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I stopped working for B&N in 2011 but I still read this blog every once in a while and am wondering why other former employees still read it as well.

I started working at B&N around 2005 and, for the first couple of years, the B&N experience felt positive and special. My store's atmosphere was friendly, customer service was everyone's focus, and my co-workers were like family. Slowly the whole experience of working at B&N changed: managers seemed to be more concerned with metrics (membership goals and Nook sales) than customer service and customer satisfaction and the business of selling books. Employees started to become unhappy with their positions as they saw their co-workers leaving or being fired. I saw two managers get fired and I saw two other managers get demoted within a year. Several co-workers left after managers (who of course were not fired) treated them in very unprofessional and underhanded ways (i.e. speaking disrespectfully to them, cutting hours so they would quit, setting them up to make a mistake so that they could be reprimanded and eventually fired).

Long story short, I have many good memories from my first few years with B&N and many bad memories from which I learned a lot of valuable life lessons. I still read this blog because it reminds me what I learned from going through some really tough times at B&N as well as how many good people are still working for a company I once respected but that I now feel is beyond redemption because of mismanagement and psychopathic managers.

I want to know if other former employees come here for the same or for different reasons.  


( 123 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 14th, 2014 12:10 am (UTC)
I worked for the company from '98 to '10. I was actually in management myself and left because of the hellish hours, although I still enjoyed the job itself quite well. I know I wasn't being picked on because just about everyone else had equally hellish hours but that neglect of life balance (not even...balance, just survival with any hope of sanity or health) was probably a precursor to the bureaucratic drama you hear a lot about in here today.

Sadly this community isn't that active anymore either. Some of the rants are interesting and valid, and some are overwrought, and some of the other posts involve updates and news or memories.

I partly just keep it on my FL in honor of another probably dying legacy that has it's own share of problems--livejournal. They're both floundering, but still with some wonderful and unique qualities, and despite some mixed feelings, I want to support them both!
May. 14th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
I worked as a store manager from 2009-2012 and also left because of the hellish hours. I was being placed in a situation where I had to be an asshole SM, loathed by my employees, and unable to meet impossible goals. Several other managers I knew developed drinking problems, marital problems, or heart attacks because of the jobs demands.

I stop by occasionally to see if B&N is continuing down the same self destructive path. Seems to be so.
May. 14th, 2014 05:26 am (UTC)
I stick around because all the whining and complaining amuses me.
May. 14th, 2014 07:52 am (UTC)
I still work at B&N, but I discovered this LJ from the Borders LJ, and I read that one because I wanted to follow the demise of the company from afar.

I didn't ever check in with my ex-coworkers in real life, but I wanted to read about their experiences, learn more about how businesses fail, and convince myself I was better off without it.

For what it is worth, as bad as B&N might be or as bad as it feels like it is, it's not close to where Borders was with 5 years to go, or how Borders ended up with 1 year to go. On the other hand, B&N sucks, and the economy still sucks, and maybe we all settle for less.
May. 14th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
I only come here to see if Smithback comes to his senses.
May. 14th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
It's like watching a train crash....
May. 15th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
Why? Because they were, and still are, my second family and I still care about what happens to them. It's as simple as that.
May. 15th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
I think most ex employees are shocked to see how far down the drain this company has gone. When I worked at B&N I was getting about 32 hours per week while I was going to college. My question is how do you survive on 15 hour work weeks? Management always treated us poorly but at least we were making a little money. At some point it doesn't seem like it's worth it no matter how much you love books.
May. 15th, 2014 01:23 pm (UTC)
Because I left after 11 years of commitment and did not at all want to, even then. I left because they took my insurance. I still miss the job, 7 months later.
May. 15th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
If you want to keep your job tips:

Never call we listen it's a trap set up by corporate, always be looking for a better job but tell no one, don't gossip or complain on the job, be productive & stop worrying about what you can't control, don't trust anyone that works here, stay in school & get that degree, avoid conversations with DM's they can't be trusted, if hours are cut file for unemployment, save & invest some money, never show anger or stress on the job & always try to look happy, keep to yourself & avoid workplace drama, do whatever management wants & don't rock the boat, give no ideas or suggestions on how to improve anything, know that you max out on raises and will eventually stop getting raises, the longer you work here the more management wants you gone, if hours are reduced look at temp companies to make some money, file for food stamps if hours are reduced, ignore & avoid bad employees that create drama, laugh & have fun this company won't be around forever.
May. 15th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this informative and timely advice! I only wish someone had posted it sooner on this site. We have never heard such sage advice. Wow! You are truly a genius and have studied how we can be better at our careers and enjoy our lives more. You should be a motivational speaker. Write a book! We will all buy it. Start a religion! We will pray to you and your wisdom.... Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The meaning of my life is clear now. Wise one, I owe my happiness to you.....
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2014 04:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 15th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
After spending a while reading the Barnes and Noble Employee Facebook, I'd rather come here. That place is either an insane asylum or an epicenter of apathy. I prefer the anonymous honesty, even if some of it is bitching, at least people can get it out without all of their information readily available.
May. 16th, 2014 01:04 am (UTC)
That Heidi Jiveturkey holds a tight reign on that group. That being said don't she look sexy in that red Clifford suit.

(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2014 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - h3idifairchild - Jul. 6th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - h3idifairchild - Jul. 6th, 2014 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
I worked in the cafe as a barista for a year and a half. It was the best working environment I'd ever had... as long as I never had to help with the bookstore side of things. My Cafe Manager was delightful, cared about her employees AND ALSO about the numbers. She drove us to work harder without talking down to us, threatening us, or utilizing any underhanded tactics. My coworkers weren't all ideal, but we got along very well and played off each other. The regulars were great, even the weird ones. In general, it was a good place to work. I left because the money was just too awful; no matter how good the environment was, I simply couldn't survive on what B&N was willing to pay.

Every time I had to help out on the bookstore side, though, things were tense. I never felt comfortable with the managers - except for one who quit in kind of a going-down-in-flames way and his whole personality changed afterward, and we realized how much stress corporate had him under and how that had changed who he was at work.

The DM was a righteous bitch. I won't even try to sugarcoat that. She would come in and declare we had to move everything. We would do so. Then she would come back a month later and yell at us for moving them, as though it hadn't been her own damn idea in the first place. She nitpicked and critiqued stupid things, while refusing to congratulate or be happy for any goals that WERE met. She was condescending at best and for the most part simply pretended anyone whose level was less than Manager didn't exist, unless she was barking the aforementioned "move this" orders.

My Cafe Manager did her best to shield us from the DM; it's part of the reason the bookstore side was more tense than Cafe. we could just deal with the aftermath, while the poor booksellers were scrambling right in the thick of it.
May. 16th, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
So true on your DM comments. I left for the same reason. Let me guess: San Antonio-Northwoods!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 16th, 2014 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pachakuti - May. 18th, 2014 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jun. 30th, 2014 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 16th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC)
Fuck Cafe. Get a bartender or server job. You will make more money and you already have the skills.
May. 17th, 2014 09:28 am (UTC)
Very few former employees think about B&N after a month or so. I still talk to a former employee from time to time and he said you go through stages. First you are in shock, then grief and finally you beat yourself up for hanging around so long and putting up with the lack of respect. I have about three more weeks then I'm outta here.
May. 20th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks. I just left B&N one week ago, after almost 18 years, and I'm still in shock. I know I quit for good reasons, but I'm still second guessing myself. It's good to know it's all part of the process. The most depressing thing is, for all the complaining about low wages, everything I've applied for so far has paid less than I was making at B&N. I'm also kicking myself for walking away from four weeks of vacation a year! Unfortunately, the DM made it abundantly clear that she wanted me gone. It's heartbreaking really, I loved selling books, I loved my co-workers, and I'd been there long enough to remember when I could say I loved the CEO. Len Riggio built a great company, it's quite tragic to see what the people in charge now have done to destroy it.
May. 17th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
Occasinally visit to remind me of why I quit. Not sorry I did. San antonio & Austin stores are screwed up. Most long time employees have left because of that.
May. 17th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
Marci can't hold a candle to Cathy.

Cathy Lane (SA & Austin DM) has got to be the worst DM the company has ever had. I can't believe she has lasted so long. She cares nothing for her stores or staff. She is only out to save her own job. I've lost count of how many booksellers she has thrown under the bus. (Just ask Northwoods).
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 18th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 19th, 2014 07:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 123 comments — Leave a comment )


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