This week, after nine months out of work, I'm back at it. Back, in fact, at what I love the most: bookselling. Back, to be more precise, working for the same company that had issued my paychecks for the previous nearly-sixteen years. When I left I was a general manager, in charge of all the day-to-day operations of a five and a half million dollar bookstore. I returned on Sunday as a bookseller, a job that includes everything fun about the book business but with none of the responsibilities of a manager. The paycheck, of course, is commensurate with the change in status.
It's good to be back. It's wonderful to be touching books every day, seeing what's new, talking to people about what they're reading, making recommendations. But it's odd, after so many years, not to be the boss. Not difficult, just different.
I won't be negative about the source of my income, but I will be nostalgic. Ah, how I miss the days, now long gone, when the only toys in the bookstore were a few plush animals and dolls that related directly to particular children's books. When, within our four walls, there were no bath and body products anywhere to be found. When you could find the entire backlist of authors--Banville, Boll, Borges--on the shelf, in stock, at even the smallest of our stores.
But I have a job. And it's doing what I love. If I have to sell Build-a-Bears too, well, so be it.
4 weeks ago