Can we take a second to talk about how GENIUS the creator of Tetris is?
Seriously! The game has no other purpose than getting blocks to fit together, and yet it’s super addicting and fun! It’s the most basic concept but I could play for hours, staring at those little blocks and rotating them ever so slightly.
There’s something inexplicably satisfying about getting every block to fall perfectly into place.
Now, imagine being able to get that same feeling of satisfaction from your job. Well, this young professional actually does! Cienna Patmont, Client Services/Office Manager for a post-production studio talks to us about her job search, daily duties, and why her job is a lot like playing Tetris.
What is a typical day like?
Cienna will usually get to work about 15 to 20 minutes before the studio opens for business. She brews the coffee and makes sure that the reception and kitchen areas are ready to be seen by clients. This means she is checking to see if everything is neat, organized, and that snacks are available. There is usually a cheese and fruit tray set out in the mornings and then whatever she thinks sounds good in the afternoon.
Once or twice a week, she’ll stop by the grocery store on the way to work and pick up different food items to have ready for the clients. It’s her responsibility to keep everything stocked up, from kitchen supplies to office necessities.
Then, during the day, she fields phone calls and deals with the clients themselves. Whatever they need, she finds it. This can include anything from a weird condiment to shipping out packages to setting up car services.
Finally, when the studio manager is out, Cienna picks up the responsibility of scheduling recording sessions and setting up anything that would need to happen for those.
Why did she choose this job?
For the first two weeks after moving to the city, Cienna trolled craigslist for hours a day. Unsure about what she was interested in, she decided to look for a job instead of a “career” and spent most of her time searching the administrative section of the site.
Cienna attended the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and majored in economics with a minor in sociology. Though her studies do not directly relate to her job, they definitely helped her develop certain skills that are beneficial for an office manager to have. Through economics she gained a basic knowledge of business and the sociology side of her studies has given her greater insight into the people side of things.
During her time in college, she held different administrative jobs and knew that it was something she could do to get her foot in the door somewhere. Cienna has always been super organized and so she knew that she would be up for any sort of administrative duty thrown at her.
“I figured this was going to be my first ‘real job’. I didn’t need to know what I wanted to do forever. And then something really cool got placed in front of me. I never even knew post-production was a thing before this job. Now I think I’ll probably continue working, if not here, then in this industry for a while.”
Even though the studio where she currently works specializes in recording, there are so many facets to post-production. There’s a lot that people don’t normally think about and that’s what makes it such a fun industry.
“The first time I heard something that was produced here on the radio or in a TV commercial, it was so cool!”
What is her favorite part of the job?
Besides the fact that every day is different and meeting clients is fun and exciting, Cienna actually really likes doing the scheduling (even though it can be really difficult at times). It’s like figuring out a puzzle.
Because the studio doesn’t want to turn anyone away, it’s up to whoever is scheduling to make sure everything works. It’s a lot like Tetris. You have to figure out a way to make it all fit.
What is scheduling exactly?
“Scheduling” is booking time and studio space for all sorts of different post-production clients. It may sound simple enough, but in all actuality it can be really difficult.
Before they can actually be put into the schedule, clients have to get approval for whatever project they’re working on. A client might have an idea for a commercial, and they might want to book a certain studio and engineer for that commercial, but they can’t until they get the go-ahead from the higher-ups at their companies.
That means the scheduling will start off with a broad idea about when the client wants to do something. There are a lot of people involved and so managing everyone’s scheduling and figuring out a time that works for everyone can be complicated. Then, if they’ve gotten everything sorted and have approval for the project, they’ll start to get a better idea of exact times they’ll need. Still, a majority of the clients work in the advertising industry, which is always moving and changing. That makes actually pinning those times down pretty difficult.
This can end with three different clients interested in booking the same time with the same engineer. Here’s where Tetris comes into play. Equipped with stacks of Post-its and an extremely organized email list, Cienna has to figure out how to fit everyone in at the times and with the engineers they need.
It really is like putting together a really complicated puzzle. How can she move this so that it will fit with that?
What was the training process like for the scheduling?
Really, Cienna was just kind of thrown into it; scheduling in the studio manager’s absence was just part of her administrative duties.
At first, she would sit down with the studio manager and watch her schedule, then they would switch or she would take over during lunch breaks. About a month or two into the job, the studio manager went on vacation and Cienna was in charge of scheduling full-time during that time. Now, whenever the studio manager is gone, she takes over the responsibility.
What are some necessary traits for this job?
This isn’t a job for someone who gets flustered easily. At times it can be very frustrating because there are a million things going on at once. Not to mention the fact that you have to keep track of time zones. Agencies from all over the country are working with the studio and so understanding different time zones is extremely important.
You’re also dealing with a variety of different people and personality types every day. It is your job to make sure that every client has a good experience and wants to continue working with the studio. Not only does this require acute attention to detail during scheduling as well as organizing the office, but it also means that you have to have a high sense of emotional intelligence—understanding what a client needs and getting that done for them in a quick and efficient manner.
Homework time! Interested in this type of job? Think about your personal characteristics. Are you super organized? Are you a people person? If so, think about getting part-time office manager or administrative assistant jobs while in college. Part of the reason Cienna enjoys her position so much is because of the industry and work environment she’s in. While looking for administrative / office managing roles, don’t just focus on the job requirements. Be sure to also look into the company’s culture. Do research about different industries until you find one you think is fun and interesting.