William Blake wrote “you never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough” and while that packs plenty of good, it isn’t something you should want when thinking about how far you can push employees beyond a breaking point.
Joe Patti published a thought-provoking post last week about the discouraging earning potential of artists in general, but it got me thinking about the broader nonprofit arts and culture sector.
My mind immediately went to what I’ve felt is the increasingly problematic pressure cooker of the overworked and underpaid staffer.
From an observational perspective, I’ve seen entry and mid-level staff positions shouldered with increasing responsibilities but this labor group has been forced to accept the lion’s share of wage sacrifice since the economic downturn.
Do we really want to find out how much this workforce can endure before it breaks so badly, it becomes near impossible to attract worthwhile candidates?
I wish that were a rhetorical question, but it isn’t. I’d love nothing more than to provide a swath of research figures right now, but none exist.
You certainly won’t find the information at any of the usual suspect service organizations. Foundations studies? Forget about it.
It’s a radioactive topic for reasons that are likely obvious.
At the same time, the solution is straightforward: acknowledge the potential trouble, document the problem, then commit to a plan of action.
Progress can be quantifiably measured without undue burden and the benefits are self-evident. All we currently lack is collective will.