Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Ghost of Jobs Past Part 10

Bookseller at Barnes and Noble

For five years I had the distinct pleasure of working part time as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble.  Hands down, this was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.  It taught me so much:

  1. People LOVE good service.  Barnes and Noble train you well in providing excellent customer service and this one of the reasons they are so successful.  Eye contact, a smile, and “can I help you with anything” go a long way.  A bookseller is trained to take customers directly to the book they want and place it in their hand.  If they can’t find something, they are empowered to do whatever they can to help their customer, even if it meant calling a competitor.  Much of what I learned working for this company still helps me on a daily basis.
  2. To be able to look forward to going to work is a blessing.  I’ve worked some good jobs with great people since, but this was the first place that I enjoyed totally and consistently.  The setting, the product, the whole experience just fit my personality.  If it weren’t for the nights, weekends, and holidays that are an inevitable part of retail, I might still be there.
  3. Working with a lot of like-minded people can be good for awhile.  Most of the people I worked with at Barnes and Noble were quite a bit like me.  We came from similar economic backgrounds, had comparable educational histories, and were pretty similar in a lot of our political beliefs.  It was nice and safe and comforting.
  4. Barnes and Noble was and is a good place to work and they treat their employees fairly.  Eleven years after leaving, I still know many of the people working there, and they still remember me.  Of course, the fact that my husband and I end up there at least twice a month, may have something to do with it, but I can’t think of another place that retains so much of their staff.

The fact that I still knew so many of the employees came in especially handy when my baby girl JB needed a part time Christmas job.  They were willing to take a chance on her, just like they were willing to take a chance on her older sister DR several years earlier because of our relationship built up over the years.  While I am happy for my baby earning a steady check, I’m even happier that she will have the chance to learn how to superior customer service from the best.  I know how well those lessons have served me over the years, and I know that they will serve her equally well.      

The Butcher


  1. No. 2 is especially resonant with me!

    It's so great your girls can enjoy the same excellent work environment and get that solid foundation for success.

  2. You cannot replace a healthy workplace! I have learned that less $ but looking forward to going to work each day = a better quality of life for all! You and your family!

  3. Thank you Scrollwork and Carmenandginger. I know people who've never had the luxury of a "quality of life job". I've been lucky to have more than one and I'm glad I could give my kids that opportunity.