From the Fireman's Fund Record, May 1891.
"George H. Tyson has resigned the position of Assistant Secretary of Fireman's Fund, to accept the general agency of the Pacific Coast Department of the German-American Insurance Company."
The remark, "Imitation is the sincerest flattery," has grown into a proverb, but it is not always pleasant to be flattered that way - though every successful company finds that the talent which helps to make its success is as much desired and about as eagerly sought by their reputable competitors as is the business itself by their disreputable ones.
Everyone condemns the man or company which attempts to build up its own business by tearing down that of another; which, instead of ploughing and sowing its own crop, is found, either by day as a freebooter, or by night as a petty larcenist, pirating upon a neighbor's field, and gathering, without his knowledge or consent, the harvest of business which he has sown - but when a company comes openly and asks permission to avail itself of services of one of a staff, it pays the highest possible compliment to a candidate, and to his employers as well, who are in honor bound to fairly weigh the proposal, and not only not to hamper the trade, but, if the change seems to them a desirable promotion, to give it their cordial support.
The Fireman's Fund has been so often called upon to sustain a sacrifice of this kind that it has become a by word that "the road to a Pacific Coast management leads through the Fireman's Fund office."
Our exodus began in 1875, when the "Grant boys" - Tom and George - left us for the management of the North British and German American; Tom as general agent and George as special.
In 1881 came another pull at our heart-strings. We met a Lion in the path - the Lion roared (and a mighty handsome roar it was, too, full of the rattle of crisp Bank of England notes, with solid silver back and corners and a gold contingent clasp) and we reluctantly but gracefully surrendered Secretary Dornin and Special Agent Sexton to be respectively manager and assistant manager of The Lion.
Five years more and we received a very unwelcome call from a very pleasant gentleman who asked our permission to request the hand of our assistant secretary for a Royal alliance. It was almost like taking off a leg, but his courteous approach merited and received equal courtesy, and Mr. Carpenter joined the Royal family.
Two years more and the Union Insurance Company were in the field looking for a successor to their late president, Gustave Touchard. As his specialty had always been marine underwriting, a successor was desired familiar with the same branch.
Our marine secretary, N. T. James, had successfully operated in that department of our company, and we were accordingly called upon to take another sacrifice upon the altar of promotion. He was elected president of the Union Insurance Company and we were left with another broken link to mend in our office chain.
A year ago our vice-president, Alpheus Bull, died, leaving a vacancy which was filled six months later by promotion along the line and which gave us an opportunity of recognizing the merit and loyal work of George N. Tyson by electing him assistant secretary, and just as he is commencing to feel familiar with his hew duties, we hear indirectly that a big fish from the Atlantic is nibbling at our hook - shortly Assistant Secretary Tyson comes to our den, and, with voice and manner which show that it gives him as much pain to leave the old house as it does us to lose him, announces that he has yielded to a flattering offer and the importunities of mutual friends, and accepted the general agency of the German-American for this coast. With him goes his brother R. J. Tyson who, when George was advanced six months ago, was given his former post of special agent, and who leaves to assume the same duties for the new agency.
The company is of high standing, the inducements offered were flattering, and we have no doubt that "The Tyson boys" will exercise in their new relations the same energy, perseverance and close attention to business which always characterized their efforts in our service and we now take occasion to tender them the endorsement which we would have cordially, though regretfully, have given had we been consulted at the time of their engagement.
For the benefit of future aspirants for Fireman's Fund talent we beg to state that we have cornered the market and established a compact price with a heavy penalty for deviation, twenty thousand a year and all the profits.
[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-2-4-26; 0718.]
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