So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

At the end of 2019 I got to tick off a teenage dream of mine – I got to work in a bookshop. Yes! Almost 10 years after my work experience in the local bookshop I was offered a 6 week contract over the festive period – woo! So, did it live up to my expectations? What was it like to work over Christmas? Keep reading and all will be revealed…

Being surrounded by books all day every day was wonderful and dangerous.

I spent a fair amount of the money that I earned in the shop on more books. I also go ARCs and trades from other booksellers. Ali wasn’t best pleased that I’m now in need of another bookshelf but he knew who he was moving in with!

Also my mental ‘to buy’ list is even longer.

Regular customers are the best

The absolute best and generally really nice people who loved recommendations, which leads me on to my next point…

Giving recommendations was so much fun

Probably my favourite part of the day, which I got to do a lot. I particularly liked the challenge of someone who had read a lot. I even managed to get a few people to pick up YA books who wouldn’t normally.

Kids still read – a lot

And I love it. One of the departments I helped most with was Kids and Young Adult. So many people say that kids don’t read and I’m here to tell you that they really, really do!

As with anything there are readers and people who prefer other things. There was nothing that warmed my heart more than a kid telling me about their favourite books and what they liked. I also loved the challenge of trying to find books for people who ‘don’t really read’.

Sometimes you will get asked baffling questions or comments and you question the majority of the human race

I once had a friend who was asked if they sold sports equipment…in a bookshop. I also had a lot of people telling me their conspiracy theories about Greta Thunberg. Trying not to react was the haaaaardest thing. So hard.

The people you work with make or break the job

I’ve worked in retail before, from the age of 16 up until I was 19 I had some retail jobs and I didn’t really enjoy them. Some of them I’d go as far as to say I couldn’t stand BUT this was completely different.

As I write this I still talk to a lot of the team, I go in regularly and they all know I miss them like mad. They’re an incredible team of people and I’m pleased that they’re still my friends who I can go and bug and they can’t escape haha!

There are parts of your feet that you don’t know exist until they are throbbing in pain

Oh my goodness my feet. Shout out to Sketchers because before I started wearing them (thanks Nanna!) I was in horrific pain with not just my feet but my ankles and my knees because of Hypermobility.

Even after I started wearing them I would come home at nice and my feet would throb. There were a lot of baths, a lot of painkillers and a lot of wincing.

People can be arseholes for no reason

Most of the customers we had were lovely people, then you got some who treated you like you were stupid or were just generally unpleasant. I had someone shout at me because they hadn’t found the book they wanted and I was daring to go home (literally had my coat on and was getting a lift home). I had another person throw a tantrum because they ordered something too late. Some people were just rude because…people.

It’s a physically tough job

I have so much respect for my friends who work in the shop who do it say in day out. Anyone in retail actually. Physically it’s an incredibly demanding job, mentally it can be too and a lot of people in retail do a lot of work for not a lot of pay.

Would I recommend it?

Mostly, yes I loved my time there. I do think that, in general the people in the store every could and should be treated with more respect because they literally keep the business going! They’re also human which is forgotten.

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

We’ve all seen it, the days of multimillionaires that start a 5am with an intense workout, a mix of strange ingredients in a smoothie, micro meetings and switching their phones off at 7.30pm for meditation throughout the evening before going to bed at 9. But these people are deemed successful so they must be doing something right. Right?

Maybe not. Hear me out.

This way of living, first of all, sounds very boring – it also sounds like something that is steeped in privilege. We can all work on ourselves and develop good habits, eating better, getting more exercise and getting off of our phones – I think everyone could benefit from those. But, most of us have jobs, families, housework, commitments etc. This isn’t me creating excuses but think about it for a second.

A lot of these ultra wealthy people we’re doing all of these things in their 20s, in the start of stages of their career. They were doing whatever they could to get themselves where they wanted to be. Now they have the means they can have the best food, they might even have a cook. They could spend hours in the gym with personal trainers who are specialists. They can run a business with a team behind them.

We see these ideas and schedules a lot. While before it was in magazines (I can’t remember which one had the ‘what’s in a celebrities fridge section but ugh) now it’s on our social media. It puts a new wave of pressure on us to strive to these ideals that are exactly that – ideals.

While I’m obviously not writing from my mansion and private library (I wish) people have called me successful in the past. Most of the time I’ve brushed them off BUT I do know people who in my mind are successful. They have 8 hours of sleep, they do like having a takeaway pizza, they also like going out with friends.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that there is one formulae for success and if we do it then we’ll get the result we want. Life doesn’t work that way so instead why don’t we make the changes we can.

I’m trying to go to the gym twice a week and increase my vegetable intake. Because I have work, friends, family and other parts to my life I’m doing the smaller things to contribute to being a better version of myself and hopefully more successful. Also if I got up at 5am every day I would not be a nice person, or a well person – just saying.

What do you think? Let me know below!

5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.

When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case. 

From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me. 

I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.

Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.

I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.

I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.

Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life

I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.

I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.

I have to look after my own health because other people won’t

In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.

When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.

Resilience

Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.

Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.

There are good people in every company, organisation, etc

Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.

What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!

I’m Starting Again.

Things have been, interesting lately and because of circumstances out of my control, I’m starting again, again. Earlier in the month, I lost my job, which wasn’t the plan. Due to contract changes I was no longer needed and to say it was a shock is an understatement. I was gutted to leave a job that I really enjoyed and people I loved only a few months after getting promoted. So, now, I have a month to find another job and I didn’t expect to be here.

I’ve had a few jobs since leaving uni, contract roles and one that just didn’t work out so it’s not that I haven’t been here before, I have. Despite everything, I’ve actually been feeling pretty positive most of the time, reaching out to contacts on Linkedin, attending interviews etc. At the time of writing I’ve had 2 interviews and have a few more booked in, that’s in a week since being told I no longer had a job. So, it’s looking good. It’s also been the boost I needed to get serious about my own projects and freelancing. My website is in the process of being set up and I’ll enjoy working on that while I’m searching for a full-time job.

I didn’t intend to be starting again, but I’m not seeing it as a bad thing. I learned a lot when I was in my last job, I worked out what I really loved to do and while it was shorter than planned, it was good while it lasted. So, now I have to figure out what’s next but, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I think everything happens for a reason. What exactly that reason is I don’t quite know, but I’m sure it will become apparent.

So, what have I been doing while I’ve been off? House-sitting for my parents, trying to read because my reading this month was abysmal, applying for job, interviewing and just having some time for myself. I was due to take some time off anyway and I guess I got it, haha. Either way, I’m hoping this will be good for me and I can start a new job re-energised and ready to go. Keep your fingers crossed!

Taking a Break!

Hello, hello, hello!

This week I’m doing something that I rarely do and I’m not sure if I’ll achieve…I’m taking a break?! Not from blogging but I’ve booked a week off work to just have some downtime. I’ve only got one day planned and that’s it which feels super weird and that’s not like me.

I’m calling a nerd alert right here but I’m terrible at taking breaks. Even when I was at uni I’d fill up my holidays so that I was doing something all the time whether that was working or doing extra reading etc. I’m a definitely a workaholic and it’s both a blessing and curse. That said, I want to be strict this time and actually give myself time to chill out.

So, I’ve got a stack of books that I’m looking forward to choosing from, my comfy clothes are washed and I have a few empty notebooks that I might see if I feel like writing in. Best of all though, I have Ali at home for the week so we can actually spend some time together.

As a personal thing, I think it’s always been in my mind that I want to feel useful at all times. I want to make sure I’m trying to do my very best and getting ahead of the game. So actually switching off and not stressing and worrying about what’s going on is hard for me.

For tomorrow though, I’m out in Portsmouth taking a wander around the shops with some sea air my Mum, Sister and Grandparents…it slightly helps that there’s a Cadbury shop which is completely my weakness. Fun fact, the HMV at Gunwharf Quays is also the place where I bought Mean Girls for the first time and we all know how that obsession went.

Anyway, I guess this is a rambling post but, why not? Let’s see if I actually stick to chilling out this week!

 

Sunday Seven: Tips for a Good Work/Life Balance

Now, to start this post I’m not claiming I have a perfect balance in my life (does anyone) BUT in the past year, I’ve learned a lot about having boundaries between work and home. If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know that this started a long time before I was working full-time, I’m terrible at switching off. That said, I do have a few tips to make things easier. So, really, this is for any self-confessed workaholic whether you’re a student, working full-time, volunteering or anything!

Work hard, play harder. 

It’s absolutely fine to work hard, it’s a great feeling to achieve, however, you need to play in your own way. That doesn’t mean going out on the town every weekend, it means finding something that you enjoy! For me, it’s a weekend bookathon!

Plan time with your friends and family. 

If you make plans, you have to stick to them. It’s very easy when you’re at home alone or have nothing planned to sit on your laptop and continue working late into the night. By making plans you need to step away and not think about it!

Working late is ok, but not every day. 

Sometimes you have to have a late night, you have things to do. That’s not a bad thing, deadlines happen or things might go wrong. There might even be a period of late nights (I’m looking at you dissertation writers) but you shouldn’t have to do that every single night.

Switch off your work phone/PC. 

Once the working day is done I switch off my work phone and PC. I’m lucky because I can do that, I’m not on call. If you can do that it’s a great way to switch off and have your own time.

Go to bed at a reasonable time! 

There’s nothing worse than trying to get things done with sleep deprivation. Nothing. Worse.

Make sure you take your allocated holiday! 

If you’re reading this from a working perspective most companies are good at telling you to take your holiday, because they recognise you need a break at times. If you’re a student reading this, I know the temptation to work every hour of the university holidays, you still need a break though, just like everyone else!

If you’re struggling, talk to someone.

I’m really lucky that where I work is incredibly open. If you do feel that things are getting a little too much and you’re working every hour of the day, talk to someone. Just one helping hand could make all the difference!

 

Sunday Seven: My Busy Week!

Ever since I got back from Majorca, my life has been so damn busy! To the point where I worried my blog was suffering because I was getting home and just falling asleep. This week, in particular, has been so busy but also a lot of fun, so for something a little different I wanted to share with you a snippet from my super busy week!

 IMG_5489

Wickett 

While I was staying at my Mum’s house sitting, Wickett and I had some quality time and he started to fall asleep in my hand. This was a BIG deal, Wickett hates being picked up, he really doesn’t like it. So for him to cuddle up and let me hold him was huge. I really wanted Ali to see and cuddle him and this week Ali to have the cuddle too!

IMG_5480

Goth lipstick of dreams 

When I was a teenager I wanted to be a full emo/goth but I was never quite brave enough to get black lipstick. I found some for a pound and decided what the hell. Who knows when I’ll wear it (it was to go see the Addams family but it was raining and smudgy). My Dad says this picture makes it look like I’m in a movie, I’m down with that.

IMG_5484

New Harry Potter Pops! 

There are new Funko pops. I may have pre ordered one or two…oops.

IMG_5492

Dinner with friends 

Ali works most weekends in the summer, which means organising going out with friends can be difficult. We finally managed to lock down an evening where the four of us could go to dinner at a local pub. Look at this dessert though. Nom.

IMG_5495

Sonia’s leaving tea party

I’m going to be taking over from a lovely lady called Sonia while she is on maternity leave. We had an absolutely adorable tea party for her on Friday with cakes, biscuits and tea. It was all so adorable and tasted so good. I think the whole office was on a sugar crash at the end of the day.

IMG_5512

My first work night out 

That evening I went for my first Indian! I know, I’m 22 years old and have never had an Indian. I had the best time chatting, eating and drinking with my new colleagues. I also had the first glass of wine I’ve ever really enjoyed. New woman, right here.

 

IMG_5520

The Addams Family Musical! 

Abbie and I went to Southampton for her birthday surprise! I’ve had these tickets for MONTHS and it was so hard not telling her, I almost burst on her birthday last week because I was so excited. I’m a huge fan of Carrie Hope Fletcher who played Wednesday Addams, she didn’t disappoint!

 

I wish I could say this week was going to be a slower one, but I’d be wrong with dinners, writing and Pride! Here’s to a busy summer!