PROFile: Department Assistant Rachel Berg

Rachel Berg is the office manager for the department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the department of Religion and Culture. As an office manager, she oversees everything for those departments.

“What I do, it’s hard to describe. It’s a lot of multitasking, because I’m kind of the centre hub for everything that the department needs,” she says. “I’m sort of a jack of all trades. I do a little bit of everything.”

Berg describes herself as the first person of contact for faculty and students, and if she doesn’t have the answer to something, she knows who to point the person to.

Alongside the day-to-day tasks of the job, she also has creative jobs to do that include designing the faculty websites, filming and editing videos and taking staff portraits and photographs of events.

“The thing about this job is it’s such a great environment to work in,” Berg says. “The fact that I can do the creative work on top of the day-to-day work is really important.”

Berg says the job is not based off of training, but more so experience with the university.

“I’ve been in this job for just over 12 years now, and when I first started, I started on the very first day of classes. I had no idea what was going on. It felt very much like trial by fire,” she says. “It’s about experience. It’s about knowing the university. It’s about knowing people … to contact.”

Berg did a double major in Religion and Culture and Theatre and Film, where she studied design. She says she knew a lot of the professors from Religion and Culture when she got the job.

“It’s very close to my heart, that department, because it’s part of my degree,” she says.

Q&A

When you do photography, what are you photographing? Definitely portraits. I have two little boys. They’re three and five. So when I started to get really interested in photography, they were little babies, and I was at home with them, and I could really explore my camera and get comfortable using manual mode … And I do a lot of self-portraits, too, because I find I’m the most comfortable just with myself, and I can explore different angles, different techniques, different ways of going about it.

What's your favourite thing about yourself? I like to think I’m a pretty calm person, so I like that I’m able to deal with any situation kind of calmly, even if I’m freaking out inside. Sometimes, I can just breathe and carry on. I’ve had a lot of traumatic experiences in my life, and I think that’s made me grow as a person and realize I have a lot of strength inside me to get through whatever life throws at me. And so, even when it seems like a dark time or a hard time, I know that it’s just a moment in time, and it’s going to pass, and something better is going to come. So I think having that self-resilience and that strength, I’ve earned it, and it’s definitely one of the things I like the best.

Published in Volume 72, Number 8 of The Uniter (November 2, 2017)

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