Underappreciated and Misunderstood

I went to college knowing exactly what educational path I wanted to follow. I didn’t deviate, was never seduced by another discipline, didn’t even consider changing my mind. I double majored in Theatre and English (Concentration in Writing), and even thought about a Music minor, before realizing that all the Theatre and Music classes were at the same time. Yes, I double majored in two subjects that often end up on lists with titles like “The 10 Least Lucrative College Majors” and that are immortalized in songs sung by puppets (“What Do You Do With a BA in English?”). I had no future plan, other than nebulous thoughts about stage managing/writing/working in an office support job during the day while doing what I truly loved at night. Fortunately for my future self, I had over four years of office experience upon graduation, since those liberal arts degrees didn’t pay for themselves, and I’ve always had office work to fall back on.

Here I am, almost ten years out, working in an office, where I’ve been for nearly six years (six years!). You know what? I use my degrees every single day. How many people can say that? I use them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not specific concepts (I don’t work in publishing or the arts, unfortunately enough), but general, unspoken concepts. Working in theatre prepares us for a little bit of everything–working with large groups of very, very different people, sticking to a timeline, operating as part of a team, to name a few. My English degree helps me formally communicate upstream as a representative of my company, gives me a vocabulary advantage with my coworkers, and informs every email I write and conversation I have. What do you do with a BA in English? You know how and when to properly use apostrophes, ellipses, and quotation marks. Oh, and you deploy your critical thinking skills at the drop of a hat!

All this is meandering to a blog post I’ve left open in my browser for several weeks, entitled “9 Ways a Theatre Degree Trumps a Business Degree“. Go read it; I’ll wait. I love it. I’ve never shied away from stating that I majored in English and Theatre, and that I still work in professional theatre as a stage manager. You don’t get much more Human Resources than stage management. My theatre degree has more than adequately prepared me to work in the technology sector, where teamwork, accountability, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment are key. Adaptability is the hallmark of a theatrical stage manager. Personalities must be dealt with, cues (and cue lines!) can change in an instant, and improvisation is always necessary. What’s not to love? In theatre, as in the office, I often feel like I have many, many children, and all of them are in constant need.

I’ll address each point in future posts (hopefully). Because, like many theatre workers and office workers and people who work, I have a finite amount of time at any given time! Perhaps admitting that makes me a poor blogger, but hey, it’s the Internet. Ain’t nobody got time for everything!

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