April 7, 2010

Not Working 9 to 5

I ruined my feet during my first holiday season at Barnes and Noble; working eight hour shifts six days a week for six weeks in a row was just too much for my middle-aged feet. It took months of physical therapy and $400 orthotics to reach a point where they didn't swell, throb, or otherwise annoy on a constant basis. About seven months after starting PT, I was told I really shouldn't work full shifts anymore, or multiple days in a row; that half shifts were really all my feet could handle, and two or three days in a row, max. Since late last summer, I've cut back dramatically; most shifts are about five hours, and other than a couple of weeks where I worked five days in a row, and one or two days that I worked for six and a half hours, I've been able to keep my feet in check. I can handle a five and a half hour shift, but do better on a straight half-shift of four hours.

Unfortunately, the bookstore prefers to schedule people for full shifts, so I've worked less than I want to because there just aren't all that many half shifts available. Last night, though, was the perfect shift for me, even if I didn't leave until 10:30. I started at 7:00 in the evening and worked three hours as cashier, then helped recovery the store for the next day. I sold seven new/renewal memberships, did some hand-selling (and interested many of those who came in last night to buy Jim Butcher's new hardcover in the upcoming paperback release later this month of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim), and all in all came home in good shape, even after dusting, which puts all of our allergies into over-drive.

When I got home I turned to my husband and said, "You know, I'd work this mini-shift every night if they'd let me." He suggested I let them know, and I plan to, although I've kinda mentioned it before. I don't think it was taken seriously.

I'm sure a lot of booksellers would love to just come in for a few hours and obviously we can't all be accommodated, but I'm not sure all would volunteer to close the store each night because it means giving up family and "going out" time. I work again Friday night - 7 - 11:30 - and I'll mention it to one of the managers. I realize seven shifts is pretty piggie, but five would be great...even four would be fine. We'll see if it's do-able.



Blythe said...

IMHO, one of the big perks of working retail is the flexibility. For every person who wants to work only evenings, there's another who says, "For the love of God, please make sure I'm out of here by five!". Our store has people who are always off by 2, and people who work only evenings. I worked 5-11 for years when my kids were still little.

Now, I pretty much always work 8 hours, but I'm full-time. I also avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes at all costs.

Laurie G said...

It's not so much the evening thing...they already know not to have me come in first thing in the morning as I am less than useless (that's not an exaggeration)...it's that I don't think they can accommodate a 3 1/2 hour shift nightly or almost nightly. ;) Four hours are generally the minimum, and, as I said earlier, there aren't all that many of them. I'll let you know how it works out.