By Joe Giovannetti
My summer in San Diego, California is coming to a close, and it’s hard to sum up everything I have learned in just a few short paragraphs. My experience at the La Jolla Playhouse has been nothing short of amazing. From the knowledge I gained, to the people I’ve met, every day was a new adventure. Most importantly, I learned more about myself along the way. I’ll sum all of this up the only way a millennial knows how: in exclamatory-list format!
Every role is important!
When I’m teaching young kids, you’ll often hear me say this. “Every part is important. We couldn’t do the show without each person.” It turns out the same is true of the administrative side of theater! At the La Jolla Playhouse, I was constantly surrounded by people that made me feel like I mattered, even if my role to play was much smaller than others. It’s clear that the theater operates like an “ensemble,” and every single person’s contribution is valued. I cherished this part of my internship experience, and now know how important it is to me going forward with my career.
Before I entered the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program, I followed a very “safe” career path. However, something inside me urged myself to take a risk and try something new. In our intern seminars, we often had the privilege of hearing about other employee’s career paths, and the idea of taking risks cut across every single story. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “I was in the right place at the right time,” well, I’d have quite a few nickels. Dream opportunities don’t come along that often, and when they do, you can’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.
Don’t be a jerk!
Seems simple, right? Even though it seems like common sense, in the theater industry, this point cannot be stressed enough. The arts are built on connections, and you never know who you’re going to meet. Although this line of work is built on creativity and passion, it’s never a good idea to let those ideals overshadow the need to bring a positive attitude to your workplace interactions.
Give 100% to everything you do!
Getting a job is one thing. Doing the job well is another. Everything you do is a learning experience, so even if a task seems monotonous, give it all you’ve got! Whenever I’m feeling bogged down by a project, I always try to think about in context of the bigger picture, which motivates me to hold myself to a higher standard of excellence. It feels good to know you’ve done your job to the best of your ability, and people will notice your efforts.
But at the same time…
Honestly, this is the most important thing I’ve learned at the Playhouse. Be yourself! You will never be happy in a job, no matter how cool it is, if you do not allow yourself to be the most authentic version of “you” that you can be. I have never felt like a number at the Playhouse. I was able to bring a touch of my personality into everything I did, and was encouraged to do so! Find a place, team, job etc. where you can celebrate your individuality and champion the diversity of your peers. I think that if we can all focus on forming those authentic human connections with each other through our work, we’ll never truly “work” a day in our lives.