As the labor force moves into a world of more creative, sensitive, and communicative workers, it might be time to lift the negative connotation on theater dorks. While theater majors are notoriously lauded as useless degree holders, there are many skills at work to put on productions that people enjoy. I mean, if you’re someone who can get people to pay three times the price of a movie ticket for a couple of hours of entertainment, that’s pretty valuable right off the bat.
In further evidence, Google recently revealed that soft skills are more important than technical skills for people who become leaders in their organization. As a theater enthusiast myself, I would implore all employers to look at those who have theater listed as a major or interest. Here are my top ten reasons why theater people make the best employees.
They are crazy productive project managers. Directors and stage managers know how to bring multiple departments together quickly to meet a deadline. And they are used to absolute deadlines, very rarely does a show not go up on opening night. From set, props, costumes, actors, crew, ushering, programs, sponsors, what have you, these people get it done. Sometimes it gets done in only a few short weeks!
They are collaborative. It often takes dozens of people to bring a show together. Beyond actors, you have crew, technical staff, advisers, venue managers, publicity, and other stakeholders coming together to make it the best production they can. Actors and directors work together and share ideas on how to convey an action or emotion, while the lighting, set, and costumes designers have to coordinate colors and effects.
They are the original empaths. While Brene Brown is making empathy cool in the business world, actors are trained to feel emotions they wouldn’t normally have. Their job is to put themselves in other people’s views and position, and to analyze motivations. This emotional intelligence comes in handy when dealing with big personalities at work.
They know how to adapt to change. How many people in your organization know how to adjust when things don’t go as planned? In theater, we all know something is bound to fall through. This summer, we had a rainstorm in the middle of an outdoor performance, and we carried on under tents!
They are articulate and confident speakers. Actors, directors, and crew all know how to use their voices to make sure everyone can hear. Further, we know how to listen for our cues to speak and come in to a conversation.
They can handle communication overload. Between rehearsal schedules, director notes, production planning, and promotion, theater people can deal with a high volume of communication and learn how to say it quickly and move on.
They have a lot of ideas. When creativity and brainstorming is lacking, grab a theater person. They love to think out loud, be innovative with limited resources, and work through an idea. But do to time and production constraints, they also know how to grab the best idea quickly and run with it.
They are serious problem solvers. Do you know how to get a cross to light on fire to scare away Dracula? Make a ghost float away? Build a southern neighborhood on a 40 ft stage? Theater people do. Imagine all the problems they could solve for your business!
They are organized. It may seem that artsy people are always a mess and can’t figure out which way is up, but when you have 150 lines to learn, you better believe actors know some methodology for getting work done. No to mention writing a rehearsal schedule to accommodate 12 actor’s time conflicts. Or gathering all the props needed for a Civil War Era drama.
They are full of passion and enthusiasm. If you want people to champion your mission, or drive new ideas at your company, theater nerds know what to do! We can inspire fun and dedication into any project that helps us express our creativity and celebrate our teams. Especially if you feed us with praise, since all we really want is to be adored.
If you’re not convinced now that it’s great to have a theater person on your management team, well… YA BORING.
This generation is fueled by our dreams and passions, it’s always a good idea to consider what people do for fun as a way of figuring out whether they will bring a set of needed soft skills to your team.