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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.


Jan. 4th, 2016 06:43 pm (UTC)
Mine wasn't as extreme and dire, but there was indeed a weird 180.

I'd been a keyed bookfloor merchandise manager for several years and got very good reviews. My manager was strong with development and I was starting to take over some ASM stuff (hiring and firing, workload planning and scheduling, and more). I was enjoying it very much. I'm also strong at developing people and the freedom and control at that level was very fulfilling and stimulating. I liked just about everything about the job except the insane schedule. I'd received strong hints/communications that was "on deck" talent map wise, etc.

Then I went on maternity leave. When I came back, it sounded like my role was to pretty much revert back to floor lead type duties. Not only that, but they were encouraging starting from the ground up as far as training and making sure holes/gaps weren't missed.

I'm...not sure it was personal? This was about a year after the floor lead positions were eliminated (did that end up being a permanent thing?) so I guess they needed someone to do that stuff even though we had ones who were being grandfathered...? But while I was okay doing that stuff as part of my dues working my way up it sounded dull and not where I wanted to go career-wise when it came to the future. I
actually really love working directly with the people! I was really enjoying constructing projects, goals, teams, and events. Going back to fighting with a kroy machine sounded maddening (Okay, I know there is a lot more to it than that and I know many people love working in the stacks/on organization but I preferred being out there).

But I do wonder if there was an element of "Well, she ditched us once to have a baby, and even though she's come back and worked hard for a good long stretch of time and has a good work ethic maybe she'll do it again so time to de-prioritize her". Not, like, lawsuit-level discrimination, but I do wonder if there was some of that at play, combined with some other politics.

So I jumped ship. Again, the schedule bullshit clinched it. There seemed to be no effort to work on the super early, super late, split shifts, all-weekend/every-weekends, and more. Some of my friends in retail management at other places work at places that sound worse in some ways but they will have a more regular schedule (only mornings or only nights) or have weekends on rotation. Not at B&N, at least not the three districts I'd worked in over the years. All over the place! The fact I was more luxuriously well-rested on maternity leave with a newborn than I'd been in the previous decade was indeed a wake up call!)

I did dislike it in the sense I "proved them right" in that moms are not reliable as long term advancement prospects, from their point of view. But their loss! I'm now back in management, higher up (a vice president), AND I get to work outside, which I love, AND I have a flexible schedule. Score! But there are things I miss about it sometimes...


Barnes & Noble bookseller breakroom

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