Lessons Learned Working at Barnes and Noble


The pay is only $8/hr., but the lessons I am learning will prove invaluable some day. This week, for instance, I began noticing my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to book sales.

Strengths: Talking to customers, engaging them in fun conversation about the books they are buying. I love books and love people and getting involved with both is exhilerating. I’ve also chatted with a colleague about what she reads and why. She loves Jodie Piccolt because this author, “deals with timely controversial issues…and gives you new great read every March.” I hadn’t thought of how important consistency is to readers. Now I know. I also found that I easily make customers smile and easily offer information about other books they may like, because I enjoy adding a little something to their shopping experience this way.

Weaknesses: I flubbed the hell out of most of my pitches for our new nook boutique, because I’m not completely sold on it myself yet. I also realized I need to master basics before I try a sprint. For instance, just one month into the job, it’s proving to be challenging enough just keeping the line moving and pitching membership cards at an extra $25 a pop to their bill. Ringing up sales, pitching membership cards AND answer the phone AND calling people to pick up their books on hold is too much for now AND getting them to sign reservation slips for our new nook boutique is too much for now. So, today I won’t sweat if I only manage one to three tasks smoothly.




Hello world!


I have been fired so many times it ain’t funny. My last job – making $88,000/year, thank you very much – lasted only three weeks, and the abrupt firing threw me for a loop and back into the job market, which, as you know, is crowded with more than 11 million unemployed people. That’s not including the unemployed and under-employed people who have given up and don’t even show up in the official account anymore.

 I have had many really great jobs and I am sure my divine job is out there some where. Meanwhile, I consider it a blessing that this $8/hour job I landed at Barnes and Noble has already lasted me longer than three weeks. I’ve been there since October 5. I value each hour I get to work there, and already I am beginning to get more out of it than the $8/hr. the company pays – WITHOUT STEALING!

I meet great people, and believe one of them may lead to a new career opportunity. I am learning how retail works, learning sales skills, and finding I would not have picked up on my own.

Here, I will blog about the experience, hoping to hear from many of you whose experiences with unemployment and underemployment has somehow enriched your life in other ways – like saving your sanity.

Today I was off work and had time to reflect on a few things. While eating breakfast I glanced over at my basil plant, and realized something important: just as my basil plant did not shrivel up and die after I plucked a bunch of leaves from it to make pesto, I will not curl in and die just because jobs have been plucked from me. And just like I am watering the basil plant, God will send resources to replenish my bank account and prosper my soul.