I’m not sure how the interview went. Personality-wise, we seemed to be grooving right along, and we talked for over an hour. If they weren’t interested, they would have cut the discussion off much sooner, right? Yet I’m not confident. At several points in the interview, they asked questions that felt like variations on the same theme: you’re very young, how would you manage a team made up of booksellers older than you?
See, the bookstore is mostly staffed by part-time middle-aged or retired women, and I’m a couple decades out of that range. Most of these women have worked at the store for a long time; the average tenure at the bookstore is eleven years. So I would be a young newbie coming into a group that is very well-established and set in their ways.
I was honest. “I’m not here to rock the boat and turn things over topsy-turvy. If someone has been running book fairs for twenty years and it’s going well, I’m not going to mess around with her system. I have a lot of experience in retail and customer service, but I’ve never worked at your bookstore and I will have a lot to learn. With so many experienced employees, I know I’ll have the best teachers here.
“Besides, your employees stay because they love you and your company. My job is to support the vision and mission of you, the owners, and help it grow, which is the same goal as every other employee. So no, I don’t think we’ll have any problems because we are a team working together toward the same purpose.”
So we’ll see.
They have several other candidates to interview, and then the store owners will be out of town, so I don’t think I will hear back until the first or second week of August. I really hope it works out. The bookstore is nationally-recognized, well-established, and (a nice bonus) only fifteen minutes’ walk from my house.
I would feel badly about leaving Village House of Books, but after averaging two shifts a week in July and only forty hours for the entire month of August, it’s not sustainable to keep working there. I love the store owners there, too, but at the end of the day I have rent to pay and working two jobs is getting to be exhausting.