Career Advice From Crystal, the World’s Best-Dressed Operations Manager

Whether you want to be a scientist, a stylist, a writer, a professional juggler or you have no idea yet, there’s something cathartic in hearing about the multitude of winding paths. That’s why Man Repeller has launched a series wherein various team members answer your career questions — anything from how they got to where they are to what they wish they’d done differently or what they still hope to do one day. There’s always a lesson to be learned somewhere or, at the very least, relief in knowing that it’s more than okay if you’re still figuring it out. Haley and Patty have already answered your burning career Qs, and now it is Crystal Anderson, MR’s Operations Manager. Below, she answers some of the questions recently posed to her on Instagram.

How did you get into operations? What experiences led you to operations work?

It was a weird, winding road to get to operations. I’m really an event producer at my core and being operationally minded is a huge part of that, so it just makes sense. I’ve worked at a ton of places that aren’t connected (a modeling agency, Tough Mudder, etc.) and all of those places and the different jobs I held have really led me to where I am now. I even worked at Red Lobster at one point, and there are FOR SURE things I still use in my current position from my time being a server. I think we have to move away from this idea of just hopping from one job to another and learning new things, without seriously taking into consideration all of the experiences from EVERY type of job you’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be the producer / Operations Manager I am today without using experience from every job I’ve ever had.

Can you share a quick glimpse into your producing style?

We have an AMAZING team here at Man Repeller! The actual production team is myself and Matt, so we manage a lot of moving parts, but the entire team all contributes in some way. Matt and I have good synergy in that he thrives in spaces that might not be my super strong point and vice versa, so when a new event comes in or we’re ideating on a proposed event, we already know what each of us will run with. Whether an event is co-branded or not, we always make sure that Man Repeller’s identity is there, front and center, and that we are viewing all events through the lens of our community.

In terms of actual production, we have a creative brainstorm, then we shoot that over to our partnerships team who shares it with the client and provides feedback. From there we move pretty quickly into production. What I love most about my position at MR is that I’m really empowered to stretch my creative muscles, which makes the whole production process that much more interesting to me.

I’m job searching right now. What’s your favorite interview question and how can I prep?

I don’t have a fave interview question and I suggest not getting too caught up on interview prep. I think the best way to impress someone who is interviewing you is to be very well versed in the brand and the business instead of having your canned questions pre-thought out which can come off as inauthentic and unnatural. Just be educated on the company and be you!

How do you find a job you’re passionate about that will also make you money?

This is something I think people spend a great deal of their career trying to figure out. I majored in Mass Communications in college and obviously I’m not really using that knowledge. I think a ton of other people deal with the same thing because what they were passionate about at 17 isn’t the same as when they’re really in the workforce at 24/25. For me, I took jobs at companies that I liked in positions that weren’t necessarily of interest to me so that I could get a foot in the door and find something that was striking to me within the business. Also, I am a HUGE fan of having outside interests and passions. Perhaps you enjoy your job and it’s great but then you also have another part of your life that feeds your passions!

How do you stand out when applying for business positions (finance, ops, supply chain, etc.) in creative companies?

I always want to see a candidate with spirit and moxie. A person who can walk across the confines of their job title to get the work accomplished. I also want to see a candidate who has their own brand of creativity because it is important in whatever field you work in. Creativity doesn’t just mean you know how to style a shoot — it can also mean you know how to dream up new efficiencies or new ways to manage processes.

What are your suggestions to a young college graduate who is trying to find their place in the world and career?

It’s tough! The world is such a different place than it was when I got out of school. That said, know that shit won’t always be so tough. Cut yourself some slack and don’t be super rigid in your goals. Yes, maybe you want to be a writer but MAYBE you gotta start off as an office coordinator to get your foot in the door. There’s zero shame in grabbing your diploma and then not immediately getting your dream job.

How do you balance mental health and work on a day-to-day basis?

It’s as much of a job as my actual job! It’s an every single day check-in. I’m really lucky to work in an environment and with colleagues who have ongoing and open discourse about mental health, so I feel empowered to take stock in my mental health often. So many of my colleagues go to therapy, so it’s not weird to take an hour away to go to the doctor or leave to pick up my medicine or whatever I need to do. This wasn’t always the case for me, but I still had to be very open with my employer about what I needed to maintain my mental health. I make it a priority almost everyday.

Is it normal to not feel qualified for a position you’ve been offered?

Are you kidding!? Imposter Syndrome is a VERY real thing! When Matt sent me my offer letter, I freaked out and immediately felt like I couldn’t do the job. I had to remind myself that I’m good at what at I do and that I deserved the position.

How do I network??

I’ve always been god awful at networking, because I can be painfully shy in those sort of situations, likely because of me feeling like, sometimes, I have no clue what I’m talking about. That said, I look to network laterally. It takes the pressure off and I’ve come across some truly great opportunities from people who are my contemporaries as opposed to me trying to network with the CEO of a brand who is not as engaged and doesn’t really have any opportunities to offer me because they’re so removed from those pipelines.

Feature image by Edith Young. 

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor is the Editor of Clever. She can frequently be found knocking things over in the greater New York City area.

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