Working with a company all about personalised books changes how you see the world.
These days – like so many others – I find the news hard to stomach. Clickbait sensationalism renders shocking updates into a horrific tapestry. A sense of deep unease permeates my social feeds and dinner table conversations alike.
But – and this is the truth – what I do every day at my job keeps me buoyant.
Principally, I’m the community manager (my name’s Janel. Hi!). But The Book of Everyone is a start-up, so we all wear many hats. I dabble in digital marketing, and I write copy for the books themselves. I also hang out with the customer care team, sharing customers’ stories, feedback, and fresh ideas.
One daily task of the customer care team is checking over books for things like incomplete addresses, rendering problems, database errors, and so forth. Each and every book people order from us needs to be reviewed by a human before being sent to the printers.
And when there’s a big rush of sales – like the one we had just this last Christmas – it can mean shipping out literally thousands of books a day. So everyone in the office pitches in with the approval process, scanning every page of every book that people have ordered from us.
There’s part of the task that’s repetitive, sure. But our books are personalised by their author – that’s YOU – meaning every single one is different. The teeny window into how people express love for each other is something quite special.
I get to see what you thank each other for. I find out what words everyone lives their lives by. I see ancient yellowed baby pictures next to portraits of the recipient all grown up in suit and tie.
You share a handful of your most beloved memories with each other, and you call each other cheeky pet names. I find out that you love each other more than mac n’ cheese, more than Game of Thrones, more than red wine, more than George Clooney, and – once – more than 80’s hair metal.
It’s a rare, intimate glimpse into the infinite ways people celebrate the relationships they have with each other. And all these unique individual loves appeal to something we all understand.
When I get sucked into the doomsayer news feeds, frankly, I get scared. And I’m tempted to start seeing the people around me a little bit more coldly.
But what I’m thinking about as we approach Valentine’s Day isn’t hate or fear. It’s a day to celebrate love, after all, and I see that expressed in a thousand extraordinary ways by ordinary people every single day.
And that makes me feel like a lucky duck, indeed.