For the last two and a half years, Josh Dykstra has served Eerdmans in a variety of capacities, including, most recently, as inside sales representative. Now, as he leaves to become operations manager at a sporting goods company and pursue graduate studies in business, he looks back on his time at Eerdmans and shares a few of the memories he will carry with him into the future.
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As I pack my boxes with the final remnants of my office, I can’t help feeling like I’m leaving home. Even though I know I’ll be gone tomorrow, the people of Eerdmans continue to feel like my family. Amidst the fond farewells and the friendly conversations filled with genuine interest in the next steps of my life, it’s not lost on me that I’m about to leave something special. Anyone who’s spent more than a moment in the Eerdmans building will tell you that the greatest thing about this place isn’t the architecture or the shelves full of books — all flashing that familiar stacked book logo — but, rather, the kind and passionate people that fill it daily. It’s my relationships with these extraordinary “Eerdfolks” that I hope to carry with me always, along with the long-lasting memories.
Folks here have a genuine concern for each other’s lives. Surgeries warrant flowers, gifts, emails, and cards. If I take a sick day, I get texts expressing good wishes and sincere hopes that I’ll get well soon. In March, David Bratt’s annual orchestration of the NCAA college basketball tournament sends the office into a one-week scramble to catch up on all things basketball, as well as some lively — if short-lived and rather empty — smack talk. The decorum at our otherwise-straightforward marketing meetings often dissolves into stomach-aching laughter as Anita Eerdmans retells a story from her many travels. I have a feeling that none of this will really disappear — that if I come back five or ten years down the road, none of this love and laughter will have gone anywhere.
Even as I prepare myself and my résumé for graduate school, an MBA in business management, and (I hope) a bright new future, I know I will certainly miss my time as an entry-level marketing associate, promotions assistant, and finally, as inside sales representative at Eerdmans.
I will especially miss the special charm of independent bookstores and my frequent interactions with the wonderful people who manage them. These are the conversations I always looked forward to. I was stunned by the creativity of one store who created a castle wall as an entryway to the children’s area, where children would cross a drawbridge over a moat, enter through the castle gate, and arrive in a throne room where they could spend take up temporary residence as they explored the children’s books. I also enjoyed a display of southern charm from the owner of one small bookstore who, when discussing how full her children’s shelves always seemed to be (but how she really should find a way to squeeze a few copies of Do You Have a Dog? anyway) somehow managed to slide the idioms “And how!” and “Shucks!” effortlessly into our conversation. It’s these moments and others that make me fully realize that not every job will brighten my day in the same way.
Tomorrow, I’m leaving Eerdmans, but I’ll be sure to stop in and wander the halls from time to time, if even to just jump up and hit the lights one more time or to prove to all the concerned people here that I’m still alive after I return from running with the bulls in Spain this summer. (If there’s one thing a career at Eerdmans teaches you, it’s to embrace adventure and think beyond your comfort zone!) For now, though, I’ll miss you all, my Eerdfolks family.