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.

10 Things I’ve Learnt As A Freelancer (So Far)

Last year, I went Freelance and I still stand by that it was one of the best decisions of my life. That said I’ve learnt a lot in a short space of time and why not share it with you all?

If You Want Something, Go And Get It.

Opportunities aren’t handed to me, if I want to do something I have to chase it. Whether that’s by going to networking events, connecting with people I don’t know on Linkedin, sending a tonne of emails to people who have no idea who I am, and most of the time ignore them. It’s all part of getting where you want to be.

You Have To Think Positive

I learned pretty early on that if spend all your time worrying things will fail, they normally will. So, I normally throw myself into things and believe they will work out – doing everything to make that happen.

I have a motivation wall next to my desk and you’ll regularly see me sharing positive posts on Instagram (@chloemetz_ if you want to follow!). Positivity isn’t always easy and there are days when all I want to do is lie in my bed and hide, but, being negative won’t get you where you want to be.

People Will Project Their Fears On To You

I had a lot of people thinking I was insane for going freelance. That I hadn’t thought it through, that I was too young, etc. Later on, after speaking to other freelancers, I realised a lot of people were projecting their fears on to me. They couldn’t imagine themselves doing it, so they didn’t get me wanting to.

You know what’s right for you, so just let it go over your head. Mostly, people say this kind of thing because they care, although you will also encounter people who are just arseholes.

You Need To Get Educated About Your Money

I’ve always been very conscious about money, but this isn’t the way for everyone. When I was working as a full-time employee I knew exactly what I made in a week, a month and how much I paid into taxes. I initially used this as a basis for what I needed to earn as a bare minimum.

That said, I’m not an expert. I’ve had to spend a lot of time looking at taxes and making sure I’m putting enough away to cover them. I also need to look into a self-employed pension – something I’ve been putting off…oops. But if you do splurge a little one month? That’s ok! I’m guilty of this, nobody is perfect.

What’s The Worst That Can Happen Is The Question To Ask Yourself

When I email a business or try to connect with someone on LinkedIn I have to think – what’s the worst that can happen? The worst they can say is no and then what have you lost? Nothing.

Connecting With Others Can Get You Work

For some reason there’s this idea that other people in the same industry are your competition. Actually, connecting with others can be great for work opportunities as well as being great to discuss your industry with people who get it.

Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out, That’s Ok

I’ve had things not work out with clients. There are so many reasons this could happen – they don’t have the budget anymore, you realise that you don’t work well together and everything is a struggle and sometimes they’re just short term.

It’s part and parcel of being a freelancer. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake or the situation changes. These things can be super scary and cause a lot of anxiety. Know that it’s ok to have a bit of a freak-out or be anxious about how things are going to resolve, it’s human.

At Some Point You Will Freak Out – That’s Normal

That feeling of ‘what the hell am I doing, I can’t do this’ is felt by every single freelancer. If they say that they have never felt this way then they are lying. We all do to varying degrees.

Of course, you’re going to freak-out! Sometimes it looks so much easier to just go get a job and know you have the stability, the routine etc. That’s fine, BUT, don’t make any rash decisions. Take a deep breath, have a cup of tea and sleep on it.

No One Knows What They’re Doing

Not even the people who have multi million pound businesses actually know what they’re doing. They might say they do but they’re almost certainly lying. Plus, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for others too.

You do you.

Know Your Worth

It’s hard in the beginning to know exactly what you should be charging. There’s so many different factors. When I started out I literally googled what other people were charging as a daily rate and went from there.

You’ll probably find in the beginning you’re kind of making it up as you go along but as time goes on you get more confident, know what you can offer and what you should charge. It takes time.

Is there anything fellow freelancers would add, or maybe you have questions. Let me know in the comments 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!

Self-Care Update

Recently I wrote about my own self-care slip and you guys were amazing! I know that I’m a workaholic, I love to get things done and achieve as much as a possibly can…so relaxing takes a back seat. BUT, I have a great update for you all, there’s definitely been a change.

In the past week, I’ve started tracking what I’m eating to make sure I’m not over or under eating in line with my emotions. I’ve been filling up with a lot more protein when I can and trying not to binge on chocolate…that’s something I’m working on. I also haven’t weighed myself because I don’t want to get in a negative cycle. I will do it eventually but right now it’s not a priority.

I’ve also started doing Yoga every night! I know, hold fire. I was sceptical at first it’s just stretching, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. I can feel my muscles working and I’ve seen a difference in my stress levels. I look forward to that 20 or so minutes every night where I switch off and try to only focus on Yoga. I still get distracted and fall down at times but it’s a healthy start!

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And, finally, I went and got my hair done after much thought I just want and booked. This time I went to LK Hair in Newbury after wanting to since I started my job as I work with one of the owners. It was amazing. Not only are excellent at their jobs but they’re also the best in the UK, I have no chill.

In short, I hope this lasts. I hope I can be a little kinder to myself and make sure no matter how busy I get I make some time. There’s no doubt I’ll have slip ups but I’m trying and it’s definitely a start.

What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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!

 

Staying positive on the job hunt

As all my regular readers know a few months ago I lost my job, which was a big shock and not at all fun! After securing a temporary contract for a few months, it’s been time to start looking for other roles again, so the job hunt is well underway! We all know that it’s not easy or fun to job hunt, it can be very stressful in certain circumstances which mean motivation can be a struggle, particularly if you’ve had rejections or a bad experience in the past. SO how do you stay positive?

Write out all the good things you’ve done so far 

It’s really easy to get sucked into worry and self-doubt when I’ve been in this situation I try and think of 3 things I achieved in the jobs that I’ve had, it might not be huge but if it’s important to you then remember that!

Remember that rejection is not personal

It’s so tough getting rejections and can feel like it’s only you. There are so many reasons someone might not get a job! It’s so competitive at the moment too!

Talk to other people

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has had a period of job hunting in their lives, don’t be ashamed. Others might be able to give you help and advice!

Be proactive! 

Jobs won’t come to you if you don’t get a job give yourself a little time and keep looking, see if you can boost your skills while you’re looking, it’ all about being proactive!

Change is what I needed.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that last month I lost my job and it was horrible. I felt completely devastated and my confidence took a big hit. I won’t go into specifics but I didn’t know it was going to happen, so I had absolutely no backup plan. At the time I remember Ali saying to me that this could be the best thing that ever happened to me, I scoffed at him. How could that be? At the time I panicking over how I was going to make rent and what the hell I was going to do next.

The thing is, and don’t tell him, but he was right. I’ll be honest and say that I was in a job that didn’t make me happy but I stuck at it and tried to make the best of the situation. While it sucked that I got let go, and at the time it seemed like the world was collapsing, it gave me time to think.

While I was looking I was offered a 3-month contract with a local company, good pay and a new experience. I was nervous but took it and it’s completely changed my outlook on my life and myself. After a month of being there, I feel a lot better. I’m not leaving the house at 7.15am and getting stuck in traffic for an age on the way home. I’m not stressed about everything and I have other people around me who have experience in marketing to help and teach me.

While I know I’m on a contract it could go many ways, I’ve already decided to keep an eye on the company notice board so that I can stay in a place where I’m happy. I never thought that losing my job could be a good thing and it wasn’t at the time but getting to the point that I am now? It was worth it.

Of course, I don’t have it worked out. I still have days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and worry about the future, who doesn’t? But it made me realise that I get to work with a smile on my face and leave with one too, I can have a job where I don’t come home and feel stressed until I go to bed. There will be challenges ahead, I know that but right now I have a good feeling and a positive outlook and that’s really what I needed.