The tournament model of employment in academia and the theater.
The “tournament model” of employment, in which a lucky few win the lottery while most people scrape by on very little, is a cruel and unattractive way to run a business. But it is cruelest in glamour industries such as the arts. Growing up on the Upper West Side, before it became the exclusive province of the wealthy, I inevitably met a lot of the people this model destroyed. The worst off were the folks who’d kept getting just a taste of success -- a minor part in a Broadway show, a critically acclaimed performance at a second-tier festival. Those folks kept waiting until their late 30s or early 40s for success and security that never arrived. By the time it was clear it never would, they were broke, and trying to start another career at a time when most people are heading into their peak earnings years. And the slow crushing of hope over a process of decades often did something tragic to their souls.Sounds eerily familiar.