level of management, you need to be available 7/24 to respond to store emergencies; like a loss of communication with the alarm system at 2am. Store Managers will NOT be compensated for it. (At least, I wasn’t). Sleep in your car and live with it. (I did too many times to remember.) If you’re also the opening manager that morning, sleep in your work clothes.
To become a district supervisor, your district supervisor must give you wave of his/her magic wand. Also, the regional supervisor must like you. When you were a store manager, your store must have shown positive sales. District Supervisors are like God. Everything they say is gospel. The checks-&-balances against District Supervisors are few and far between. DS’s are basically auditors these days and stick to check lists. DS’s are overworked and dislike ANY added events that take their time. It is AMAZING how many DS’s resign or are fired. Many are away from home several days each week. DS’s write Store Manager reviews and there are no checks-and-balances against what they have to say. DS’s oversee a dozen stores so they are constantly getting bombarded. I was once shown a DS’s e-mail in-box. It had 600+ e-mails. No wonder they have so much turn-over. I never was a DS, so I don’t know anything they didn’t want me to know. But with 17 years as a Store manager, I got to see and hear a metric ton of stuff.
The character of Big 5 has changed over time. The original CEO when I started (Robert Miller) passed away. He really valued his staffers. It was reflected in: (1) the way staffers were able to influence decision making, (2) The corporate honesty that was given to staffers, (3) the incredible effort he made to cover the costs of insurance, (4) the gifts-in-recognition he gave to the staffers, and (5) the added labor he made sure his stores were operating with. I got to meet him and he was a delight. When his son took over, there were a couple of things that happened over time. (1) A reduction in the monthly bonus given to Store Managers. Instead of just telling them that it was going from one-quarter of 1 percent to one-tenth of 1 percent, there was a gargantuan mathematical formula to show us. No one understood it. (2) The employee discount sucks compared to what the customers get. (3) The stock options that were offered to staffers were offered at a higher rate than you could buy from a brokerage. And (4), Good faith, honest, and petty mistakes would NEVER cost a hard-working career staffer their career....EVER! All of these things I have told you are just to mention a few of the things that demonstrate that the character of Big 5 is slipping. There are other red flags. But of all the things that I saw in over 20 years I spent with Big 5, the character of the company slipping away is the one that worried me the most.
1) If having flexible scheduling is what you want, than Big 5 is for you. With weekends being the busiest time for sales, don’t expect your kids to get 2 parents raising them. No vacations during holidays.
2) If you hate your extended family, Big 5 is for you. During the holiday season, managers typically get 4 days off during the entire month of December (and Christmas day is one of them). Big 5 is NOT family friendly.
3) You will get to play with tons of sporting goods, provided that you buy them.
4) You’re on your feet for 8+ hours per day. That’s a fantastic way to walk.
5) You will be pulled in 4 directions at the same time. Yes, some people actually thrive on this.
6) You will be very heavily monitored. There are tons of remotely watched cameras. So if you like being supervised, Big 5 is for you.
7) You have to like problem solving. Why? Because EVERYONE will throw their problems at you. Like the staffer who comes in beaten-up.
8) You MUST like to work hard. Although the law specifically say’s you get breaks, when you talk to the managers in private, the way the company gives-out labor hours, it’s laughable to think that you’ll actually get all your breaks. (More like only 60%) There’s no way to do it without getting customer complaints. On the 1 hand, you’re told that breaks are a legal requirement. On the other hand, good luck getting them.
9) If you don’t want to show compassion to people, Big 5 is for you. Heaven forbid that you should ever show compassion to a staffer. If one shows signs of suicidal tendencies and you let them know help is available, expect a royal chewing-out and documentation for it from the higher-ups. Why? Because now the company must spend MONEY for the labor to follow-up on the staffer to make sure (s)he is not suicidal anymore. That’s right. It’d be better for you to let the poor-soul be at risk for suicide than to offer help. (I'm NOT making this up).
10) You must accept the fact that good faith, honest, and petty mistakes could cost you your career. There is an old saying at Big 5 that was said to me many times. “We are all 1 mistake from being fired.” Therefore, you MUST like holding yourself to unachievable standards.
Take a look at the Big 5 Management recruitment flier. It says, ”Our corporate ladder looks a little different.” and shows a rock climber traversing a cliff, hanging by their finger tips, with no safety harness, all while hanging over a 1,000 foot canyon. Think about that carefully…. very carefully. You will be kept hanging by your finger tips without a safety harness.
This company is ripe for unionization.
So why was I there 20+ years? I enjoy being challenged and I enjoy learning. It takes a very rare and special type of human being to succeed in this company. I was one of them.
It kinda depends on your personal values. Read above review for those items.If I had to pick just 1, it would be having to go baby-sit the store at 2am because the remote-viewing program went down.
Advice to Management
Never let your good career employees go for a good faith judgement error. Corp people only see the negatives included in the employee file.
I have been working at Big 5 Sporting Goods full-time (More than a year)
Expects individuals to think for themselves
Limited Growth Potential
Lacks Investment in Employees
Poor Compensation Packages
I have been working at Big 5 Sporting Goods (More than a year)
Upwards mobility if you ask for it.
Great medical/dental for full timers.
Great way to get manager experience for people that don't know what they want to do yet. Or some one who feels college isn't right for them.
Politics, lots and lots of politics. Depending on what District, store, and such depends a lot how much you will like it. Some Managers lead from the front, others will sit in the office most of the day and do nothing.
Poor outdated dress coded, very strict on men, but very relaxed on women. Expect to dress up like your going to a interview only to lift dusty boxes out of the back.
Advice to Management
Realize this isn't a dictatorship, and you being at the company for 12 years doesn't make all your decisions perfect and flawless. A poor example of a manager really makes your life miserable at these kinds of places.
I have been working at Big 5 Sporting Goods part-time (More than a year)
HAVE to wear office attire
Advice to Management
It's a SPORTING store let employees wear sporty clothing
I have been working at Big 5 Sporting Goods full-time
40 hours every week. Can be fun at times. benefits, thats about it. I have to make it twenty words.Retail so not much different than any other retail.
Low pay, bad scheduling practices, very demanding for compensation, policies are not practical or fair to you on many occasions.
Advice to Management
Pay more, listen to lower management, and show that you care about all employees even after the hiring process and basic corporate speak.
I worked at Big 5 Sporting Goods full-time (More than a year)
great jump off point
slow to hire
slow to fire
Advice to Management
stop skirting healthcare laws and give more employees benefits
I worked at Big 5 Sporting Goods part-time (More than 3 years)
They are flexible with hours if you're a student.
They don't care about their employees. They do something called "evaluations" that is a ranking system on how you've done the past year. If you get a good evaluation you get a 10 cent raise. I worked for the company as a part-time employee while I attended university full-time and I only ever got one 10 cent raise. I was making barely over minimum wage. They forced me to quit because I needed a month off for study abroad. I came back and got another part-time job that was also flexible with my school schedule and they paid starting (before the minimum wage went up) $10 an hour.
I worked at Big 5 Sporting Goods part-time
Great community of people at my particular store. Not a hard job.
Irregular hours, low pay, small chance for advancement.
Advice to Management
Pay your part timers better.
you sell sporting goods so
No help from District/Regional Managers. Corporate office treats retail store employees like trash when you contact them for help.
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