I have been working part-time or fulltime for my whole adult life. Since 2008 I have been lucky enough to get to do work that actually corresponds my education. Also acting has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember, and it is only natural that I am taking advantage of the skills I have learned from my hobby in working life and vice versa.
How is my background in acting showing in the environment of work then? I would boil this down to three things:
1. Teamwork all the way
Unless you are doing a self-directed, self-produced, self-everything monologue production, theatre is all about teamwork. You work very intensely with other people both onstage and offstage. You have to be able to get along with different types of personalities (some more extravagant than others) and build trust on these people. Especially in my current job, being able to do this is crucial. We have a small team that cooperates very tightly daily. We even work in the same open office space every day. I work with a lot of people from various different teams within the company too, from HR to engineers. In a large company such as the one I am working for, this means that there is bound to be a variety of personalities.
2. Being aware of my surroundings
On stage, it is important that you constantly know what is going on around you and especially what the other people are doing or saying – and what they actually mean with that they are doing and saying. This same thing is crucial especially when working with other people. It is important to be able to read people and situations and especially to be able to adapt my own behaviour based on what is going on around me.
3. Faking it
We all have bad days. That can’t be helped. Bringing that bad mood to work, however, is not very pleasant for the people around you. Sometimes you just got to put on a calm face and push the possible bithciness to the side. And theatre really helps with this, because this is what you have to do on stage too, most often. And at least I have noticed that often you can fake the bad mood away: when you start pretending you are feeling good and nice, that is how you start feeling after a while.
Pauliina Munukka loves all aspect of theatre – be it acting, singing, directing, writing, producing and so forth. In her working life she is a communications officer in a large international company.
This is the first entry in a three-part series named Acting Outside the Stage. In this series, members of Thespians Anonymous elaborate on how their experiences in acting have helped them in their lives outside and beyond theater itself.