Grant Me The Serenity To Accept The Things I Cannot Change, The Courage To Change The Things I Can, And The Wisdom To Know The Difference.

Yesterday’s post about the Baltimore Symphony article archive got me thinking about all the issues over the years this outlet has tackled. While accomplishments are always gratifying, it’s the topics that feel more like failures that seem to linger longest.

Granted, that’s far from a unique trait but the serenity prayer in today’s title made me wonder if I’m a little too low on the wisdom meter to know if I’ve crossed the Sisyphus line.

One topic that leaps to the front of that list is equal pay for equal work.

It started off focused squarely on substitute orchestra musicians getting an increasingly shorter end of the stick but has, sadly, branched out into increasingly public examinations of sex-based pay discrimination.

Sex-based pay discrimination is something that will hopefully be well served by the ongoing Elizabeth Rowe lawsuit. But when it comes to substitute musicians earning equal pay on a per-service basis to their peers who are salaried members of the orchestra’s compliment, there’s more bad news than good.

In order to find if we’re just spitting into the wind, I’ve started reaching out to some individuals in positions that can weigh in with more than mere anecdotal evidence. I’ve invited them to have a recorded discussion on the topic that will be published here once complete.

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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