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Not without honor, except at home

In Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

DIH LOGOIn the Bible, the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 4, Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” The quote refers to the question of Jesus’s work being rejected in his own hometown. That was a couple of thousand years ago but, sadly, this same lack of local support and recognition is still rampant today.

We are constantly barraged by the pleadings by civic and business organizations encouraging us to “buy local.” But, when push comes to shove, even these organizations utilize outside resources more often than not.

The best examples of this kind of behavior are evident in the entertainment industry. I know dozens of performing artists, from musicians to specialty acts, who never seem to get work in their own home areas.

Most make a good living but will always have to travel, which is, of course, somewhat of a necessity for securing regular pay in that kind of business. At the same time, most of them offer much lower fees to work closer to home and yet are rarely taken up on the option in favor of “outside” help.

Someone out there is probably saying, “Well, maybe they’re just not very good.” There is an ignorance surrounding the concept that if someone chooses to remain in their home region, they must be less than expert at their particular job. If not, they’d have been moved to relocate due to excessive demand – untrue.

If these folks are as untalented as that statement implies, why would they have the opportunity to do so much elsewhere? An entertainer or other professional tends to earn far more money on jobs where travel and extended booking time is necessary than if they do a single project in their own community. So why would they be paid more and requested so often out of the region if their talents are less than ideal? The logic there makes no sense.

Take the country singing group, The Statler Brothers, for example. From the 1960s through the early 2000’s, these Staunton, Virginia boys sold millions of records, performed all over the world and yet never relocated from their home town. For more than 25 years, they even did an annual 4th of July concert there to raise money for local charities. And they’re not the only story like this.

Ignorance of local talent is not limited to the entertainment world, however. Other professionals are frequently dismissed in their own communities as well; that is unless they achieve some wider attention and suddenly discover people stacked like cordwood on their coattails.

The point here is that, regardless of the product or service needed, if civic and business organizations are going to practice what they preach, they need to utilize more local talent, and not just the big players on the block. Sadly, with so much “good-old-boy” nepotism at play, without some folks stepping outside the proverbial clique, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. When people do make the effort to connect with local providers, they tend to expect a lot of freebies or slashed pricing. That’s not only unfair, it’s downright disrespectful.

For example, say a chamber of commerce wants to hire a local printer to help with event materials for a charity fundraiser. Often, the organizers want to exchange the work for advertising or sponsorship credits rather than paying the printer’s quoted rates.

In most cases, local business will offer some kind of discount or even an exchange if given the opportunity, but it is disrespectful for the organizers to expect it. Your cause is not the reason the business owner opened his doors. Be prepared to pay for their services.

It would be great if small businesses, local entertainers and other professionals were more appreciated and supported in their home regions. The long term rewards to the community could be unimaginable.

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