Prayer helped me keep my job

When I was a young father with three children, I started work at a JCPenney store in Montana at the end of October. The first Monday of the following January, the manager asked me if I'd like to become a department manager trainee. I was interested, but I had no experience in merchandising per se—in sales and management, but not merchandising. They said that was not a problem, and that they would give me all the tools I needed and train me.

After I had accepted the job, the manager said, "Well, good. Now that you've accepted, here's your work cut out for you." And he handed me a stack of what were called "assortment plans." These plans had to do with the purchase of seasonal merchandise in January that would arrive in our stores in June; it would be available for sale from July clear through to December. It was crucial that these buys be made in January, and that they be correct, so that the store would have enough merchandise to last the season.

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