A tribute to McNally Robinson Portage Place

I was going to call this entry "New beginnings must be preceded by endings" but as I wrote, I realized the above was a more accurate name.

Did I mention I have a hard time letting go? I'm finding it very hard to accept the fact that I'm no longer a bookseller. The Editorial Assistant gig was great; I learned a lot, was stretched and challenged in my vocation, enjoyed my coworkers and the working environment -- but I'd been there for less than a year and I went into it expecting it to be a shorter term job, a stepping stone in my career path, so the leave taking was not as difficult. The end of my bookselling stint? Not quite as blithe.

I've been a bookseller for 5 years now and it has been a very comfortable place for me. It was there I started working when I returned from Europe, as I readjusted to North America and got used to city life; it kept me financially solvent while pursuing my undergrad; it allowed me the flexibility to work for Elections Manitoba, to go to Quebec one summer, Ukraine another, and to juggle bookselling and newspaper work (which I found to be quite complementary); the bookstore was part of my growing independence, growing perception of adulthood and even a small part of my identity. I was there through 3 different store managers, 2 inventory managers, 4 receivers, 4 magazine persons and 6 events coordinators. It was a defining part of my life for 5 years -- as long a span as I've done anything yet except for junior/high school.

I loved being surrounded by books, being aware of the new releases, the fads, the old favourites and everything in between. I loved knowing exactly what my job was -- where I could contribute best and whom to ask about the things I didn't know. I loved the triumph of having the exact answer to a customer's less than complete enquiry before they'd fully asked it. Finally, what capped it all off and made it fun even when the customers and the fountain were driving me nuts, was that I loved my coworkers -- such an eclectic bunch of people with diverse backgrounds and interests who all worked together so well, enjoying many laughs and many rants together. (I guess the ranting was mostly done by me: thanks, guys, for humouring me.)

And so it was, sniffling and blubbering, laden with book purchases, that I left the store today after my last official full shift. (A regular customer regarded me with alarm and confusion as he beheld my tear-streaked face exiting the store.) Never one to handle change well, I was far too sleep deprived to handle this leave taking dry-eyed. Then my poor brother had to chauffeur sniveling Karla out to the farm, waterworks turning off and on all the way.

Thanks managers, past and present, for not firing me for my abysmal customer service skills. Thanks coworkers, past and present, for being such great people to work with, and for expanding my horizons through your unique personalities and perspectives.


Anonymous said…
Oh Karla. I can sympathise with your
pain. Your description was so apt. It's a fascinating place to work with great, diverse people. I will miss it too, and miss working with you.
Anonymous said…
karla, dear.....you made me tear up just reading that. i will miss you!
Pamela said…
What a lovely tribute!

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