Sunday, October 18, 2009

It all becomes clear.

"What's that?" Little One asked as she curled into me on the loveseat. I glanced away from the screen of my laptop and looked at her before answering.

"This is Aunt Katie's work," I replied. "See all those circles?" She nodded. "Those are all the projects we could do."

"How come they're different colors?" she asked, pointing at a blue one.

"The colors indicate ownership," I answered. "The blue circles are my projects. The orange ones belong to Sibling. Best gets the green ones and PrettyHair is red."

"Oh," she nodded again. "No purple?"

"Not right now," I smiled, cuddling her closer. "So we're trying to prioritize the projects we could do and pick the ones we're going to do."

"How?" she inquired sensibly and I nodded in appreciation for her question.

"Well, it's usually pretty simple. Remember when we went to the toy store today? And you looked at all the Webkinz? How did you pick yours?"

"I like birds because they get treetop rooms, and my friend at school had the caterpillar so I wanted her too."

"My job is kind of like that. I try to figure out what people like - favorite colors, most common problems, bonus applications - and what other companies have. I think about how much money each circle might make and how many people need to work on it. I talk to important people all over the world and ask what they think."

I pointed to the appropriate circles when she asked which ones we'd picked.

"But," I said, thinking my five year old niece now knows more about my job than anyone in the family, "there's more. How much are Webkinz?"

"$12.95," came the prompt reply.

"Cool," I decided. "So let's say you have $25. But we were at the store and you wanted the pink bird - "

"Cockatoo," she corrected me and I repeated the word dutifully.

"And the green caterpillar. But they cost more than $25 put together - almost $26, actually. What would you do?"

"I'd ask you for more money. Or Grandma. Or Dad."

"Right," I praised. "Or you could look for a sale. Or take cost out of Webkinz production. Adhere to lean processes." I grinned when she gave me a funny look and leaned down to kiss her forehead.

"Then what?" she asked and I beamed at her for retaining interest for so long.

"Well, I take care of the projects. Like you do with Webkinz. I check on them and talk to the people who are doing all the work. I make pictures and write stories so people understand it. I present this picture to other people and ask them if it's right or wrong. I see if they want to work with us to do some of these projects. I keep track of new Webkinz to see if there are any I might want if I get money later. It's pretty cool."

"Yeah," she agreed. "What this circle way over here?"

"Oh," I said softly, stomach tightening. "That stands for kids who are sick."

"Oh," she said, leaning away so she could look up at me. "Their tummies hurt?"

"Maybe," I replied, smoothing her hair. "Or their heads or their hearts."

"How come it's so far over?" she asked, and I blinked at the lonely circle as well, feeling completely unprepared to explain this part. Somehow small return on investments or low competitive advantage lost meaning. Profit margins and strong investor reports didn't seem so compelling when I thought of someone else's little one with a hurt tummy or head or heart.

"It probably shouldn't be," I finally answered. "I'll talk to some people about it on Monday. That was a very good question, sweetheart."

"I know," she answered seriously and cuddled close again.


Anonymous said...

A child's view of the world is always so much simplier but they see things as they should be. They can put a different kind of perspective for those much older.

Amelie said...

She's sweet. And clever!

Paris Hotels said...

So Sweet. Thank you fro sharing with us. I liked it very much. I agree with you a child is very clear by heart and they always tell the true thing without any selfishness.

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