Pros: they'll hire anyone, the non-cash benefits are decent, you can learn a lot, if hired full time it's really full time
Cons: they'll fire you just as fast, dependent benefits are expensive, difficult for full-time employee to go to school, there's no such thing as a weekend off
I worked for the Orange Box for almost 7 years. I successfully transferred twice. On my 3rd request for transfer, I was close enough to my destination store to go in, introduce myself, and speak with store management.
At this time I was a department level supervisor.
I requested my transfer in January. As of the beginning of March, I was "officially" put on a 2 week unpaid Leave of Absence (I had used up my vacation time with two recent family deaths- for which I was not offered Family and Medical Leave Act or any other assistance). Sixteen days later, after I had made my 150 mile move, I was called and told that I had to be terminated "voluntarily"- I wasn't offered a part time position (although I asked to be demoted), or any other type of possible arrangement.
After nearly 7 years of excellent service to a company, with numerous awards for Employee of the Month in various categories, with more than a year as a supervisor, I was let go. Because of a breakdown in communication between one store and another, and a lack of caring about the welfare of an associate.
The Home Depot has several programs which purportedly assist their associates in times of need. When my father died last summer, I applied for the Homer Fund. Three weeks after my management team submitted my application, which included required original documents, I finally was able to reach the Fund's help line, who said that they'd never received my package.
The Home Depot, as a whole, is not a bad company to work for. I think that the last year was simply so bad because of a new store manager. It's somewhat difficult – more... to advance- a lot of the Department Supervisors don't want to move up to Assistant Manager. Those who do move up- they are very cut-throat and aggressive. Women seem to do more poorly than men, although that trend is supposedly changing. Women are now offered courses in Leadership that are company-sponsored.
In my experience in three different stores and seven years with The Home Depot, I witnessed a wide range of ethnic diversity in the employee base. However, managerial positions tend to be dominated by white or Hispanic males. I've known very few female managers who succeed. Most burn out in the first five years of their management career. Those who promote to Store Manager (in my experience) are either fired or burn out within the first two years.
In my first year, I was at one store. There were 4 Store managers cycled through the store in that year. Fired, quit, quit due to health, and the last was To Be Determined as I transferred out. I don't recall any female management above Department Supervisor at that store. My 2nd store was a 2 year stint- only one SM, but the Assistant Store Manager rotated through rather rapidly. This SM was a black male, rather young, and very dynamic. The primary Assistant SM s were 3 white males, and one black female from Jamaica. At my last store, I was there for almost 4 years. We had 3 store managers (Female Hispanic, transferred after alleged harrassment scandal. Male Hispanic, termed after alleged ethics scandal. White female, still barely there when I left.) The Assistant SM s were one black male, one Hispanic male, and one Hispanic female.
Just about anyone can get hired, although most hiring seems to be through a temporary-to-permanent-program. The best time to get the job is in early spring. Be prepared to push carts or run a register- that seems to be the A#1 position in which people are hired. If you are a young man, out in the lot you go. Female, any age- onto a register. Older men- you'll be in plumbing or electrical, whether you have the background or not. Be prepared to pass a drug test- they're serious about screening before employment. However, once you're hired, as long as you're not using on the job, and sometimes if you are, you can usually get away with it. Which can be detrimental for the rest of us law-abiding citizens. However, if you break something, be prepared to lose your job if you've been using narcotics.
The medical benefits are decent, though expensive for dependents. Vision and dental are OUTSTANDING. Vacation time accrues for both part and full time associates, at about half the full time rate, for part time employees. The 401k program is pretty good, although a little confusing. The Home Depot does offer a stock purchase program, although you can't invest your 401k directly into The Home Depot stock, and their stock prices have been pretty low for the last 5 years.
The Home Depot says that they support further education with tuition reimbursement, but it has to be directly related to the industry in order for reimbursement. Also, it's incredibly difficult for a full time employee to go to school around a non-set schedule, and full time employees are required to maintain "open availability" in their schedule. So you can close on a Wednesday and work til 11:30 PM and have to be back to work at 5AM to open on Thursday. Or, you can work Tuesday through Saturday (40 hours), then work Sunday through Thursday (another 40 hours)(that's 10 days straight, my friend), and because the pay period starts/ends on Sat/Sun, your 10 day stretch is split between two pay periods, and somehow it's a) legal and b) acceptable. And don't even think of having a weekend off, if you're full time. In 7 years, the only time I had weekends off was when I worked as a clerk in the back, and that's only because my vendors were closed on weekends.
Thanks for reading, I hope that I haven't weighed too negatively against The Home Depot. I loved the WORK that I did- I completely despised the bureaucracy that allowed associates to get lost in the folds, and peoples lives to get stuck in the cracks of the corporate machine. – less