Jessica Ballou, Published May 13 2012
It's My Job: ‘Always something different’ for Barnes & Noble manager
She was scolded by her teachers for finishing books before the ending was assigned on more than one occasion during her academic career.
She just couldn’t help it; she loved reading.
After graduating from college, she taught high school English in Harvey, N.D. She moved to the F-M area last summer and worked her way up to the community relations manager job at Barnes & Noble in Fargo.
Q: How would you describe your job?
A: It’s fun, and I’m always doing something different.
There are a wide variety of things that I do. I work with almost all the departments of the store.
What do you love most about your job?
I think it is the variety of things. I love being around books.
Barnes & Noble has a good reputation for being strong in customer service and (carrying) high-quality products.
No matter what I do or where I go, I try to bring that high-quality customer service with me.
People love the café. No one kicks you out; no one bothers you. We just ask customers to contain their stuff to one table.
I think people come here because of that atmosphere. I think it’s what brings people back.
What is the most exciting aspect of working for a bookstore like Barnes & Noble?
I think watching technology change and watching how the Nook has changed the book industry. I find that really exciting.
People want everything at their fingertips, … and with the Nook, they have everything right there.
It’s fun to watch people change. We listen to what people want, and then we find a product to fit those needs.
If I can’t offer them a product they want, they’re going to get it somewhere else.
That’s the teaching part of me enjoying the Nook … knowing the product I sell people really is something that’s useful and good and that helps (others) learn better.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I think it’s honestly that technology changes so quickly that I’m not always able to give the customer what they want.
We need to constantly evaluate (people’s) needs and give them a product they want.
I have to know all the parts of the business well to be good at what I do. I have to know the answer or know how to find it.
This is the most fun job I’ve had. I have the most eclectic people I work with.
I can’t imagine a better place. I don’t hate getting up for work in the morning.
I do a lot of travel. … I get to meet authors.
I never really know what the next day will bring.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 241-5509