The job met almost all of my expectations. I retrieved coffee and food for the director and some of the crew. I waited around and played on my iPhone. I stood on-stage and assisted with the sound and video check. I waited around some more - thank god for smart phones. I helped to acquire the internet connection needed for two laptops and a video conferencing unit being utilized to run the event. I even got to trouble-shoot those connections when they failed to meet the mandatory specifications.
I am glad for the computer/IT background knowledge I had. Thanks to very knowledgeable friends, a partner replete with IT background and my own moxie over the years, I have probably accumulated more than your average Joe's amount of computer knowledge. I can only say, "thank goodness." I was not clueless. At least I understood the basics needed to achieve the results. Despite clearly being the least qualified person for the task considering those around me, I managed to successfully communicate with several off-site IT experts and coordinate one very long conference call. All but one of the issues was resolved in the end. We had done all we could. Despite our lack of success on that one point, the situation ended in a strangely satisfying way.
It was not hard work. It was actually very easy money. I am not sure "crucial" is the correct word for a PA but there were obvious unexpected moments the director needed an extra set of hands. I had a good time despite the boredom of sitting around. The crew and site director were all very easy going and friendly. There were one or two moments of intensity but otherwise the show went smoothly. They all clearly know their jobs. And now I have a handle on what is going on - the flow and atmosphere. It was a good experience.