Today is my last day as an employee. Not forever, I haven’t won the lottery yet. They keep getting the numbers wrong. In fact in Wednesdays draw there were numbers I hadn’t even heard of?!? Anyway I digress.
My maternity pay ends today, and to be fair to the people I worked with I timed my notice to end at the same time so they can formerly replace me as soon as possible.
So that’s it- tomorrow is the first day that I will officially be a stay at home mum.
I feel a bit sad about leaving my job. I worked at Waterstones and I loved it. As an avid book reader my dream job was always to work in a book shop, and when my middle child was settled at school I was lucky enough to get a part time job at my local branch. I worked three days a week- which I found the perfect amount- leaving time enough for family life too. And I really liked my job.
People like to slate Waterstones, and everyone loves an independent. But as far as I am concerned most branches are staffed by fab people who adore books and are very knowledgeable. Yes, sometimes we are restricted by corporate offers and promotions, but we are still fountains of information and able to find that rare book. The book retail industry, as with much of retail, is struggling to compete with online. I already live in a town without a record shop- I really hope I never live in a town without a book shop.
The people I worked with are bright, many are degree educated, friendly and all are passionate about reading. The pay isn’t great, most of us work with books for the love of them! We held great events too- taking my daughter to meet Jaqueline Wilson being one of my highlights! So use your local bookshop- chain or not- you can’t beat choosing books in a hands-on tactile fashion, and you might get to meet one if your favourite authors and hear them talk about their work. Use the staff too- you would be amazed how little we need to go on to find the book you want- even if you only remember it was set in Africa and has a red cover. True story.
But for me it is time for a break to nurture my little boy. I did consider returning-I found it a tricky decision. One of the things that tipped the balance was that a days child care costs more than my days wage. Shocking.
But what it mostly comes down to is that I want to be there for the firsts. First word, first step and the thousand other small achievements that he will make and I will applaud.
And in a couple of years I will hope that there is an opportunity to return to my world of books!
So thanks to my lovely colleagues, and our great array of regular customers – I have had a ball. Well, mostly!
And here’s to the next chapter-
I wouldn’t want to miss a thing!