Monday, October 31, 2005

Cubicle vs. Sale Floor

It's been more than a week since my last confession... er, post, and it's likely to be a while before I can post again. The reason for this isnt' that I've got nothing to say or I've lost interest in saying it -- it's that I do not work in a place that is conducive to self-expression in this form.

I lasted a scant ten months in the corporate world (and it was a college publisher, so it wasn't THAT corporate) after I graduated from college, before fleeing back to the world of bookselling, where I'd worked part time as a student. Cubicle life made me weepy and itchy and filled with loathing for self and others, and it was an incredible relief to leave it. But there are two things I do envy the office worker: privacy, and free time. Not to say they don't work hard -- I know many do. But there's a difference between working at your desk to edit a manuscript, and being available to customers every minute of the day. Even if I do have a long-term computer project going, I will drop it at a moment's notice to help someone find the book they're looking for. If there's not a customer at that moment, there's receiving, shelving, sorting, display work, and in my case, keeping an eye on the other sales floor folk to make sure they're being attentive to the customers as well. That's my real job, and I love it. I love the interactions with non-virtual objects and real-time people -- it's one of the million reasons why I'm doing this.

But it does cut in to the blogging time.

I think this is why there are so few bookseller blogs. I'll try to steal a few minutes here and there, or just get up earlier. This is just a disclaimer about the nature of retail, even of the noblest and most fun sort.

2 comments:

Allison Brennan said...

My very first job (other than babysitting, which doesn't count), was in a book store. It was a natural because I loved to read, but I spent most of my money buying the books.

Book Nerd said...

Thanks so much for stopping in, Allison! I know the feeling -- working for a bookstore as a book lover can be kind of like working for the company store -- all your wages go right back into the system. But we usually get a pretty good discount, and since we'd probably buy the books anyway, it's a good deal. Though being around all those books probably means we discover more of them that we long to read... a delightfully frustrating experience we try to replicate with customers. The best thing to hear is the half-annoyed "I can't leave here without buying a book!" Ah well, there are worse things to spend one's money on...