No One Really “Wins” A Job

It’s funny to see which habits I internalized from my academic years as a music performance major stick with my vocabulary decades past the decision to pivot away from that career path. For example, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an arts administrator being the finalist for a new position or a musician being the finalist in an audition, I often refer to that scenario as “winning a job.”

Adaptistration People 151The irony is no one “wins” a job, you earn it. Nonetheless, I have yet to work that habit out of my system.

Moreover, there’s a dark side to the phrase “winning a job” flying under the radar, especially for positions that are highly competitive. Specifically, it creates a subconscious notion that the finalist is someone should be grateful for what the outcome actually is: earning an offer.

With nearly 25 years of hindsight and experience, I can say with a great deal of confidence this creates an artificial qualifying variable when deciding to accept an offer.

A recent radio program interview (more on that in a few weeks) brought all of this to mind and I’ve decided to write a pair of articles on the topic, one for musicians and one for administrators, on when it’s okay to reject a job offer. While not as uncommon on the admin side of the fence, it’s still borderline heresy for musicians.

Best of all, the pointers are every bit as applicable to entry level admin and section musician openings as they are to executive and principal positions.

Stay tuned…

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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