Thursday, February 15, 2007

Compete for your job, Bernie

There's a not-so-new but nasty strategy going around the corporate world.

A new company comes in to the work place where you have labored for decades. May it's just a new division head. It really doesn't matter.

The memo soon goes out. You have to compete for your job.

Perhaps you have excelled for as long as anyone can remember. It was you who made sure everything was working during the storm of the century. It was you who saved the company tens if not hundreds of thousands or dollars by doing the jobs of three or four people.

It doesn't matter. You have to compete, perhaps, with a kid who has his rap down, makes promises that Hercules couldn't keep and says just the right thing at the right time. You are too busy doing your job to do more than dash off a memo saying, in essence, there would be no company or division or group to take over had it not been for you.

No matter. The next thing you know, the kid has your job and you're lucky to have any position in the new grouping where the bar has been raised so much higher. Or so they tell you.

At least, your situation isn't grist for every sports writer or blogger or fan.

Bernie Williams doesn't have it so easy. His humiliation has to be done in public. Oh, Bernie is too much of a gentleman to say he's humiliated.

And there's no excuse for Joe Torre. There wasn't a new boss. Just him.

In case you've been paying attention to Iraq or Iran or something silly like that. free agent Bernie wasn't invited to training camp with a real job. He was offered a minor-league contract. He refused and stayed home.

Now, a minor league contract may be fine for Mark Bellhorn, I'm told, because he's skipped around the country like a guy with too many frequent flyer miles. But Bernie has had only one team. From 1991 through 2006, he played for The Best Team Money Can Buy.

And now, Bernie is sitting home, but not by the telephone.

If Bernie had to suffer in public, the public also, it seems, put pressure on Joe Torre.

According to the Associated Press, Joe has been calling Bernie. This week, Bernie called back. Joe told him to come down, don't worry about how much space there is on the 25-man roster.

Just come down, Joe said.

And compete for your job.

Look, anything that makes the Yankees weaker is fine by me. But right is right. You don't wait until the last minute for a guy who has been helping you out since the time of the First Gulf War. And you don't make him compete for his job. Leave him his pride.

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