A Different Viewpoint

Josie Leavitt -- May 14th, 2014

Flying Pig staffer Darrilyn Peters contributed this one about what it’s like working with us.

Woo hoo! I’m about to give you the lowdown on working at the Flying Pig Bookstore for Josie and Elizabeth. That’s right, Josie said I could just let it rip. Would you trust your staff to do what I’m doing?

First, let’s just stipulate from the outset that these two women love books, love kids, and love this community. I know: don’t we all, you’re thinking. And you know what, you do. I owned my own independent bookstore for 10 years and there is simply nothing else quite like it (not just the truly depressing aspect of calculating your financial return per hour worked).

Now I have the benefits without the financial stress of ownership. Colleagues and customers  keep mentioning books I’ve never heard of and share their enthusiasm with such joy, amazement, gravity or hilarity. And then there are the books that haven’t even been published yet, the ARCs. Publishers, please keep sending them (yes, Josie’s right about skipping all the elaborate packaging!). Just send the book, the great find that you really believe in. And let’s not shift to digital ARCs; my eyes are killing me already. It’s the physical book you pick up and say “what is this?” that matters. I could give you a list of the fabulous ARCs I’ve read over the years. I’ll bet you have some treasured ARCs too.

Then, of course, there is just the sheer zaniness of working at the Flying Pig. Josie is a professional stand-up comedian. This means two things if you work for her. First, you will laugh a great deal and not always at the most appropriate moments. Second, stand-up is a spontaneous art form, one where the artist reads the room and adjusts accordingly. In other words, someone may not be enthralled with long-term planning. Or even short-term planning. This may explain why they hired so many compulsively organized staff members who just happened to have a passion for reading (and a penchant for nagging?). Do all good managers have this kind of hiring intuition?

But even while always working on the run at the Flying Pig, we know there are standards. Elizabeth is a gorgeous writer, an author of marvelous books for children, and a Pied Piper to kids in search of a great book to read. She produces flyers, newsletters, interviews, and documents that make us all proud to work here. Josie does comedy that matters, that helps to heal, that says that we are all in this together.

And they co-own a bookstore, run in their own inimitable styles.  The truth is, it’s hard work but it’s a lot of fun.

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