I’ll Take My Comedy A Little Less Dark Please

In the wake of yesterday’s April Fool’s day prank, several readers wrote in to say how similar it was to the AF prank from 2016. The 2016 article focused on a fictional “Scholarship Indemnity Program” where in exchange for receiving free tuition, students must meet one of the minimum career accomplishment goals, set by the school within a certain number of years following graduation.

If students fail to meet those career expectations in the allotted time, the indemnity terms kick in and students must pay back the total amount of their waived tuition fees via an adjustable rate interest schedule.

Once again, that was a completely fictional program I created out of thin air.

Fast forward to 2018 and the “Income Share Agreement” presented in the AF post only seems like a slight modification. Indemnity is replaced by what amounts to watered down indentured servitude.

Several readers reached out via direct message to accuse me of being lazy (my personal fav: Indolent much? #smgdh). At any other point in time over the past 15 years, I would be inclined to agree with them.

As it turns out, reality continues to be stranger than fiction.

2018’s “Income Share Agreement” gag is based on a very real program of the same name currently in use at several academic institutions, such as Purdue University.

Just in case you think this is just another gag, check out the 12/31/2017 edition of the Washington Post. They published an article by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel that examines the new “Income Share Agreement” trend in financial aid.

What was a nearly unthinkable premise for a prank in 2016 became fodder for reality the very next year.

Welcome to the new normal.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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