Leader or Friend?

I’ve worked at Carolina Performing Arts my entire college career. I’ve spent countless hours in Memorial Hall as an usher, making sure that patrons have the best experience possible at every performance they attend. As the company has grown and added new venues, I’ve grown too, from usher to manager. I love every part of my job. I love the place I work at, our mission, the people I get to interact with. I’ve created meaningful, lasting friendships with many members of the staff. As far as on-campus jobs go, I’d call that a win. As a house manager, I’m at the perfect level to be a good friend and a good coworker both to the ushers I manage as well as the coordinators who manage me. The middle is the safest place to be.

And now I’m an Audience Services Coordinator. My current coordinators are graduating and the job has fallen to me and three others to take up the mantle. I’m ready for this. I’ve been ready to lead house staff for a while now. But it comes with a set of challenges I didn’t foresee.

The seniors, the ones I started with, the ones I grew with, are leaving. I’ll soon be the senior-most member of a staff of over 40 students. It seems like not that long ago that I was a new usher learning the ropes. I’ll never be an usher again. Every shift I work will be as a coordinator, overseeing everything happening in the building. I have to maintain a sense of professionalism with my staff that I haven’t had to before. While I could take my “boss-hat” off and on as I wanted, now it’ll always have to be on. It’s a great honor to be given this position, to be trusted to lead the face of Carolina Performing Arts. It’s a big responsibility and I’m excited.

I just don’t know how to deal with walking the fine line between friend and leader. While I’ll probably make mistakes, I hope I can show my staff that I care about them and their well-being, I’m as much their friend as I was two months ago. I’m not sure how I’ll go about doing that but I’m sure the shenanigans will be endless and this year will be unforgettable.

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