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17 August 2011 @ 11:25 am
Life after Borders  
 To keep up the churn, here's a thread for you to say what you're doing post-Borders - or, if you're still there, what you think you'll be doing.

I think it was in Norm Feuti's (excellent) book "Pretending You Care" that I first heard this: working in retail prepares you ... for more work in retail.  I - and probably others - would be interested in how you escaped this catch-22.  Or didn't.

PS: To our moderator - thanks for showing up, and sorry I questioned your existence, corporeality, interest, etc.  Please continue keeping an eye on the joint!  I mean, I'm an anarchist and all that, but even my old darling Jean-Jacques Rousseau would probably think the Ing-Kay Oll-Tray posts deserve a scrubbin'.
 
 
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous) on August 17th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
Life After Borders
I worked in IT @ Borders for 10 years and I was laid off April 2008.
It was the best thing to ever happen to me.
My spineless boss got the axe the same exact time I did.
How sweet was that?

I had to move a few hours down the road, but I'm making more money now.
My new job has its issues, my boss is always thanking me & telling people about my accomplishments. Sadly, that is something I never had at Borders. Its amazing what a simple Thank You can do for your attitude.

So yes, the grass can be greener on the other side.


(Anonymous) on August 18th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
I was an Inventory Team Member, now I do Inventory for a local agriculture company/distributor and am a manager, and also make more money than I did at Borders. I kinda might have given my identity away, but whatever. Borders failed me, it is failing everyone still working there. Now people have no choice but to "move on". There is better stuff out there. It's all about who you know, not necessarily what you did at Borders.
(Anonymous) on August 18th, 2011 06:59 am (UTC)
I've found another retail management job. Some friends and family think it's not living up to my potential, not making enough money etc. But I'm actually good at this...not just enough to keep a job, but good in that others have told me they compare other places and managers to me and our store. And I find that weirdly satisfying...to make an otherwise much maligned retail job something that my staff actually likes doing and feels proud of. I like being able to create that environment and making it a job these kids will remember as their favorite. Heard a great piece on NPR last weekend about a guy doing that at his amusement park job and totally related. Maybe I'm not ambitious enough, but somebody's gotta do it, and since I like it...why not stick with it.
(Anonymous) on August 19th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Congratulations
You've found something you're good at, that you enjoy, and that benefits society--congratulations. There are many, many, many others out there doing exactly what you are--making themselves happy in their work life. At the end of the day, once you've achieved a certain minimum standard of living, the money doesn't matter as much as your happiness. I'm willing to bet that you are happier and more satisfied with your overall life than many of the Wall Street denziens who hate their life but are selling it for a chance at a condo in Manhatten and a second home somewhere--their lives are big steaming piles of misery that they justify by consuming vastly overpriced stuff to try to feel better and show their "success" to total strangers who really don't care.

There are legions of people out there like you--teachers, machinists, plumbers, electricians, telephone line workers, park rangers, lumberjacks, soldiers, mail carriers...it used to be in this country that having a job that you liked, were good at, and would be proud of succeeding at was the goal. Somewhere that changed and it became all about making as much money as possible. So now we're a nation of stressed, unhappy people who buy all that we can to compensate and find it doesn't make us happy. You've found the better way.
(Anonymous) on August 18th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
Life outside the box
I was stunned when I got the pink slip considering that half the time I worked ten hours a day there. It took a while to get the bitterness off of me and watch the employees who gave two-shits stick around. You then realize you got the pink slip but look closer and it's the gold ticket found in Borders candy bar. I WON I WON. :D
I am now working for a company-no longer are the days of picking up heavy boxes (I have a bad back now) and seeing homeless guys use the restrooms as giant cat litter boxes.
I would say for the rest of the crew I know of-three are back in school,one works for a travel company,one moved up in BN,one works for a publisher, and the trouble maker in our store is happily unemployed living off of unemployment. The rest ran off to the rainbow in search of gold, and I bid them cheer in hopes they save me some.

Don't worry just relax and all works out.

PS King_Troll is obnoxious has been.
(Anonymous) on August 18th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
I have a job as a clerk at a music library now. Still working with books and music, better pay, and no high-pressure sales. I'm thrilled :-)
mananath on August 18th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
I up and quit in Sept 2007. I was so happy when I left even though I had no idea what I was going to do next. I ended up planning a 7 week trip traveling in south america which got extended to 6 months. When I returned to the states I got a job working with a contractor for the US Antarctic Program. I have since spent 30 of the past 36 months living at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. It's not my dream job but the benefits are pretty awesome -- when I am not here I am traveling the world. I basically do what I did at Borders, processing incoming material (inventory), maintaining it and finding/delivering it to the other departments working down here. It's basically retail with a lot fewer customers and no up selling! :)

I never would have ended up down here had I not quit B.
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Wow. That's pretty awesome.
blackblocpapers on August 19th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks to those who have posted. I would really like to encourage more people to post who have found jobs outside the BordersSphere, the RetailSphere, etc. We could use the advice.

PS: Where is the King Troll? I so hoped for his/her intrusion. :(
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
kt is dead
Live journal abuse team suspended his account. :-)
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
you're just an insignificant nothing
Less than nothing and no longer worth any note. Buh bye.
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)
bookstore
After I was parted from Borders in 2009 I started my own bookstore. It's been great, but it's very hard to make a profit, so I never know how long the gig will last. The big perks are this:
1.) Used books - When you get a really cool 1st printing in, that's a great feeling. Probably biggest scores were 1st/1st Interview With the Vampire and 1st/1st Name of the Wind. Also, collecting old hardcovers by authors you don't even read becomes fun, just to have them on the shelf for other people.
2.) New books - Completing any series is actually very gratifying. Like you finally caught up to an ongoing series, and have 1 of every book on the shelf and now you just sit back and replenish. Seems stupid, but when you have every book of an author you normally wouldn't give a crap about, like Lynsay Sands or Sherrilyn Kenyon, it's nice to have customers actually buy something on the shelf instead of special ordering everything (because you initially stocked your store with Thomas Pynchon and Neal Stephenson books).
3.) Out of print - When a new book goes out of print and winds up being worth a lot of money, it's pretty cool. Usually I don't find out until it sells and I go to replenish it. You kick yourself for not staying up on what's in and out of print, but it is a thrill to know that your good taste sent a rare and valuable book into someone's home.

There is a lot of bad also (like being on food stamps){not really, but close}, but overall it's quite awesome and I'm glad I went indie. I still feel like an idiot at ABA and IndieBound events.
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: bookstore
Sounds like a lot of work but very satisfying. Good for you and here's hoping you get a lot of regulars to support you!
Great good luck.
(Anonymous) on August 20th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Pretending You Care by Norm Feuti is a book that every retail employee ought to read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

From books to groceries for me, but I am going to the night shift to stock things. No people, only product. Will be a welcome change of pace after all these years of abuse.
Nichole Pell on August 21st, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
You will all find that you are better off not working at Borders.The only reason I believe we all worked there was our co-workers.Whether you were a book seller, sup. or mg. we had a wonderful time together.I have moved on to a dream job, but I try to stay in touch with everybody.Do the same 'cuz they all matter, both then and now!!!Chin up!!
(Anonymous) on August 22nd, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Not me. I was there to help bolster Mike Edwards' bottom line. :-)
(Anonymous) on August 22nd, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
got a job at a local coffee shop but still sucking borders dry of the hours left available to me. I am tired of the crap from customers. It gets worse everyday, I dont need to be there but I like it (or at least used to). My new job makes me feel like I'm cheating on my Border's family.
(Anonymous) on August 22nd, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Moderator: can you just get rid of this kind of mess?
When people come on here as obvious of KT? Don't let him flood this forum
as Anonymous. The comment above lets you know he's going to make a new account or something else.
book_wench on August 23rd, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
My store closed at the end of April, and I'm about to buy a used bookstore. It's a going concern, so I'm pretty optimistic about being able to keep body and soul together. I worked at Borders for 10 years--just fell in love with the job, despite the fact that it was only supposed to be a part-time temporary thing while I was taking care of some personal business, and didn't pay half of what my old job (computers) paid. But I found (as another poster said) that money's not that important when you're happy at work everyday. I can hardly wait to take over the store--I've already been putting in some time there and I love it.

(Anonymous) on August 23rd, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
I wish LJ would let me "like" this post! Good luck to you!
(Anonymous) on August 23rd, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Good idea
Good idea to take over an established one - I started from scratch and it's pretty tough. Although maybe it was better as my stock tends to be more up to date than most used book stores out here.

If you need any advice, let me know. I've been at it for two years now, and it's going pretty well. I sell 70% new books and 30% used.

Website is www.backlistbooks.net and my email is on there. Good luck!
(Anonymous) on August 25th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
YOU'RE WASTING TIME AND CAPITAL!
No physical bookstores are true "going concerns". I ran a co-op bookstore for ten years in Massachusetts and I'm all for encouraging small business, but we can't save used bookstores from pending doom. Even if you do everything right (self-promote, build rapport with publishers and suppliers, and hire the BEST staff, etc...) it'll be closed in two years at best. Do you read the news? In the last fiscal year Amazon's digital book sales have surpassed their printed books for the first time. It's all over for the world of brick-and-mortar, except maybe for the antiquarian market, which will become like a network of museums, catering only to the 'old money' upper class's taste in old things.
(Anonymous) on August 31st, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: YOU'RE WASTING TIME AND CAPITAL!
Counterpoint: Seattle.
(Anonymous) on September 3rd, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
Re: YOU'RE WASTING TIME AND CAPITAL!
Oh please. It's only a matter of time there too.
thepooloftears on August 23rd, 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm dispatching police at a university police department now.

Honestly... the various jobs I did at Borders (cafe seller, book seller, IPT, Office, Training, everythingandyourmom supervisor) completely prepared me for this job.

(Anonymous) on August 23rd, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
I only worked PT at Borders for the past few years and had a regular day-job at a university, but of all the people I knew at my old store, Borders closing has been the kick in the pants they needed. ALL of them have better jobs with better pay and hours. Our old Cafe Sup works a 7-3, M-F barista gig with great pay and benefits, our IPT Sup makes at least twice as much and has a M-F job, with full benefits and 4 weeks of vacation, etc. etc. All these great people finally in jobs they deserve and are happy and much more relaxed. Our GM looks ten years younger! We try to meet up once a month for drinks; it's been great keeping up with the family. My best friends are all from Borders.
(Anonymous) on August 31st, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I loved my job at Borders. I currently hate my job now but luckily I learned a POWERFUL lesson from Borders-Don't stick around and waste time because it might just make you miserable. The biggest lesson I learned was learn when to leave.
it's hard, where I live, to find a decent job. I worry for the future and miss my days at Borders. What can you do but put one foot in front of another and move on. Good luck
(Anonymous) on September 6th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
After my Borders liquidated back in April I was out of a job for about a month. I found a really fantastic job after and am loving life now. I'm dating someone really great and everything. I kind of see the liquidation as a blessing in disguise. I would have stayed there and not had this great job opportunity if it hadn't.

I still miss going to my Borders though. I made a lot of really great friends working there. I'm especially going to miss working the Christmas holidays there. I was in charge of Paperchase and loved every minute of setting up the c-tables and decorating the store.
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