A partial list of skills required for my job:

As a small non-profit children’s theatre company’s admin:

  • Rudiments of graphic design. (Over the past year I have designed flyers, coloring books, newsletters, bits of posters, and — most importantly — helped put together nearly a hundred “magazine cover” portraits.)
  • Relatedly, proficiency with The GIMP free photo-editing software, familiarity with Adobe, and familiarity with Microsoft Publisher.
  • Microsoft Excel. Absolutely essential.
  • Microsoft Word.
  • OpenOffice suite, because some of our files open in that.
  • Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and trash-emptying. Those are totally skills.
  • Copying. Seriously, this is a skill. Knowing how to double-side, how to collate, how to reduce size, how to change contrast — and having some idea of how to figure that out on an unfamiliar copier — is priceless.
  • Relatedly, knowing how to change toner, and the toner waste cartridge. (I have learned that you can take the toner waste cartridge out and put it back in and the machine is often none the wiser.)
  • Sales pitches.
  • Research — as in, researching a phone number when all you have is the business location (“the chiropractor in the mall”) or researching a grant foundation’s values.
  • Writing marketing. I hate writing marketing, but I’m getting better at it. Or at least more jaded about it? I enjoy using the word “romp” whenever possible.
  • Video editing.
  • How to burn a DVD or CD.
  • Photography.
  • How to teach an acting class at a moment’s notice.
  • How to survive without lunch.

And for my job running a summer camp:

  • All of the above, plus . . .
  • First aid skills (mostly Band-Aids and ice packs, thankfully). Not surprising.
  • How to get an eyelash out of a sobbing kid’s eye. Surprising! I learned this one today. (Pull the lower lid down and have the kid look up, so the object in the eye rolls to the bottom.)
  • Personnel management. Haven’t mastered this one yet, but I’m working on it.
  • Accounting. I hate math, I really do.
  • When to listen and when to speak. Working on this one.
  • Improvisation games.
  • Parachute games.
  • Vocal warmups.
  • How to survive without lunch or breakfast.
  • How to budget time (working on it).
  • How not to take it personally. (Working on it.)


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