For a while now I have wanted to write about my job at Words Bookstore. I feel I owe it an honorable mention because, no matter how much I complain about it, I absolutely love my job. And really, the bookstore has always been there for me. When I first moved back to New Jersey and had no source of income, it saved me. It became my real home and my coworkers became my family. Many customers have witnessed how fantastically dysfunctional we are- we fight with each other, we complain about each other, we make fun of each other…but we also laugh together, have long personal talks together, and go out for drinks together. I think the most comforting thing for me, and probably for all of us, is that I can truly be myself around them. I can unleash my inner nerd and let it run free without fear of criticism or judgment. I can talk for hours about a single book and I know they will understand exactly what I mean.  It’s very reciprocal because we all have the same goal in mind- to be a great bookstore.

Working at the bookstore has also opened my world up to books I never even knew existed. I’ve come across so many little gems, either by talking to my coworkers and customers, or by browsing the shelves during a lull. If I pick up an unfamiliar book, chances are someone I work with has read it, so I can get an instant review. By the same token, I love giving out book suggestions to people in the store. “Come back and tell me how you liked it,” I always tell them. They usually do.

Speaking of customers, we have some fantastic ones. It’s a great feeling when someone walks in and you can greet them personally. A lot of the time they look at us in shock that we remember their name. But the bookstore is a place where you can slow down and get away from the impersonal world of self-check out and large department stores. I can’t tell you how many times a customer will come in looking for something quick and end up staying for hours just talking to us about books, people, life- anything that’s on their mind. They appreciate that we take the time to make the connection, and we appreciate that they make our time at work that much more interesting.

Although I’m at the bookstore a lot, I rarely get sick of it. And when I do tire of it, I find that after spending some time at home, I start to miss the store. Sometimes I go into work an hour early just because I’m bored at home, or on my days off just to organize some books for a little while. It’s soothing to me, I guess. And I always feel like when I’m not at the store, I’m missing something.

I’m not sure how I will feel when the day comes that I have to leave the store. It will be sad, for sure, but I know that I’ll probably stay friends with my coworkers forever. And of course I’ll always come back and visit, just to say hello…and maybe to organize some books.