Dream Job 101: Anything Creative. Specifically. Writer. Photographer. Musician. Huh, wait -- I've done those. And my bank account is still tragic.
Thus, Dream Job Reality Check -- Work in a Bookstore. Get discounts on books. Buy so many books the bank account remains tragic and you are guilty of acts of tsundoku. And while working in a bookstore, pay attention and learn some stuff.
About a month before I quit the bookstore where I worked, they held mandatory training for staff in which they pointed out that staff could be fired for posting about the store online. Since the week previous I'd had the brilliant idea to write an article titled, Ten Things I Learned Working in a Bookstore, I was disappointed.
But I don't work in a bookstore any more (Insert evil laughter here).
I've written the article.
The truth is, I could have come up with many more than ten things learned, but with a word count limit of 1000 for the magazine I intend to target, that was not going to happen. In fact, with an original word count of 2100+, the original ten items (plus the honorary no brainer -- all men are sexier if they are carrying a book) had to be cut in half.
Waste not, want not, say I. Here is the original item number one on my list.
Working in a Bookstore - Positivity.
I have a weaknesses for music, chocolate, and books. There are many other consumer items women are supposed to love which I can resist without batting an eye (shoes, clothes, jewelry), but these three get me every time. Which is why, when not working there, I must stay away. Avoidance of bookstores is step one in resisting temptation. For me, then, once hired I soaked up the atmosphere of our store like a sponge after a rain in the desert.
Fortunately, the atmosphere was positive.
Everywhere I looked at the store was merchandise plastered with positive, life-affirming, inspiring messages. Everywhere else were books to scour for ideas. I spent the entire nine months I worked there positively salivating.
Merchandise sayings included: Do more of what you love; Start where you are; Follow your dreams; and my personal favourite, She designed a life she loved.
I thought about that last saying a lot. A big buzzword in my life the last few years has been balance. How does a person balance the needs of family, work, home maintenance, self-care, finances, pets, and still have time for the pursuit of creative dreams. It's true, Virginia, we have come a long way, but there are days when the trek is pretty much exhausting. What would it mean for me to design a life I loved?
It has meant prioritizing maybe over definitely. Maybe I will sell the novel and it will be the beginning of something (as opposed to taking the higher paying job which definitely would pad the bank account).
It has meant deafening myself to the criticism of others of the more career-minded ilk. You do you, boo. I just gotta be me.
It has meant accepting that maybe the house is a tad rundown in places and when I do sell that novel, I should probably put the funds into my roof.
And it has meant basking in joy, because I am dedicating at least a significant portion of my workweek to dreams, to creativity, to hope. I am motivated. I am excited. I am expectant. I glow on the inside. All because I've chosen to answer and act upon the questions - what kind of life would I love and what am I willing to sacrifice to strive for that life? Now, I am simply going for it. Everyday, the journey is fantastic in new and fulfilling ways.
I've discovered a community of like-minded people, and they get me. I don't need to explain to them that ramen noodles aren't so bad, but working in an office really was. I get it when they just have to tell me about the plot of their latest novel, or how they killed off Johnny. I get it. I live there, too.
Someone else would design a very different life than the one I am building. That's a good thing, because we need doctors and bankers and computer techs, too. But it turns out, I really like this life I am living.
At the bookstore, I discovered it is impossible to walk among positivity all day long and not become empowered and full of hope. In such a state of mind, people bring positivity into the world around them. Positive people are inspired to act. Positivity does not build passivity.
Which is why, I no longer work at a bookstore. Instead, I am working on writing and editing books which may someday fill the bookstore.