August 2, 2022

My Grandson Asked Me A Question. Here It Is.

By Paul Bieber

My grandson is five-year-old Sandy. Sandy is bright and asks tons of questions. He called me yesterday with this question: “Grandpa, why do Mommy and Daddy go to work and you don’t?” Tough question. I started to explain to him what a consultant is, and he couldn’t grasp it easily. He said, “How come you work sometimes and other times you don’t, like when you come here and stay with us?”

I told him that the next time we went there, in a couple of weeks, I would try to explain it to him. He wouldn’t buy that at all. He wanted to know and know now. I feel he inherited his inquisitiveness from me and now I certainly regret passing that gene along. All the other parents of the kids in his preschool work and he said, “Grandpa, why are you different?”

Now, Elaine, my wife, who was listening in on the phone call, started laughing. She explained to Sandy that while Grandpa was a great Grandpa, he is certainly different from just about anyone else. I asked her to get off the phone. She laughed and hung up. Sandy did not hang up and asked me again what kind of work I did. It seemed that the kids at school were going to tell what their parents and grandparents did for jobs and he didn’t want to say that his grandpa didn’t have a job.

I described that I do work with special customers who have a problem that I can help them solve. He said, “You mean when they can’t get their shoes tied correctly that you help?” I couldn’t stop laughing for thirty seconds. I explained there were different kinds of problems when people need help running their glass businesses. He knew that I knew about glass, but I don’t know how he even knew that.

“How come you don’t work every day, like mom and dad?” Tough one to answer. I explained that I work with people around the entire United States, but he didn’t quite get that yet. He lives in Burlington, Vermont and that is his whole world, other than when he visits us in New Hampshire, about three hours away.

We left it that when I get my next phone call or email from a client, I would explain the problem the customer wanted solved or improved and that I would tell Sandy every step involved. He told me his report was going to be on Thursday and this was yesterday and he wanted to call me back on Tuesday afternoon to hear about the problem I was working on. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the biggest problem I had that day was how to write my blog and him asking this question was the problem of the day.

Such is the life of a glass industry consultant.

Paul’s afterword: “Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”