Careers in the Arts: It’s Pretty Ugly Out There

keep-calm-and-hire-for-innovation-not-fit

Paul Begala said, “Politics is show business for ugly people.”

The converse, that show business is politics for pretty people, is equally true.

Pretty (young) people enter nonprofit arts leadership believing that they should land a high-paying managing director’s job within 3 years. Ginormous student debt is predicated on that prospect.

Ugly (old) people, therefore, had better vamoose, and decrease the surplus population, to paraphrase C-Dick.

Pretty people panic at red ink. They leave. No experience or belief in failure.

Ugly people see an opportunity. They know when to duck and when to charge.

Consider for your next important hire:

  • When hiring for “fit,” by definition, you’re hiring to appease. Don’t expect much change.
  • When hiring for “innovation,” you’re hiring to anticipate obstacles. And only someone who has experienced obstacles (and carried on) knows how to do that.
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