Working for the opera means loving and living the opera. It's a nonprofit, so you are constrained by budget limitations, as well as limitations in career advancement and professional growth. However, the product that you work for is unbeatable. When you go to a performance and think that your hard work contributed to this amazing production of art, the pride and joy of that moment is unmeasurable. There is a certain type of worker at the Opera -- dedicated, wickedly smart, and generous. The people could have chosen to go another route and make a lot of money, but they have chosen to dedicate themselves to preserving an art form and contributing to civic culture. Overall, the employees are fantastic. Other top reasons to work at the Opera: excellent benefits package, free tickets to performances, open-door policy by high-level management.
Compensation, like any nonprofit, is low. And it being San Francisco, it seems even lower. Other downsides are lack of structure, little to no opportunities for professional growth, and lack of promotions or raises. If you want to rise in this organization, you have to be proactive and seek it out for yourself.
Advice to Management
Employee retention is as important, perhaps even more important, than audience and donor retention. There should be a special program enacted to work on increasing employee retention.
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