No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Friday, 8 November 2013

Being productive

I have a new job, and not enough work, so I guess it's time to start blogging again.  I can't say much about what my work is and any issues that are directly related due to fun secrecy and professional conduct agreements, but I can blog about the indirect things.

Basically the short version for those who don't know is I recently started a high flying job in a corporate environment, which is obviously fairly different to the theatre world

Things like how, I find it really really difficult to sit at a desk at work for 8h a day.  Don't get me wrong, I might do that at home playing games, watching tv or just sitting on twitter, being far less productive than any work day, but it's the sedentary part of working at this job that I'm struggling with.  Sitting at a desk, in front of a PC and on a telephone for 8h.  For the last 7/8 years, the kind of work I've been doing I might have been able to sit down, it might have required heavy use of IT systems, but there was never really just sitting there.  There was always something to check in elsewhere in a venue, someone to help with a costume, a cast member with a question, clearance to obtain, a 5 minute call to give, a standby for a cue.  When oping a show I might get the chance to sit down for it, but it's not just staring at a screen, it's a constant adjustment process.

The other problem is it's been a long time since the kind of work I've done has been 'work on x until complete'.  By which I mean, most theatre work comes in lots of little discrete chunks.  Help someone with a costume, prepare props, give calls, standby for cue.  Even the larger chunks break down into relatively small pieces.  It might take a good few hours to hang a piece of set off a fly bar, but that's broken down into things like rearrange set store/workshop for clear access, clear stage, bring set piece in, install fly hardware, clear stage, bring fly bar in, attach fly lines, take bar half out, load bar, walk set piece up the stage till it's upright, check bar loading, fly bar fully out, fly bar in, check alignment etc.  Even problems break down into little chunks.  The job I'm currently doing, chunks break down into: 'test system', which i could further break down into -> 'plan systems testing '-> do background reading -> read specific report.  Except that specific report is often hundreds of pages long.  And not easily locatable, and then requires a data access permission I don't have and need to request and wait until someone else approves it.

I'm the least experienced person in my team at my new job.  Which isn't a problem per se, but coming from a background which involves EVERYONE being very in control of their workload.  I always considered tech crew, whether theatre, film, events, whatever, somewhat similar to a military squad.  Experience and technical expertise will be taken into consideration, but you rely on everyone else on the team knowing more or less what needs doing, and how to do it, on picking up the next piece of work and getting on with it without needing to ask first, and being capable of doing that work to a high level without needing checking.  If you ask someone to rig a light, you more or less expect it to be done right, clamps tightened enough, safety chains, accessories installed as per the plan, and plugged up to the right channel/circuit. By and large, you don't have time to review and check everyone's work, you expect them to be able to do it, and get on with it, and move on to the next thing, they don't need to ask everytime they finish rigging a light, they just move onto the next one on the plan, and once that bar's done, you move on to the next bar, etc.  Events, film, tv, theatre, they all rely on having a skilled team of people who know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and they all just get on with it relatively autonomously

I'm currently in a position where it's not easy to move around between the various tasks that make up the whole 'job'.  If I'm waiting on someone to give me access to a file, there's not a lot else I can be getting on with.  I don't know enough to know how or where to pick up other bits of work that other people might not have started on, and most work we havent started on in because we CANT.  As a team we're waiting on other people in other divisions etc.  It's like knowing a set piece needs to be rigged and flown, but the piece not having arrived at the venue yet.  Aside from the occasional chase, there's not a lot you can do.  And coming from a place where even if I've been just general crew, you have to be very in control and keep a good awareness of how everything fits into the big picture, which due to my lack of experience in my new role, is something I simply don't have the capability or understanding of yet.  I know it's by and large jsut new job teething problems, I know this kind of stuff will get better, or I'll get used to it, but for now it's making the transition for me, on a mental level, very difficult.  It's more or less the complete opposite of what I'm used to so na

Also, the last time I was working a corporate job, I had a boyfriend to email pointlessly during the day, keeping me occupied, helping boost my motivation and mood throughout the day, and generally making it look like I was doing work when I wasn't.

No such luck this time around...

Though as a boon, the graduate intake are back from college and in the office this week so there's lots of cute boys to check out.  Less cute girls unfortuantely.  But that might be because it's hard to rock a pant suit unless you're Hillary Clinton.  Still, cute boys in suits (alas sitting at the other end of the office to me, but the coffee machine is that way so...).

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