In honor of Dapper Purple Plushie Co opening on Friday, April 5th, we have a very special feature from playwright, Gemma Irish. Gemma wrote this hilarious piece drawing inspiration from the wild office clusterfuck that was Lisa Frank circa 1999 and some of her own personal experience as an Admin. Today she shares a few gems from her decade of admin work:
Between temping and more long-term office jobs, at companies small and enormous, I was an admin assistant for about 10 years. For the most part, I worked with truly intelligent, kind, wonderful people, with only one Miranda Priestly impersonator. I’d say that’s a pretty good track record.
Even with the most conscientious boss in the world, the work of being someone’s assistant is very intimate, very demanding, and can get very weird. By the end, I had stopped being shocked by just about anything I was asked to do. Here is an abridged list of some of the things I did as an Executive Assistant:
Tried to get a nail artist to custom paint a monogram on the back of a live turtle, in LA, to be delivered to a client. (Pet stores do not deliver, FYI)
Chartered two fancy, tinted-window tour buses to drive less than 1 mile because it was the only way I could reliably get over 100 creative people to the same location at the same time
Washed, dried, and replaced a tiny espresso cup every single morning for 4 years
Organized a literal duffel bag full of receipts by date and dollar amount
Accidentally had 5,000 tshirts printed with the incorrect event logo
With my co-worker, wore a two-person ugly Christmas sweater - in July - to a meeting with the CEO
For that same meeting, called every bakery in the Twin Cities until I found one that would make gingerbread people in the middle of summer
Coordinated the cross-country move of valuable personal art pieces, one of which was damaged, requiring documentation, insurance payments, and restoration (which I also helped manage)
Forgot to tell 10 people that they were getting bonuses
Created, implemented, and managed an $8,500,000 budget (while earning $20/hour)
Impersonated my boss to her bank, the DMV, and her credit card company in order to track down and pay for her car tabs (I still know her mother’s maiden name)
Accidentally memorized my boss’s social security number during the drawn-out process of signing him up for TSA Pre-Check.
Learned a lot of personal information about a lot of important people that I will take with me to my grave because of my relentless loyalty; but I get to move through the world knowing these things and some days it makes me feel better about myself
I’m grateful for the resourcefulness, problem-solving, and poise that I learned, and grateful to have worked so closely alongside some of the smartest, most innovative, passionate people you could ever meet.
I’m also grateful, in my current job, to only be responsible for my own messes.
Check out Dapper Purple Plushie Co. at Phoenix Theater running April 5th-13th!