Life After Ripon – Karena Schroeder ’15

Chapter 3: We Made It

[Editor’s Note: Raymond Allen ’15, Karena Schroeder ’15, and Madeline Poullette ’15 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]


I hope the winter months have been treating you all very well. There are so many different activities to do during the snowy weather, from skiing or snowboarding, to ice skating and walking past holiday lights! I hope you are all taking full advantage of how much potential this time of year brings.

Aware of my repetition, I am yet again absolutely astounded by how quickly time has flown since my last update. I am still loving my position at Sam’s Club and very much enjoy watching my team and I continue to improve together. For any of you at all interested in sales figures, my team and I have continued the streak I previously mentioned of a 20 percent or greater monthly sales increase every single month I have held my position. As the fiscal year closes in, we are projected to hit an overall annual increase of 5.9 percent, crushing my very first goal of ending the year at a 5.0 percent overall increase. Finally, as of this week, my department now has moved up two positions within the market, and our small Mankato produce department has officially beat out one of the metropolitan clubs. Folks, I am not kidding you. My team is incredible, absolutely incredible. They have cooperated with every crazy and tedious task I have asked of them, and they continue to help me to improve and learn every aspect of the business. I have learned so much in this position, simply by diving in and figuring things out as I go.

When getting into retail, I never realized how much drama and excitement could be involved day by day. My greatest learning experiences thus far certainly have come from situations that I could not have trained for. A few months back, the Mankato area experienced some awful thunderstorms. I was the only closing manager, and the power went out in the entire store, including the registers, freezers and coolers. Believe it or not, a company this large has not invested in backup generators for that equipment in our club. Another fun fact: when the power goes out, the alarm system triggers itself which means the fire department is at your doorstep very quickly. At one point during the night, I was on three different phone calls at once: one with the home office alarm systems line, one with home office freezer/cooler systems line, and one on my own phone with my boss, all while a fireman was attempting to work with me to get our alarms to turn back off. It was eventful, to say the least. Once again, the entire team came together and saved all the product and helped me handle communicating with everyone, including confused members. We made it.

Another exciting night as the lone closing manager began when the store alarm system started blaring once again. A member decided to run out one of our emergency exit doors with some TVs, throw them in his truck parked just outside of the building and fly off. I immediately called the police, and again, with the help of the team, the police were able to identify the man’s truck and a few weeks later catch the thief. We made it.

Finally, to get a bit more personal, I recently had to make one of those incredibly tough adult decisions that no one wants to make. It really sucked. It was a decision I hated but knew I needed to follow through on. But guess what? I made it. The point is, we all go through things, whether it be a long stretch or a single night. Sometimes life sucks. We may not know how to decide which phone call is most important, whether or not to chase the crazy member out the door (the answer is NO, by the way), or whether or not to make those really awful decisions. The answer is (almost) always to take a chance, dive on in and do it with your chin up. I am figuring out that there are a whole lot of correct answers in life, and as long as you are confident in whatever decision you make and give it some time, I assure you, you will make it.

All the best,

Karena Schroeder ’15

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