Why I chose the JLP

It’s probably not surprising to hear that when all of us fresh faced graduates met one another at the induction event, we all spent a lot of time asking and answering same question: what attracted you to the partnership. What IS surprising, however, is how similar our answers all tended to be. For such a diverse bunch of people, we were really quite predictable in ourvalues. I can’t count the number of times ‘ethics’, ‘quality’ and ‘opportunity’ popped up. The last blog post on this topic by Heather hopefully gave you all a really great idea of the general benefits to being part of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), so I thought I’d share a bit about my personal experience and why I ultimately came to the same conclusion as all the other grads in deciding that it was the right place for me.

So, brief introduction: my name’s Lindsey, I’m Scottish, I studied International Relations at university, I’m on the Waitrose Leadership Graduate Scheme and I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain (I also have a habit of singing outdated songs). As you might expect of an International Relations student, business and the supermarket industry in particular wasn’t really where I thought I’d end up, but believe it or not, the leap isn’t really so huge with the JLP. That’s because the JLP is built on democratic and ethical values which extend across the whole business operation. As Heather explained in her blog post (and as you’ve probably seen in anything anywhere that has ever mentioned the JLP), we’re a co-owned company with the happiness of Partners at our core. If there’s one thing I care about, it’s treating people fairly and if there’s one thing I’m interested in, it’s companies that are already doing just that.

Having worked in New York last summer with the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, I was fairly certain I’d end up in that field. Not simply because it’s something I know and understand, but because it’s something I care deeply about. It matters to me whether people worldwide are valued and respected by their employers. It matters to me how suppliers are treated regardless of their background. It matters to me that we don’t trample on the world we live in and squander away resources. And it matters to me whether or not we do the right thing, be it in business, politics, or even just day to day life. What changed my mind about working in diplomacy or not-for- profit sectors in struggling parts of the world was discovering that all these things matter to the JLP too.

I come from a rural farming town in Scotland and the whole ‘JLP journey’ started when I was speaking to friends of my parents who have worked on farms their whole life. We were discussing the price of milk and how supermarkets have gradually been treating farmers worse and worse over the years. It was a really interesting (if fairly morbid) conversation, but it ended with them saying that situations like this were why we needed more Waitrose supermarkets in the world. Given that I didn’t really know much about Waitrose (branches have only recently started popping up in Scotland), this stood out as ‘something I should know about’ and so I went and did some research and was pretty impressed with what I saw. When I then realised they had a graduate scheme (right around the time I was knee deep in dissertation work in my last year at uni), I knew it was worth a shot. Turns out it was a very lucky shot as I’m now on the scheme having the most fantastic experience and realising it’s not just a bunch of words and facts; the JLP genuinely lives and breathes the principles that first drew me to it every day.

Of course, there are so many other things that attracted me to the partnership, not least of all the immense amount of opportunities we are given and the unparalleled support we get at all stages in our development. As a family girl, moving from Scotland was always going to be a big deal for me, but I knew the partnership would support me. I could honestly go on for days and days about all the wonderful things about the partnership, but I expect there are few people out there who would be willing to read it apart from maybe my mum and that would only be because she doesn’t have a choice. So I’ll not.. This time…Instead I’ll round up. As I mentioned at the start of this post, if there’s anything we’re all the same in across the graduates from this year’s intake, it’s that we all wanted to work for a company that would treat us and others well and a career we could really take control of and enjoy. When you’re thinking about your own future career, it’s so important that you know what drives you. What makes you get up in the morning? What do you really care about? Once you know that, use it to guide your choices. Because I promise, if you do that you’re off to a great start.

Good luck to you all 🙂

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