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Career Story: Administrative Assistant In A College Drama Department

Administrative Assistant In A College Drama Department

Job Title: Assistant To The Chair Of Performing Arts

Type of Company: I currently work for a private college in Boston.

Education: BA, Theatre, University of Southern California •• BS, Gerontology, University of Southern California

Previous Experience: I began working as a purchasing clerk in a food cooperative doing inventory and ensuring the completion of outgoing orders. From there I went to receptionist work in a mental health facility, moving quickly to office manager and operations manager at a start-up company.

Job Tasks: I have three main duties in my current position. My first duty is to assist the Chair of the Department. I'm responsible for scheduling all of her appointments, ensuring that she has the materials she needs to complete her daily tasks and in her absence represent the department at meetings and functions.

My second main duty is to track the department's budget. I create purchase requisitions for all of the department's supplies and track how much money is being spent throughout the fiscal year. I then create financial reports for the Chair and the Dean at the end of the fiscal year and assist the Chair with the budget request for each new fiscal year.

I am also responsible for the hiring and supervision of the department's student employees. The student employees work in the department's main office as well as other areas like the costume shop, the scene shop, the theaters and the rehearsal studios. I interview all student job candidates and place them in appropriate areas and supervise the work they are doing and assist them with work issues during their time at the college -- and even, in some instances, after they've graduated.

Aside from the above-mentioned duties, I work with the Department Assistant in ensuring that the department runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the people I work with. Their energy, creativity and commitment to the students creates a great atmosphere in which to work.

The part of my job that I find difficult is coping with the lack of efficiency in other departments. Because I am highly organized and our department runs so smoothly, I find it difficult to deal with another department's lack of, or indifferent, operational structure.

Job Tips: Learn time management skills. Prioritizing and completing tasks in a timely manner is crucial to administrative support work.

This will sound completely goofy, but being a people person is an absolute necessity when working in an office environment. You will have to work alongside some people whom you may not care for, but your job is to work with them to complete a task so you will need to be able to disguise your dislike.

Keeping up with the latest technology is also extremely helpful with the day-to-day functioning of any office environment.

Additional Thoughts: I am constantly amazed at how much I have continued to learn throughout my career. Keeping an open mind has been instrumental in my continually learned new skills at each job I've had. This has helped me immensely in my career.

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