Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Moving up in the world

I've been promoted! I'm now Lead Newstand Seller at B&N. It's full time, a $1 raise, a good benefits package, & I'll be working less nights/weekends (woo hoo!). B&N has the largest newstand in Holland & 70% of our sales are from the newstand so it's definitely more responsibility. When the district manager comes to the store to "check up on us" he goes straight to the newstand & to the kids section to see how we're doing. So there's some pressure there but it should definitely be a more interesting position than standing behind the customer service booth for 8 hour shifts. I actually feel pretty honored because supposedly there were others that were interested in the position (also from within) but the manager wanted to offer it to me first. It surprises me because I'm the newest one working there but I'm grateful too because we really need good benefits. It's been too long since we've gone to the dentist and Husband was telling me just the other day that his back tooth is hurting & he's known for quite awhile that he needs to get his wisdom teeth out. Plus, there's always the stress of a possible unplanned pregnancy with the kind of crummy benefits we have now that doesn't cover pregnancy, labor/delivery, etc... So all & all, it's a good move for our family. I know that's true & I am excited about the position but I have some concerns too...

What does this mean for my dreams to counsel? Does this mean that needs to be put on hold right now & if that's true, why? I don't understand. I went through all that schooling & more importantly, I have such passion & certainty that I want to be a therapist. It doesn't make sense. I'm feeling the pressure of getting into the counseling field & getting some years of experience under my belt before we have kids. It feels like that keeps getting pushed back & how much more will that be put on hold when we have kids? I want to be at home with our kids but I also want to counsel some evenings or other times when Husband or other family can be at home. I know I'm speaking about unborn children but we definitely hope it's in God's plan for us to have kids in a few years & I know that will drastically change every part of our life. Now seems to be the prime time to get counseling experience only it's not happening.
Today's my day off & I had planned on pursuing some counseling jobs & making some phone call to agencies in the area but now that I'm taking this Lead position at B&N I feel like what's the point? I need to take this job b/c we need the benefits.

Another thing I've been thinking about with this newstand job is the irony of it all. I'm going to be in charge of organizing & displaying the very images of so many of these magazines that I'm so against. (Sorry about the soapbox but here I go...) And it's not just all the varieties of pornography that B&N sells, which I'm certainly intensely against, but it's the majority of all the other magazines with scantily clad women on the covers & throughout the magazines no matter what they're selling. I'm not necessarily upset with those in the marketing departments that are using images of women to sell anything & everything. Ok, well, they do sicken me but the truth is they're in the business of sales & only giving us what we as a society ask for, seek out & encourage by the # of sales we make a day/week/month, etc. That's what saddens me. These airbrushed images is what our culture/society deems is beautiful & sexy & perfection. And I fall into it. I hate what power it has over me & how I feel about myself & my body. I hate how much power it has in my relationships with both men & women. How damaging it is to not only young girls & young boys but all women & men. We're all affected. We're all set up for disappointment & failure & unrealistic expectations because of this system. This is not ok with me! And yet, I'm in charge/responsible for the largest newstand in Holland.

What if, as a company, B&N took a stand against selling pornography in their newstands? They'd never do it, they make too much money off it. The magazines can only be sold if they're still in their wrapper & you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) at how many we throw away because they've been removed from wrapper & taken to a secluded spot in the store (too often to the kids section). It makes me sick to think that as a corporation, we'd never stop selling it. How can this be about money when so much of our souls & minds & bodies are at stake? And why stop at pornographic magazines? How about all the romance novels that so many women are addicted to & as such can have so much to do with escapism, fears of intimacy, & unrealistic portrayals of men & women, relationships & sex? And have you checked out some of the bookcovers in the teen section? It's maddening the images young women are called to live up to. And yes, I know that as Christians, we aren't supposed to be affected by these things. We're to be in the world but not of it. But I'm affected just by being in the world. I'm affected by walking down the street, going to the beach, working at B&N, by all the unsolicited, unwelcome, unwanted junk mail in my email inbox, etc., etc., etc. I could go on & on but I won't. This has turned out to be a really long post. Thanks for "listening". I guess I'm just wondering, can one woman, at one newstand in Holland, Michigan ever truly make a difference? It feels like a modern day David & Goliath story.
One last really cool thing... B&N carries the Mars Hill Review in their newstand! How random & how wonderful!! I was so excited to find out it's growing in its circulation! You can check out the website here... (www.marshillreview.com) to read more about it or come on into the store to read the latest issue. I always love to see a familiar face at work! Ok, no more, I have to end this post!!


rob said...

Way to go babe! Take on the corporate lackies and make a stand for what you believe in a la "Office Space". But seriously...I think you have valid concerns and I know those magazines really affect, bug, piss off and hurt you and I'm sure many other women. Just know you are the best and most beautiful in my eyes. I'm also proud of you for getting the promo. Thanks for the visit to the dentist, even though I may have to take the sedation dentistry way this time around...too many issues with those damn dentists.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the murky world of censorship. Who should make the decision at Barnes & Noble as to what does and does not go on sale? The general manager? The cute new girl at the newstand? Some schmoe in accounting at corporate headquarters? Perhaps an opinion poll would be desirable. But what happens when societal attitudes shift? If unpopular publications are not sold, what happens when a majority of Americans deem the Bible to be unfit for reading?

I hate to defend pornography, but freedom of speech is a real bitch. These are real serious issues you raise; ones worth fighting for. I think we have to be very careful, however, in choosing the arena for that fight. While perhaps a lost cause, we should all battle society's twisted view of the perfect woman, man, etc., and encourage personal responsibility and accountability in the choices made at the newstand counter.

And if you decide that it is necessary to censor materials, make sure you trust those decisions to someone who is brilliant, wise, and good-looking (humble too!), like your bro-in-law.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jenna. I knew B&N would see the light and choose you. Your love of books and literature has paid off. The magazines...another issue for sure. Frankly, some of the covers embarrass me terribly and others just annoy. Hard to be in charge of ones that offend but I am sure you will find a way to do your job well and effectively. Then who knows where the next promotion will take you. Maybe the kids section. Now that's one I could get into!! Maybe in my old age I'll get to read in that section to the little people.

Please, don't leave any decisions about anything up to TRD....we all love him but really!!

I am convinced that you'll get your chance at counseling. Hang in. Keep looking. Don't give up.

Jean (a/k/a your mom-in-law)