I’ve been saying how much I enjoy working at the bookshop as a part-time job and why I will like it there when I begin full-time, but I don’t think I’ve given a more encompassing view of what it’s like working there at the moment. If you think I’ve painted a very rosy picture of the bookshop, well, I think I’m going to end that now.
I’ve told you that I heard ‘horror’ stories about the bosses. They are the kind of ‘stories’ all new employees will be afraid of. Every weekend I work there, whenever we have a moment to chat, I hear some more until I’ve a collection of horror stories about them now. These ‘stories’ are a big factor in the high turnover of staff at the bookshop; even the bosses admitted to me that many staff here come and go, though they didn’t say it’s their fault, of course. Of all the staff there, there is only one who has worked for over a year with them, and therefore the only one who has received a bonus last year end. (The bookshop is about two years old though, in context.) Having two good bosses in my current job now, I’m certainly a little anxious that I will soon experience the other side of the bookshop bosses, of which I have yet to see since I’m only around during the weekends. That, and I have yet to commit a big mistake to earn their ‘wrath’.
If I’ve said before that my full-time workmates hardly talk to me, here the part-time colleagues talk a lot to me… a little too much, in fact. Now, the talking itself doesn’t bother me too much, because I love listening to what they’ve said. Their chats keep me informed of the current goings-on in the bookshop, the history of the bookshop and I get to know them a little better that way too. What they also like to talk about… is themselves. As in gossip.
You know I like to listen to gossip, being a natural nosy parker. But there is no discretion among them when they gossip. For instance, I’ve got to know that a colleague does not like me, though exactly why I do not know. I also got to know that another colleague thinks that I’m not taking the job seriously on the basis of a joke I made. He obviously did not think my offhand remark was a joke, hence his displeasure. He even mentioned that he considered telling what I said to the bosses. While on one hand, I’m glad I got to know of this because I could reflect on myself and try not to commit these sort of mistakes again, but on the other hand they don’t seem to have loyalty among themselves – the colleagues who did not regard me too highly would probably have no clue my other colleagues told me about what they said of me.
What I thought were things told just to me in confidence – for these were things said about me – were actually told to other colleagues too. And only yesterday I lost my temper when some colleagues laughed at me for making a mistake because I didn’t listen to them. I know it was very childish of me so after I left the shop to cool off, I came back and just pretended it didn’t happen. I could only imagine what they were saying when I stomped off to regain my composure.
I suppose in a way, all the gossip I’ve been hearing is a good indication. One, that they trust me enough to reveal such things, and two, with this knowledge I can do something for myself about it. Knowing that they all tell stories among themselves, I learn not to trust anybody with my personal details and opinions of the people in the bookshop. They can tell me all their secrets and I would never repeat them, but don’t expect me to do the same with mine. Knowing the stories they’ve been saying about me, I can learn from what mistakes they think I’ve committed and try to avoid repeating them.
All the things I’ve heard has made me question if I made the right choice by going to the bookshop full-time soon. Perhaps it would have been better if I stayed there part-time – nobody would take me seriously that way. Perhaps the job description would be a dream but in reality it would be far from so.
Don’t worry, I’m not that scared. And if this suddenly makes the bookshop seem about as bad as my current editor job when I first started out, well, it’s not that bad… (yet?) I really do enjoy being there despite all this. I love to hear what they chat about, even if it’s gossip. I even stayed back after my shift was over once just to hear some more, because the supervisor was in a chatty mood. To me, all this talk is knowledge. It’ll help me prepare in the transition from part-time to full-time there. It’ll help me understand the people better and how I can best approach them. And the staff discount here is unbelievable – I just bought a book yesterday at a price I would not even get if I went to the best book warehouse sale ever.
I think I know where I stand with the bosses. I have not done anything behind their backs that I would have a difficult time explaining my conduct. So, if people want to report my behaviour to the bosses, to jockey positions or what, go ahead. I will listen to whatever they want to say to me, but I do not want to be the one saying them. I want to make nice with them not just because it makes my life easier, but because I do genuinely like and respect some of the people there. I want to avoid making silly mistakes (which I still do time to time) at work, and focus on making my proposed ideas to the bosses to better the bookshop a success.
Then we’ll see if they have anything else to say about me or have any cause to dislike me for seemingly no reason.