A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Homegrown

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As I posted a couple of weeks ago, my company has purchased our largest competitor. The last two weeks (since the announcement) have been very stressful, as it has become clear that our corporate office has decided to extend job offers to everyone at the other company, across the board. Therefore, where we had just over 100 people nationwide who do what I do, now we will have 200.

As you can imagine, the angst levels have been high. Lots of reps have called and worried about their job security, their territory security, and just generally, the culture of our company.

See, I work in an industry that is famous for something bad. If you go to any institution who uses our services (or our competition) in America and ask them what they think about our industry, chances are they will say something negative. And truth be told, my company is certainly partially responsible for that. But we have been trying to improve, and refocus on serving the clients, not simply trying to extract every nickel we can out of these people.

I can't say the same for the company we just bought. Right now, all we in the field are hearing is what a great company they are, with a great tradition of serving like us. Ummm... what? We've spent the last 5 years trying to prove to clients that we aren't like them, that we are in fact, different.

And it has shown. Our sales have climbed; their have dropped. We were poised to overtake them as the number one company in the industry within 2-3 years anyway. Which is why it can be a little disheartening to hear some of the platitudes being thrown around out of corporate these days.

You see, we in the field have a little brother complex. We have been working so hard for so long to catch up and overtake those guys, that it's worrisome now that we bought them. People are genuinely concerned that corporate will decide they would rather have the newbies than the team that got them to within a stone's throw of being number 1.

All that to say, I guess I can finally identify with some of the players on my favorite NFL team. Isn't that kinda what the team has done for the past ten years? We get close, we get better, and then WHAM! We bring in a whole new team. Instead of allowing Antonio Pierce to grow and blossom with us, we end up chasing something that is perceived as better, and allow him to blossom with the Giants.

And that's one example of many. We all know there are many, many more.

And this is not to say that our FO should keep every young, homegrown player this offseason. Terrance Austin, for instance, needs to step it up for the rest of the season to have a home here.

But we need to give these guys a chance. After the horrific season this one is turning out to be, there will be an urge to look at some big names on the free agent market, and imagine that that one person will be good enough to get a few more wins. And that's fine, as long as it doesn't retard the growth of the younger players. Let's face it, if you combine our draft picks with the Patriot's picks, we still have more holes than picks, so we're gonna need to grab some free agents. Just don't grab someone who will leave Perry Riley on the bench. See what DeJon Gomes has to offer before grabbing another safety.

I understand the psychology a little better of someone who is homegrown now. And I regret the last 10+ years even more now.

Let's hope Shanahan gets this right.
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