Saturday, March 5, 2011

Terminator One and Two

The classical music scene is shifting in Seattle. As the final weeks of a musical leadership draw to a close (but not soon enough), our phone machine is filled with deliriously happy messages from colleagues, near and far.
"He's leaving...finally," blurts one musician, "and his cronies along with him! That player just resigned...but we all know what that term 'resignation' really means!"
Another message.
"Break out the champagne! It'll be a new dawn; a psychological cleanse; c'mon; we'll heal together."
"There'll be one hell of a party sailing around Lake Washington. Soon! Let's begin the count down. But don't you even think about bringing a cell phone to this one!"

I open my e-mail and find copies of recent press releases with glowing praise for a first chair player stepping down. My, how the organization displays its double standards!  Back in the days when my husband served as concertmaster (for over twenty years), and was illegally terminated, he wasn't the recipient of praise or gratitude from the media, but the victim of harrowing abuse, thanks to the terminator himself, who appeared to have an agenda of destroying our livelihoods for the sake of his favorite.

I'll let it be known that my husband never required multiple takes for violin solos during recording sessions. With the clock ticking (every minute is very costly to a symphony orchestra) and displaying the composure of a brave Finnish soldier, I recall hearing only words of praise from the terminator for Ilkka's astonishing ability to nail difficult solos in one smooth take. Then, of course, there was the work ethic. I believe it's an inherited trait from a long line of hard-working Finns; I witness this marvelous attitude through our own children. The unspoken rule is that one never calls in sick unless one is practically slumped at death's door. Organizations might do well to applaud employees with such commitment and honor them, rather than giving them the boot.

Unlike others in the orchestra milieu, Ilkka never abused the system. Take, for example, an ingrown toe-nail, lack of night's sleep, or tooth-ache; none of those would have qualified as legitimate reasons to take time away from work, as it has for others.  It goes without saying, that he'd never have failed to show up ten minutes prior to a concert just to spite a soloist.

And another thing. (You can tell I'm all keyed up this morning.) My husband didn't have it in him to blow the whistle on colleagues; to be a kapos; to wield a stick over others and browbeat them. No. The boss was out to terminate a couple of naughty violinists and Ilkka wouldn't comply. Let's just say that complicity is not his thing. Perhaps someone else in my husband's position wouldn't have thought twice about destroying others, and perhaps such a fembot actually took over my husband's position. Perhaps a battle was won but the war was lost. Might it be that a few got a taste of their own medicine, finally?

It is said that what goes around comes around. Law of Talion. Talvion.

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