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?”
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
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.
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?
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.