When Staffers Go Back to School

Josie Leavitt - September 21, 2012

This past summer we had two student staffers. We’ve been without them for almost a month. PJ is up the road at the University of Vermont and David began his junior year of high school. I love having young staffers at the store and I’m finding myself missing them.
PJ, who will ultimately be leaving us next fall when she gets her Master’s in Scotland, isn’t fully leaving us  – she’s just drastically cutting back her hours, from 24 hours a week to eight. This is something we really feel. Her pleasant demeanor and knowledge and love of books make her a real asset to the store. And having great help Fridays and all weekend from her has been a boon all summer. It’s been great to see PJ go from a shy teenager to a confident young woman who loves to talk to customers about books.
I’ll always remember the first day PJ really flew solo, as it were. It was her first Christmas season with us and I asked her to run the register. Up till then we’d really only trained on it and she was good but timid with customers, preferring instead to shelve, organize and clean. Her eyes widened in fear and she rang people up all day and started to love it. I knew that throwing her off the retail deep end was the only way to go.
Young David, as I sometimes call him, is finishing his first summer of employment with us. We were his first job and he’s done great. I mentioned him in an earlier blog about working with kids. The learning curve for young people working with the public is steep. He’s handled some tough customers very gracefully. Of course, the younger the staffer the better they are at the computer. So, getting him up and running on our point of sale took far less time than with someone older, and that was delightful.
As both PJ and David head back to school I know we are losing some energy, lots of laughs and two work horses. I never feel bad about a young person carrying heavy boxes to the basement. It’s sort of a rite of passage that I secretly revel in. I also enjoy scaring the bejeepers out of the young ones at least once a summer. So, now I have to wait for the busy rush of Christmas to get my young staffers back, and I can’t wait.

1 thought on “When Staffers Go Back to School

  1. Carol Chittenden

    And don’t you love it fifteen years later, when they’ve finished high school, college, grad school, internships, and a couple of job changes — when they come, just as shyly proud as on that first day, to introduce the fiance?


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