guest post: reflecting on working in an industry that is new to me / annemarie mohan
It is fast approaching my one year anniversary of beginning my journey at tiata fahodzi as office manager. My experience across industries has been diverse to say the least. From sales administration in electrical engineering and food packaging, to office managing in a well-known national frozen food delivery company, but tiata fahodzi has been my first experience within the theatre industry.
I thrive the most when I am thrown into the deep end and that is exactly what happened here. good dog was about to go into rehearsals and with the support of my team, I dove right in. From booking tour travel and hotels for the actor and the rest of the hard-working crew, filing contracts and invoices to putting together the press night goody bags — it was an amazing induction to the role and the industry.
Reflecting on this past year, I can honestly say I do not believe my feet have ever touched the ground. As soon as one project finishes, another begins. With all the fine print admin that takes up time — like our Arts Council England annual survey. I have managed my own music events company previously but not one bit of experience in any position or industry prepared me for that bad boy! After a very tense few weeks, I emerged having learned a lot and feeling better prepared for next year’s challenge.
Working at tiata fahodzi is so different to anywhere I have previously had the pleasure to work. No two days are ever the same. Previous companies have been predictable, the same duties day after day, to the point it stops being challenging, exciting and holding your attention. I begin my day at #tfhq (tiata fahodizi hq) thinking I know exactly what my day looks like, and by the end of the day, it hasn’t unfolded quite how I expected. And I love that. I love how unpredictable my job is. One day, I am on the phone for a solid day trying to get the printer to simply work, the next day, I’ve written one or two policies, sent 30 emails, arranged a handful of meetings and problem solved my way out of several situations before it is even lunchtime. As much as I love the daily grind in the office, I love that I also have the opportunity to go out and attend events too — having attended the Watford African and Caribbean Association (WACA) Barbecue with our friendship producer Kiki, as well as helping out at our monthly coffee mornings.
Another side to my role is my support role to Natalie Ibu, our Artistic Director, in managing her diary and booking in meetings. This is a huge task as Natalie is one of the busiest and in demand people I know. As well as managing internal and external meetings, it’s a careful job of managing Natalie’s time — which includes writing papers, reading materials and strategic planning time. Diary management, in itself is so reactive for many reasons — and just another thing that keeps me on my toes!
My first year has been a huge learning curve — and I still have so much to learn. To know that I do not know it all, is a great feeling. I feel so incredibly privileged to work with a fabulous team of strong women, who have amazing industry knowledge and who continue to support (as well as challenge) me every day. We have reached a great balance of work and play, even managing to work hard whilst harmonising to whatever old school track happens to be playing on the radio.
I like that I wake up of a morning, and I feel good about heading to the office. Having a great team to work with and a relaxed environment to work in makes all the difference.
annemarie mohan joined tiata fahodzi as office manager after having varying roles in administration, customer service and marketing across several different industries. New to the theatre industry, she is looking forward to bringing her diverse experience to the team, as well as exploring new experiences within the world of theatre.