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Career Story: Office Manager For A Small Company

Office Manager For A Small Company

Job Title: Office Manager

Education: BFA in Theatre Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Previous Experience: I worked as a manager at a video rental store for four years while in college. After college I worked as a product tester at a lighting manufacturer for one year.

Job Tasks: I work as an office manager for a small company (4 employees) that dyes and prints fabrics for fashion companies and Broadway shows. I work 40 hours a week coordinating the schedule for all fabrics that will be printed and/or dyed in our shop and delegating the tasks to our dyers and printers. About thirty percent of my day is spent talking with designers / design assistants to figure out their needs and time line for their specific projects. forty percent of my day is spent billing customers, creating estimates, receiving payments and dealing with any customer questions that may arise. The remainder of my day, about thirty percent of my time, is spent prepping fabric to be dyed (measuring, weighing, sewing and tagging) and prepping fabric for pickup (cutting samples for our files, folding, tagging and bagging).

My job requires no travel as most shows that travel in the United States and many that travel internationally are created in the New York City area (where I work).

A great perk of my job is receiving free tickets to the shows that we work on. Many times I get to see Broadway shows in their first or second public performance.

The only complaint I would have about my job is that dealing with creative designers can be a challenge. Minds are changed very often and projects frequently have to be completely reworked at the last minute. You need to have a good sense of humor and the ability to work with some difficult personalities.

As the office manager I am guaranteed 35 hours of work a week. However, the dyers and printers are not given this guarantee. They will only work when there are projects in house for them. During slow times they may only work ten or fifteen hours a week.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I get to work closely with Broadway designers and really see the creative process as work. I also receive tickets to Broadway shows which can be worth 100's of dollars a month.

The worst part of the job is dealing with numerous tight time lines. We have seasons that are very busy and the challenge is to accommodate as many designers / schedules as possible without alienating any existing relationships. This can be difficult as we only have so many people who can work on each project.

Job Tips:
1. I would recommend that you take some basic computer courses. In order to do the account billing and scheduling you will need to have some basic computer skills. Our office use Quickbooks (an accounting software) for all scheduling and invoicing.

2. I would also recommend some basic fabric knowledge. You should be able to tell the difference between a cotton fabric from a polyester fabric. The easiest way to tell a fabric's fiber content is with a burn test. You literally burn a piece of the fabric to see how it reacts. You can find these "Burn test" charts on the web.

3. Lastly I would recommend a brief tutorial in color theory. Know the 3 primary colors and how different colors react. Ex: Yellow and Blue make Green.

Additional Thoughts: I would say the best way to find a job like this is to move to New York and start networking. Knowing people in the business will be the best way to find a job. You will have to start at the bottom and work your way up the food chain.

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