Job search in Madison, WI
January 10, 2004 12:06 AM   Subscribe

I live in Madison, Wisconsin. I lost my job managing a bookstore a couple of months ago and I need a new job. Does anyone in Madison know anyone who is looking to hire someone? I'll do anything at this point. My needs are not great. I'm just looking for a job. I have a BFA from a prestigious art school that no one has ever heard of, and I type very fast. Also, I'm stronger than I look.
posted by interrobang to Work & Money (18 answers total)
Though I'm guessing you worked for an independent store and probably hate them, there's a new B&N bookstore opening in Madison soon.
posted by drezdn at 12:31 AM on January 10, 2004

Where is it?
posted by interrobang at 12:39 AM on January 10, 2004

I should add that I do hate them, but I'm at the door of the poorhouse, and I'd be willing to shovel burned books behind a Barnes and Noble at this point. That's how desperate I am.
posted by interrobang at 1:04 AM on January 10, 2004

I checked and here's what it said for Madison:

Coming Soon
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
East Towne Mall
#1 East Towne Mall
Madison, WI 53704

Good luck!
posted by parrots at 2:29 AM on January 10, 2004

I hope this isn't a dumb question, but have you tried temp agencies?
posted by JanetLand at 5:58 AM on January 10, 2004

I know this sounds repulsive, but fast food is always taking managers. It beats starving or bankruptcy (barely).
posted by mecran01 at 5:59 AM on January 10, 2004

Stay away from fast food management. That has to be a ring of hell somewhere...being a regular employee of same is bad enough. The manager is always caught between the workers and upper management, plus they work insane hours.

I'd go for the temp agencies if I were you. That will at least buy you some time to find something you will be happy with in the long run.
posted by konolia at 7:13 AM on January 10, 2004

BTW what art school?
posted by konolia at 7:14 AM on January 10, 2004

JanetLand: no, I haven't tried temp agencies. That's an interesting idea.

I had my last job at the bookstore for three years, and I got it pretty soon after college. I am terrible at job-hunting. How does one go about getting a job through temp agencies? Do you just call one up and register or something?
posted by interrobang at 7:17 AM on January 10, 2004

Konolia: Cooper Union.
posted by interrobang at 7:23 AM on January 10, 2004

Do you just call one up and register or something?

Yep. Call every single one near you; you don't have to pick just one. They'll have you go in and fill out lots of forms and take dumb tests: typing tests, math tests, spelling, etc. Everyone takes the same dumb tests regardless, I find, so don't worry if it seems pointless. Then someone will talk to you about your skills and the kind of work you're looking for, both temporary and permanent. Then if all goes well somebody will have something for you to do. Depending on circumstances, you might even ultimately get a permanent full-time job out of it. Anyway, it's worth a shot and will give you something productive to do.
posted by JanetLand at 7:24 AM on January 10, 2004

interrobang: i temped after i quit my last bookstore job at a call center and it wasn't bad at all. decent pay (much more than i had been making, but i wasn't management), steady hours, and enough peace of mind to get me through before i moved to chicago.

you just go to the temp agency, and you are given several tests (typing, filing, etc). you might have to call often, if you are not placed in a job right away. i had good luck with kelly services when i lived in albuquerque, but when i moved to chicago kelly wasn't good at all.

are there many call centers in madison? if you've managed a bookstore, taking inbound customer service calls will be a breeze, and the pay is usually better than minimum wage.

good luck!
posted by sugarfish at 7:26 AM on January 10, 2004

I have a BFA from a prestigious art school that no one has ever heard of

Wow, seriously? Cooper is very highly regarded nationwide. Is there a former instructor or advisor there you can call for ideas? You never know who might have a connection in Madison.

Also browsing Cooper's site, I found this rather lengthy list of online job-hunting resources.

I hope you find something great, and fast! And if does come to working at Barnes & Noble, look at it this way - it's your chance to help improve an otherwise lame store. Best of luck!
posted by boomchicka at 7:59 AM on January 10, 2004

it's your chance to help improve an otherwise lame store

We have to separate B&N's malign effect on nearby independent stores from their own qualities. I don't know what the B&Ns in Wisconsin are like, but the ones in Manhattan are fantastic, with huge selections of obscure academic titles, foreign maps, &c (not to mention the ability to sit as long as you like reading things, even sipping coffee if you like). I don't actually buy many books there (I'll usually wait and get it elsewhere if I see something I like), but I don't think it's fair to slag the quality of the stores. (But then, I also like Starbucks coffee, so don't listen to me.)

Oh, and on topic: I also started out in bookstores (worked my way through every one in New Haven) and moved on via agencies, landing a proofreading gig which led to becoming an editor.
posted by languagehat at 9:05 AM on January 10, 2004

From bookstore clerk to proofreader at a publisher to production manager at a publisher to ad agencies as a production manager. I got the proofreader gig through an agency. It was supposed to be 6 weeks and I stayed for a year.

Is there anything a bookstore job can't do? Other than provide a decent income? You may want to consider expanding and trying to build on what job skills you've learned.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:31 PM on January 10, 2004

Salmonberry, I worked at a bookstore just before inventing a time machine and setting the world high jump record!
posted by billsaysthis at 2:22 PM on January 10, 2004

I also suggest temporary agencies. Management at my work place is always calling in temporary people for sick days and holiday shifts. Management has hired a number of temporary staff as permanent part-time and as full-time employees. Long-serving temporary people are less of a risk than hiring from the street. If you get in with an agency that has a good reputation with a needy employer, you can prove yourself in a non-interview situation, which might be appealing to you (if I that is what you referred to above).
posted by philfromhavelock at 4:07 PM on January 10, 2004

Thanks for the advice, everyone; I'll try the temp agency route. Funny, I'd never even thought of it.

posted by interrobang at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2004

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