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  • Writer's pictureChoo Choo

Forward and Upward


This is an open letter to a recent work relationship turned sour.

I wish it didn't have to end like this, but after repeatedly im- and- explicitly taking advantage of my kindness and vulnerability, I had to walk away. Enough is enough. I sincerely hope you learn from this situation, but history and experience tell me that it is highly unlikely you'll change at all, and that's a damn shame--both because your organization could be so much better, and because the people you serve deserve better. I deserved better.

You'll never read this, just like you never read any of my emails or took seriously any of my feedback that would have benefited the organization. Maybe you thought I was being out of line. Maybe you wanted to keep me in my place, using me as a run-of-the-mill accompanist whose role frankly could have been filled by someone with passable high school level piano skills.

I realize now this was my own fault. I continually find myself falling into the trap of settling for what's easy, available, and comfortable. It's a beguiling trap, to be sure. When you're in a new town with few connections and work options, it's easy to reach for the first thing that's offered. Now I know better. You were quick to snap me up because your turnover is so astronomical. No one in their right mind stays for long.

It's going to catch up to you. You've already developed a reputation amongst reputable players in the community, those with talent and influence who know better than to get involved. Now I know better as well. This is a lesson learned for me: not to settle for anything less than what I know I'm worth, to reach for things that are uncomfortable and not quite within my grasp.

Like Mr. Fleisher always said, "Forward and upward." Just like always, everything he taught had a double meaning. It was never just about piano lessons. It was a lesson in living.

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