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Stories

I am a former bookseller who was there for twelve years. I loved the job, but left because I was being forced out. I got a not at standards evaluation, followed by two IPs. The accusations came out of nowhere. I had to leave or else I would have been terminated due to poor job performance. SM manufactured things, ASM and MM went along. SM had favorites who could do anything.

I would like to hear from others with similar stories and also from curremt booksellers who are facing the same treatment.

Comments

(Anonymous)
Apr. 24th, 2016 02:17 am (UTC)
Forced out
I worked for the company for 20 years; opened a new store as receiving manager, worked up to assistant manager, was recruited to help out a troubled store and helped rebuild it. Then, I got mixed reviews and more and more stressed out. Suddenly, nothing I did was good enough. My attitude started to reflect things, as I became more and more stressed out and began to hate the job. There were outside forces, as well. My partner is physically and psychologically disabled (back issues, coupled with clinical depression). I was stressed at work and stressed at home. I lost my father, she lost her mother, and I lost a close friend to cancer. Nook and membership were all that mattered. It wasn't the same company anymore. It kind of felt like the heart went out of it when Steve Riggio left, with his family issues and death of his daughter. They seemed more and more desperate. My dm seemed to look at my work differently than my previous dm, before I moved. He had gotten me a raise to come to the new store, to meet the higher cost of living, even though it was the same level of job. I know I bear some responsibility for elements in my reviews, as stress did affect me; but, I also felt I was being judged differently from other managers. I was given a needs improvement review, then, the next thing I know, I come back from vacation and am told I'm being given a final warning, with 30 days to improve or I'm out. I had a suspicion that nothing was going to satisfy my dm. I said as much to my store manager, who was trying to support me. He actually tried to put my case to the dm, with ideas we addressed, to see her response. Her reply was pretty much that what we thought as great improvement would be seen as a minor change. It didn't matter, I decided I was going to resign, provided I would be given the same 30 days to look for a new job. It was agreed.

Since that time, I got a new retail management job, at a salary of over $50K and hated every minute of it. I was so stressed out I quit. I was out of work for 3 months and had to take a job with an inventory company just to pay the rent, and they exploited my need. I went through two other retail jobs, before being approached to take a job I had been previously turned down for, at a troubled retail store. I took it, because they met my salary demand, even though my instinct was to view it with suspicion. It's been hell. The employees don't care and put forth no effort. There is no motivating them. The district management is horrible to deal with and the store manager fears being fired with each conversation. I am stressed to the max and hate every moment I am in the store.

For all of the bad, at the end, B&N was a great place to work, for many years, even when I had a bad manager. It actually had a good support structure and put resources into training and developing people. Most retail outlets don't. It paid better than a lot, too. The managers, in my experience, were more professional and genuinely cared about their staff. DMs actually tried to help the stores, not look for scapegoats (well, for the longest time, anyway). Stores felt more like families and teams, not just co-workers.

I'm nearly 50 and seem to be pigeonholed in retail. Attempts to find work outside haven't gone anywhere. I'm either considered overqualified, not successful enough in past job, or they can't see how I have similar experience in the same duties. It's frustrating and depressing. Some days, it's hard to find a reason to just get up and go to work, or even face life. However, I get up and try again. It's all you can do. The alternative is death.

In the end, leaving B&N was probably a good thing, as I had grown to hate it and wasn't doing my best. How much life they still have in them is still up in the air. They are survivors and so am I. I just need to find something that will make me happy, because I certainly haven't found anything that will make me rich. Mostly, I look back at my education and wished I had pursued something that I loved, rather than what I thought I was supposed to do, or had done the same at any other point in my life. I loved books and that made it a dream job for most of my time there. Now, I don't know....
(Anonymous)
Jun. 29th, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
RE: Forced out
Learn from the past but don't live there.

Consider going back to school.

Avoid retail at all cost.

Never stress over a stupid job.

Know that companies that don't have the money will always be looking for ways to get rid of you. Most of the time it has nothing to do with you or how well you are doing but more about cutting cost.

Jobs come and go so don't stress over it. Education last forever!
(Anonymous)
Jul. 22nd, 2016 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: Forced out
I just read your post. I sincerely hope that life is better for you now. The suggestions that follow your post are good ones. Life is too short to stress over a job. I would rather have much less and be content than to be wealthy and miserable. I know how to live on much less. I did it when I was young and found those years some of the happiest in my life. Again, I wish you well....

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