My first job out of college was selling copiers/printers for Xerox, and we’re not talking about little dinky piece of crap desktop copiers that you might get at Staples. For those of you that have an office job, the copier/printer that you’re using probably cost about as much as the last car you bought, especially if it also prints/copies in color. People can’t wrap their heads around paying that kind of money for documents, and I can’t blame them. Additionally, Xerox had all sorts of competitors: Canon, Ricoh, Toshiba, Sharp, Minolta, Kyocera, etc etc etc. And finally, it wasn’t like people were knocking our doors down saying “I need a copier! What can you show me?” You had to find your customers on your own. For those 3 major reasons, it wasn’t easy trying to sell these things, especially when you went to school for Radio/TV/Film, and had exactly zero background in sales.
I think that when they hired me, they were sort of taking a flyer on me. My salary was only $12K/year (yes, $1,000/month), so in other words, I was basically full commission. All it realistically cost my company to bring me aboard was giving me a territory they may have otherwise given to to someone else. I was selling enough to survive initially, and then actually started doing pretty well the second half of my first year there. It was right around the beginning of my 2nd year that I started to rake. We had what were called “stack rankings,” which were the equivalent of NFL statistics. These stack rankings showed how your sales were in comparison to the rest of the other people in the office. Month after month, I was routinely in the top 2 or 3 that second year.
Right around the beginning of that second year, my manager went on maternity leave, so they promoted one of the other sales guys to take her place. 100% coincidentally, his promotion lined up perfectly with when my numbers really started to take off.
And so, this new manager got the bulk of the credit for my revenue production, when in reality, he had absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever. I didn’t need praise heaped on me, but to see someone else get the majority of the recognition for my hard work pissed me off something awful.
I think I see some aspects of that going on with Victor Cruz and Eli Manning. Cruz was an undrafted free agent out of then Division 1-AA UMass. He was a training camp / preseason phenom in 2010, but because the Giants were flush with receivers, they stashed him on the IR with a “hamstring injury” (quotes intended) for a season.
This year, after losing Steve Smith via free agency, Dominik Hixon to a season-ending ACL tear in Week 2, and Mario Manningham for Week 3 against the Eagles, Cruz got his shot. He only got 38 snaps combined the first two weeks of the season, but here’s what he has done since Week 3:
|Over 16 games||91||1651||10|
Yesterday, the Pro Bowl rosters were released. Eli Manning made the cut, as he has most certainly had a very good season. His numbers aren’t as good as guys like Matthew Stafford or Tony Romo, but he’s getting a certain level of bonus credit for doing what he’s doing this year with what people perceive as junk around him. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear something like “Eli’s doing it with no running game, a bad OL, and he has to throw to guys like Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz.” While I agree with a few of those points, Victor Cruz’s name doesn’t belong in that sentence.
Conversely, Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha did not make the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2007, as he had a down year. One of the things you hear regularly about Asomugha’s critics in 2011 is something to the effect of “Victor Cruz smoked him,” (emphasis on “Victor Cruz,” as if it’s such an embarrassing thing to have been beaten by him).
In the same way that it pissed me off to see my manager get praise for my sales production, it has to annoy Cruz that his name is being used the way I’ve seen it used extensively in the two examples above. It’s a crime against nature that he isn’t going to Honolulu this year, by the way. I like Greg Jennings, and he’s a great player, but his numbers don’t touch Cruz’s with a 10-foot pole. Anyway, I didn’t want to make this about the Pro Bowl, as we all know (or at least should know) that it’s a joke.
I have a news flash. Victor Cruz is a flat-out playmaker. A few fans of opposing teams are hoping he’s a one-year wonder. Don’t count on it. Frankly, the scary thing about Cruz is that he’s still raw. As a route runner, he’ll only get better. That’s not to say he’s a bad route runner right now, but he doesn’t exactly have the polish of a Reggie Wayne in that regard. Not to mention, as he matures as a pro, some of those lapses of concentration with dropped passes should erode away as well.
If you weren’t a 1st round pick out of the SEC, it’ll take a little longer before people think you’re legit. Such is the life of an undrafted kid out of a 1-AA school. But if it makes you feel any better, Victor, I see you.