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How Am I Supposed to Do That?

A producer came into the office today, and asked that someone remove the arms from the chair in his office.1 The other PA’s immediate response was, “How are we supposed to do that?”

Wow…

Yeah, it's a pun. I don't care.
Let that sink in…

Now, can anyone in the class tell me what he did wrong?

First of all, don’t ask the fucking producer how to take the arms off a chair. That’s not his job; it’s your job. Why is it your job? Because the fucking producer just told you to do it.

I didn’t immediately know how to take the arms of the chair. Hell, I didn’t know you could. Again, why would you want to do that?2

Doesn’t matter how or why or who or when. It’s your job to figure. It. Out.

I went it to the producer’s office, flipped the chair over, and looked at how the arm rests were attached to the chair. It was just a couple of screws! So, I whipped out my handy dandy Leatherman,3 unscrewed the screws, and flipped the chair back over. Took all of 45 seconds.

Granted, it could have been more complicated than that. It might have required an Allen wrench, which I don’t carry around. At that point, I’d excuse myself from the room, go down to construction, ask if I could borrow a set of hex keys for a few minutes (since I wouldn’t know the exact size).

What I wouldn’t do is ask the fucking producer how I was supposed to do it.

He’s producing a television show. I imagine he has a lot on his mind. My real job is to take stupid shit, like armrests, off of it, so he can focus on, I dunno, the budget or schedule.

What impresses a producer most is when he or she asks for something to get done, and it gets done. Period. No questions, no delays, no excuses. You want them to think, “You know, when I ask TAPA to get something done, it happens. Like magic. I don’t have to follow up, or check in. If I give it to TAPA, I can cross that item off my to do list.”

The second problem with my office mate’s response is one of tone. Even subtracting the tone of his voice, it’s the way he phrased it.

I use this gif a lot, don't I?
Can’t wait for season 7.

It’s that word “supposed.” It implies that it’s a ridiculous request. “I know this is an impossible task, but how do you imagine we’ll get it done? Because whatever think it is, it won’t work.”

And you know what, it might be a ridiculous request. Just take the chair you’re given, like a normal goddamn human being, right?

Goddamn, it's a good show.
Been catching up on Netflix, okay?

Doesn’t matter. That’s not for you, the PA, to decide. Do what you’re told, to the best of your ability. In twenty years, you’ll be the one making ridiculous request just for the hell of it.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I don’t know why. Maybe he likes manspreading at his desk?
  2. cf. footnote 1
  3. You have one, right?
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8 Responses

  1. I have a similar story. Was walking with an EP (executive producer) chatting while we looked for the PM (production manager). The EP asked another production assistant if the PM had been in that area recently. He said “No I’m not aware of that,” and then went back to his computer. The way he said it made him look really bad. It was kind of a “No I don’t know, why are you asking me?”

    As soon as we were out of earshot the EP turned to me and said “What the F— is his problem?”

    He should have said “No I don’t know, let me find out for you.” I happen to know that what he was working on was not high priority at all (of course I didn’t say this). What the EP asks for comes first. Unless it’s legitimately a high-priority thing you’re working on then, in which case you APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY for not being able to drop everything and help.

  2. “In twenty years you will be the one making a ridiculous request just for the hell of it.” Umm, if I do I would want it to be for some legit reason and not “just for the hell of it.” TAPA you sound like a Bond villain. Really? I’d like to think you would see what not to do and how NOT to treat people. Being a cunt doesn’t mean you will be successful. It does? Show me a study that proves this please. A great leader (or a decent one) will never ask you to do something that he or she couldn’t do themselves. Now I do see your point that perhaps the arms off of the chair could play a significant part in the success of that producer doing his or her job (in some strange magical way.)

    To recap.

    Yes, I agree that you do your job, to the best of your abilities, and without putting yourself or others at a safety risk.

    No, I don’t agree with “just for the hell of it.” Why? Because 1.) that is what shitty people do, and TAPA is NOT a shitty person 2.) It might come back to you (given the circumstances of how ridiculous those requests are.) 3.) What do I know, I just replied to this comment “just for the hell of it.”

    Read you soon.

    Peace, Love, Celluloid.

    1. That was a facetious comment. I wasn’t encouraging or condoning that behavior. There’s a million examples throughout this blog where I tell people not to do this when they become successful.

  3. What you’re saying is 100% right how you’re saying it makes you a mega-sized asshole. So, if you want to bust out that measuring tape and check your cock size it’s incredibly small. Being a dick doesn’t increase your size.

    1. It is incredibly small! It’s a negative length. You might even consider it a hole. I wonder if there’s a name for that?

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