12 May 2011

Post 381: Malled

Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail by Caitlin Kelly. ISBN: 9781591843801 (eGalley - published April 14, 2011).

So I applied for a job at a local bookstore. I was called in for an interview and as of writing this blog post (April 30), I am due for a second interview as soon as my background check clears. This will take awhile since I've been out of country in the past ten years, but the manager I spoke with was very positive about hiring me for something.

The whole interview came as a bit of a surprise. In fact I barely had time to get nervous about the interview because I didn't have any time to prepare for it. I applied for the job on a Monday, was called around 10 AM on Wednesday and asked to have the interview at 12:30 PM the same day. I was more freaked out about getting ready for and getting to the interview than I was about screwing it up. I have a much better in-person personality and in some ways my size and bearing make it easier for me to appear confident and in control. Being 5'8" has its advantages, even if I don't have the supermodel slimness to go with it.

I have to admit, I am not looking forward to the idea of working general retail. But a large portion of the work I would be doing is very similar to library work anyway: reader's advisory, looking up books in our catalog, ordering books we don't have on hand, answering phones, and otherwise providing customer service. And, my interviewer assured me that I could move up quickly in the ranks if I could learn the job fast enough and was motivated to do so. The fact that I already have a college education was probably appealing in an area where very few get advanced degrees and those that do prefer not to stay in the area.

I am looking forward to the prospect of working again, even at a measly $7.25 an hour. At the very least I will have fewer expenses living with my mother, and the opportunity to get managerial experience is a big plus. And I can stop looking for work, at least for awhile. I can take a break from the demoralizing, soul crushing thing that is looking for work in a field that is simply not hiring right now. Maybe I won't get promoted, or if I do, maybe it will only be because I'm an educated white woman in an area that still has some very strange ideas about race. I am actually worried about that. But I could do worse for myself than working in a bookstore with a Master's degree in library science. I mean, it's not Walmart, our customers at least have some interest in improving their minds, even if they choose to do so by reading dreck. They are in a bookstore, and when they are done with the dreck, maybe they will come back and get something a little better, and something a little better after that. And maybe I can help with that instead of letting my skills languish. Because no matter how good I've become at blogging (so my friends tell me, at least), it does me no good if I can't transfer that to a work experience.

So retail. It is not the worst thing that could happen to me. And maybe it took nearly two years of unemployment to come to that point, but I have learned that lesson. If you or someone you know is in need of learning that lesson, this book is a much safer way to do so, but by no means do I expect retail to be as fulfilling as the job I truly want. But then, I still have my blog.

My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Free review copy provided by NetGalley.


  1. It could be worse. You could be in....FOOD SERVICE!!

    I hope you get the gig, and I hope you don't spend too much money on books. :)

  2. I don't actually buy very many books. I think it's a hold over from all the moving I've done in my life. Although, the employee discount isn't bad, and they also have a loan program, which is sweeeeet.

  3. I've always wanted to work in a bookstore, but I hate running a cash register. I've always wanted to work in a library, too.

    I'm impressed to see your positive attitude about this. If it helps, I also had a rather meaningless job right out of college before I was able to get work in the field I wanted. I think you're right on track.


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