Administration or Ideas?

People worry about me as a job candidate for two almost opposite reasons:

1) I am too much of a big picture person, and won’t “enjoy” the administrative day-to-day,


2) I am clearly a talented administrator, but I am not “passionate enough” about their mission.

I can feel this happening over and over.

In reference to the first, I know that I get overly excited about ideas, especially when I am talking about theater, or professional development for individual artists. I care about these things! Isn’t that supposed to be good? But now twice I have had people say to me, “the everyday administrative work is really boring, are you sure you can deal with that?” And I’m like, “People! I love a spreadsheet as much as the next person. I have a degree in administration.” Now, does this mean that I’m a secretary? No. It means I know how to do the work efficiently. But more importantly, if I am so expressive and animated in my interviews, why is this being interpreted as a negative?

The second is more typical, I guess. People are worried I am not mission aligned, or that type of thing. That I am capable, but not passionate. This resonates with my fear of being perceived as “cold.” All I have is my word. I am a skeptic by nature, but I am also excited about a variety of facets of arts administration, especially finance, marketing, and arts education.

So, what is it? I’m too big picture, or not big picture enough? Are people just splitting hairs because I am not a right fit, personality-wise? Am I too aggressive in presenting ideas? I used to think that I could interview exceptionally well, and I have been told as much. Now, I am not so sure. What do people want?


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